As a young girl, Camaron Ochs, better known as popular country singer Cam, would frequently visit her grandparents’ ranch in Southern California. Between all the hard labor, hospitality and Patsy Cline records, she said she began to develop her concept of the country lifestyle.
On Nov. 19, Cam’s birthday, she brought that country lifestyle to Bloomington by performing at Bluebird Nightclub as part of her Burning House Tour. The tour comprises 13 shows in 12 different cities in two months.
“The country lifestyle to me is about getting up early, working really hard and getting really sweaty and dirty,” Cam said.
In the span of just a couple of years, Cam said she went from a young singer using a Kickstarter campaign to help produce her debut album “Untamed” to one of the biggest country singers of the past year.
In June 2015, Cam released “Burning House,” the second single for her album, to great success.
The song went platinum last year, said Paul Yadgir, the public relations account coordinator at BB Gun Press.
Yadgir said the song was the only single by a female country artist to achieve more than a million downloads in the same year.
Yadgir said Cam’s success has awarded her a Grammy Awards nomination and an American Music Awards nomination. She was also the most-nominated female artist at the Academy of Country Music Awards with six nominations, as well as the most nominated artist at the CMT Music Awards. It was great success she said she did not expect.
“While it is humbling to be nominated for all these awards, it isn’t everything,” Cam said. “That doesn’t define your whole career.”
Even after “Burning House” went platinum, Cam said she was still working as an opening act for other country artists like Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley because her shows were booked so far in advance. Despite the latter artists being the headlining acts, Cam said it felt like almost everyone in the crowd knew the lyrics to her hit single.
Despite having performed in massive arenas as an opening act, Cam said she still prefers the comfort of a small venue like the Bluebird.
She said artists like Paisley and Bentley told her they were envious of her still being able to perform for smaller crowds.
“It’s just much more intimate,” Cam said. “There’s something about these kinds of shows that mean a lot to me, and I think they mean a lot to the fans, too.”
Regardless of her success, Cam said she believes she still hasn’t crossed over, a stigmatic term used in Nashville to describe appearing on the pop charts. Country hits very rarely become top-40 hits and usually appeal to a very niche group of music listeners.
Cam actually enjoys this aspect of the genre, she said. She said she believes if a song is not loved by everyone it can be more distinct because people tend to gravitate toward familiarity.
“I think country music can tell real stories and be really funny, which is one of the best ways to heal people,” Cam said.
Cam said she is very much an independent artist. In 2010, she recorded a folk album under her legal named called “Heartforward.”
While she doesn’t frequently talk about the record, she said she believes it was a strong creative influence on “Untamed.”
She said “Heartforward” taught her how to make and produce her own records and not to rely on others to create her art.
She said she firmly believes artists should not listen to record companies and producers who try to change art for the sake of profit.
“I hope the way I make my art and the way I conduct my business inspires more people to not do it like I do it, but just to never listen when people tell you that,” Cam said.
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