|Birth||19 November 1984|
Cam (born Camaron Marvel Ochs; November 19, 1984) is an American country music singer and songwriter. Her music incorporates elements taken from contemporary pop music. She began her career as a songwriter, composing material for several artists including Miley Cyrus. In 2010 she released her debut studio album on an independent record label.Signing with Sony Music Entertainment, she released her debut major label EP in March 2015, Welcome to Cam Country. The album’s second track “Burning House” was played on the Bobby Bones Show and attracted significant attention and became her breakout hit single. She launched her second studio album, Untamed in December 2015 on the success of the song. “Burning House” has since received widespread acclaim, including a nomination from the Grammy Awards.
Cam was raised in Lafayette, California, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also spent time in Oceanside, California, where her grandparents operated a running ranch. They helped develop Cam’s appreciation for country music, listening to and performing it regularly. She pursued music throughout high school and college, singing in various choral groups. This included performing in the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus, where she learned to sing in 14 languages. She attended the University of California, Davis as an undergraduate student, studying law and psychology. She formed an all-female collegiate a cappella group called The Spokes and learned to play the guitar while studying abroad in the Netherlands. She developed confidence in playing the instrument on a trip to Nepal. Taking residency in a rural mountain community, she lived for several weeks with limited electricity and basic needs. She developed a friendship with Canadian musicians and started playing the guitar more consistently. In a 2010 interview, Cam stated that she grew more confident in playing once from the trip.
Cam sporadically performed music following college, but mostly pursued other interests. She worked in research labs, including one at Stanford University. Yet, she remained conflicted about the choices she made. A meeting with a fellow college professor influenced Cam’s choice to embark on a full-fledged music career. The professor said to her, “Just picture yourself at 80 years old. Looking back at your life, what would you regret not doing: music or psychology?'”
2010–2014: Early Beginnings
In 2010, Cam released her debut studio album titled Heartforward under the name “Camaron Ochs”. It was released under the independent label, Rubber Room Records and contained contemporary pop songs. Amber Schadewald of the San Francisco Bay Guardian called the album a brand of folk pop that “is light and sweet, with genuine lyrics that ask listeners to live with their ‘heartforward'”. Songs written for the project were based on experiences from her trip to Nepal. She promoted Heartforward through performances in Oakland and San Francisco, California. This included shows at the Stork Club and Mama Buzz.
Cam soon moved to Los Angeles, California and began collaborating with Tyler Johnson. She recorded some demos with Johnson in an attempt to attract Faith Hill, eventually leading to the recordings being heard by Tim McGraw’s manager Scott Siman. Her song “Fall Madly in Love with You” was chosen as a track for Cut to Impress, the 2013 debut album from Maggie Rose. She is also credited with the song “Maybe You’re Right” on Bangerz, the 2013 studio album from Miley Cyrus. She soon moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and began writing music for other artists, turning down a publishing deal in attempt to prove herself on her own. She launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 to produce 10 songs with Johnson. The campaign was supported by producer Jeff Bhasker, known best for his work with artists that include Beyoncé, fun., Bruno Mars, and P!nk. The same year Cam toured Denmark and Sweden with Helsingborg band Karavan, having previously collaborated with Anders Mouridsen of the group while in Los Angeles.
Cam released a single in 2013 titled “Down This Road” with the encouragement of manager Lindsay Marias. Through a photo posted on Instagram, local radio director Michael Bryan discovered the song and played it on the air. According to Cam, radio airplay of the single helped her choose which label she wanted to sign to. Ultimately, she chose to meet with Doug Morris, the director of Sony Music Entertainment. She flew to the label’s headquarters in New York City to meet with him. Using only an acoustic guitar, she sang a song she had already been developing, “Burning House”. Morris started humming along to the chorus and stated, “This is the reason why I got into the music business.” Morris would later ask her to perform the song at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony. She was soon signed to Sony’s country division, Arista Nashville in 2014 and toured nationally with Dan + Shay that same year on their Where It All Began tour.
2015–Present: Breakthrough Success
Cam’s major label debut single was released in early 2015 titled “My Mistake”. In March, the song debuted at No. 58 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. It failed to become a major hit, only reaching the 52nd position on the country songs chart. Still using her full name (Camaron Ochs) during the single’s promotion, she ultimately shortened it to “Cam” because some people found her last name “too hard to pronounce”. “My Mistake” preceded Cam’s debut EP, Welcome to Cam Country, released in March 2015. It contained four songs and production credits were given to fellow collaborators Jeff Bhasker and Tyler Johnson. It has since peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, No. 88 on the Billboard 200, and No. 5 on the Top Heatseekers survey.
Cam’s next single was chosen to be “Burning House”. She performed the song live on the radio program The Bobby Bones Show, which attracted and fueled attention to the song. Shortly after the performance, it became the fastest-rising country single on iTunes that week, reaching the top 20 of its list. Sony then arranged a meeting and decided to release the track as a single on June 16, 2015. The companion video contained memorable images as well as revealing the singer’s attractive appearance. “Burning House” became a top-five hit on the Billboard country songs and country airplay charts. It also was the highest-selling female country song of 2015, selling more than 500,000 copies in the United States. Thirdly, the song received a nomination from the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Her major label debut album, Untamed was released on December 11, 2015. The album was co-produced with Bhasker and Johnson, consisting of 11 tracks all co-written by Cam. It debuted at number two on the Top Country Albums chart and was the highest-selling debut country studio album of 2015. Rolling Stone ranked the album at number fifteen on their list of the “Forty Best Country Albums of 2015”. The magazine commented, “For an artist at the start of career, Cam already sounds like one of the most secure in the game.” “Mayday” was released as the album’s third single in February 2016. It was a minor Top 40 hit on the country charts, peaking at number 36 on Billboard Country Airplay. Cam will play her first UK shows in 2017 as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival.
Cam was exposed to classic country music at an early age from the time spent on her grandparents’ ranch. They introduced her to the musical sounds of Patsy Cline, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson. She was largely influenced by the vocal phrasing of Cline and Ray Charles. She also developed an appreciation for the Dixie Chicks and the Indigo Girls, commenting that she was “so into those female harmonies”. She additionally cites Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman as influences on her songwriting style. Although she has a variety of musical influences, Cam stated that country music is where she felt most connected to. In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, she explained her reasoning: “I grew up singing in a lot of different languages and a lot of world music choirs, so I have a lot of musical influences. But the songwriting structure of country music is the standard in my mind. … That structure seems to feel the most homey to me.”
In September 2015, she became engaged to Adam Weaver, a business broker with First Choice Business Brokers in Nashville. The couple is currently in the process of planning their upcoming wedding. In May 2016, she told the website Taste of Country, “I’m excited about the fellow…I’m really excited.”
- Somewhere on a Beach Tour (2016) with Dierks Bentley
- Where It All Began Tour (2014) with Dan + Shay
- Crushin’ It World Tour (2016) with Brad Paisley and Eric Paslay
- Tour opener with Martina McBride