Interviews

Life of a Song: Cam on the Scorpio 'Space Country' of 'The Otherside'

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Singer-songwriter Cam (Camaron Ochs) rose to fame in 2015 with her hit "Burning House." Now, five years later, the country artist is following up her debut album Untamed with The Othersidea stunning 11-track album that explores change, acceptance, the passage of time and more.

The album's title track was written by Cam and Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, who died in 2018. Cam, who had been captivated by the song since she first started writing it with Bergling, said she was driven to honor the late artist's legacy with her recording.

"[Avicii] was initially going to put it on his project and when he didn't put it on his project, I was like, 'Oh my God, I need this.' The final steps of it I had to do without him, unfortunately. [I was] feeling this sort of heaviness and weight in a good way...to do him proud where he was such a free-thinking, but committed visionary," Cam tells Wide Open Country. "I tweaked that and worked on that a long time to get that right. I feel like it's validating to have people believe in you enough to let you sing their words. And then it's also a big responsibility to be like, 'Okay, you've got to make a lot of people proud right now.'"

Cam says the song explores vengeance and the downside of seeking retribution.

"I can't say what everybody else was tapping into -- but me, I was definitely tapping into like -- I'm a Scorpio and I'm definitely vengeful -- and [there's] this feeling of when someone wrongs you and you're so consumed with it. Then you dish out the exact sh*t that you didn't want to take earlier. You dish it back out to people," Cam says. "It's kind of a sister song to 'Runaway Train' in my world, just because you have to ask yourself if this is helpful. Is it helping you to do this? For me, it's really fun to have a release in a song for three minutes where I can just be like an angry b*tch about it [laughs]. And letting people kind of sink into that I think is a really helpful thing. Because in the end it isn't really helpful in your life."

The "Diane" singer drew inspiration from Avicii's unique vision when recording the celestial tune.

"You can tell with his creative process, he doesn't try to fit into anything. And that was super inspiring for when we were trying to make sure this production got right at the end -- making sure it had still this sort of danceable beat and this four-on-the- floor move....Obviously, it's not an actual EDM track, but you need to have some of those elements in there I think," Cam says. "And then it still has, you know, like those sweeps and stuff that are EDM and it has a pedal steel lick, which I think is so fun with the countriness of it.... I thought that was so awesome and trippy and it feels like space country [Laughs]. A lot went into that and even getting the mix right was just very specific, very particular, to make sure it could happen in a way that we all felt like it was perfect and you wanted to dance and hit replay at the end."

Read More: Cam Talks Sensual New Single ''Till There's Nothing Left': You Have to be Able to Own That' [Interview]

For her sophomore album, Cam also recorded songs written by Sam Smith and Harry Styles, who penned "Changes" with Tom Hull, Tyler Johnson and Lori McKenna.

"I normally don't take outside songs. That's not really my thing because I feel like it's like cheating [Laughs]," Cam says. "I joke that I feel like Harry [Styles] and Sam [Smith] are like my musical neighbors because Tyler [Johnson], my producer, works with them and then I opened up for them and wrote for Sam... So I kind of let them in, I guess. And I just trust that they -- I can tell that they're trying to evolve and be the most correct representation of themselves as they keep evolving. They really are in pursuit of that. And so when I heard the demo of 'Changes' -- it was Lori [McKenna] singing and Harry singing backgrounds and whistling, which is his whistling on the record still too -- I was just like, 'Oh, I know this feeling.' I was open to it and then I recognized it. You don't want to outgrow something like a hometown, but it's happening."

See the full interview here.

'The Otherside' Track List:

  1. Redwood Tree
  2. The Otherside
  3. Classic
  4. Forgetting You
  5. Like A Movie
  6. Changes
  7. Till There's Nothing Left
  8. What Goodbye Means
  9. Diane
  10. Happier For You
  11. Girl Like Me   

 

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Life of a Song: Cam on the Scorpio 'Space Country' of 'The Otherside'