The simple, three-letter name is bold. And that rings true to the art, and the heart, of one of country’s shining new acts.
That boldness is evident in nearly every step she takes. Cam makes it a habit to wear eye-catching yellow every time she goes out in public. The strings and acoustic guitar in her breakout #1 Platinum-certified smash, the Grammy and ACM Awards nominated “Burning House,” are stirringly fragile, a brave counterpoint to the party atmosphere of modern country. And she sings with a dynamic clarity that’s both distinctive and friendly.
Cam backs up that boldness with a firm delivery, embedding her material with a ringing conviction throughout the 11 songs on her Arista Nashville/RCA Records full-length debut, Untamed. Released December 11, 2015, her new album burst onto Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at #2 and earned 2015’s best first-week album sales by a debut country artist. Whether she’s singing about fresh love, broken hearts or difficult personal crossroads, she’s clearly living the experience for the three or four minutes she’s in it. Actually, she’s re-living the experience, because the emotions in every one of her songs come unapologetically from her singular interaction with the world.
“There’s a lot of work involved in being an artist, and I’m so happy to do it,” she says. “But if I’m going to invest my time in the work part of it, the music just has to be me.”
The “me” that Cam presents to the world is multi-dimensional. She’s powerfully vulnerable in “Burning House,” fierce and defiant in “Runaway Train,” effervescent and carefree in “My Mistake.” And the emotions in the material aren’t the only thing that separates those titles – every song incorporates a different sonic palette. While one might rely on polished pop influences and melody, another yields a piano bar feel, one cleverly infuses a bit of Gregorian chant, and yet another uses steel guitar to create a classic-country mood.
That wide-ranging artistry is key in Cam’s approach. Instead of limiting her choices to make an easily defined product, she’s put faith in the uniqueness of her voice, allowing that to be the defining character of a pliable, adventurous musical persona.
Co-writing each of the songs on Untamed, Cam says, “The cohesive part is me and my voice. The music all stems from the same place, and it allows you to go in different directions with the content and the lyrics and the kind of vibe that’s going on in each song.”