MY INTERVIEW WITH hypefresh magazine
The Exclusive Interview : Camille Michelle Gray, Rising Pop/R&B Songstress Talks Music, Inspiration & Daily Motivations | HYPEFRESH |
In just two days, we managed to sit down with rising Pop/R&B artist —Camille Michelle Gray, which in our opinion, is pretty quick when it comes to interviews. Usually we wait for about a week until we get our responses from the talented & busy creative individuals out and about. Ms. Gray wasted no time in getting back, (which we appreciate) and for this, we are expediting her interview for and to the public.
If you haven’t laid ears & eyes on Ms.Gray yet, your’e missing out on a major musical treat. The creative & iconic artistry she delivers is similar to the appeal of… lets say, the legendary Lady Gaga… A touch of Lorde…. And a pinch of Ella Fitzgerald. Yeah, that’s just about right. And why such a unique blend of talent you ask? This article dives deep into the mind of Ms.Gray to answer that question. We’re proud to present her 1st exclusive interview with HF Magazine.
HF: Introduce yourself. Tell us about the musical history of Camille Michelle Gray.
CMG: Hey I’m Camille! My musical history is varied but the short and simple story is that I was a classically trained violinist and casual songwriter since the age of 8, evolved into self-teaching myself the guitar for accompaniment for my lyrics, had voice lessons, did open mics, coffee houses, talent shows, University (UMD—go Terps!) sponsored performances, and did collaborations and sporadic recordings for years. And that pretty much catches us up to now!
HF: Listening to your sound… We are honestly in love with you! From the vocals to the lyrics.. You are across the board excellent at what you do. Tell us.. Who influences your style and sound?
CMG: Thank you! I am inspired by a myriad of artists. Vocally, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald are two woman who I routinely look up to, especially Billie because what she lacked in range she made up for by being extremely emotive. And as a songwriter it’s always imperative that my voice be able to connote the exact emotion I put into a song while writing it. Current artists I look up to, some for sound, some for style, and some just for the person they are include Lady Gaga, Lianne La Havas, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Alice Smith, etc. etc. It’s an infinite list honestly.
HF: Walk us through your creative process… Where do you get the inspiration to create such great music at the level you do?
CMG: Usually lyrics come to me first. Sometimes full songs, sometimes just snippets to be used later, but behind all words there’s always a need to emotionally vomit (haha!) what’s troubling me at the moment. (The NOTES app on my iPhone is so chalk full of lyrics that the app started malfunctioning. So I downloaded another NOTES app!) Then I usually sit down with my guitar and play out chords that feel to fit the mood of the song I’m trying to write. And then I just go for it. How it manifests or even comes to me in the first place will always be a mystery. That’s how it usually goes. But with Street Cinema sometimes the process was reversed and I would get the melodies and instrumentals first and have to pen the lyrics afterwards.
HF: We see that your debut EP “Street Cinema” is due to drop on the 13th of March… What lead you to that title for the project?
CMG: I had many other titles floating around in my head for the project. Street Cinema is my lofty, hipster way of saying “the movie of life.” All my songs are, really, observations of my life or of others’ lives. There is something innately interesting about the way people go about living, so interesting in fact that their everyday life could be a movie in and of itself. So Street Cinema is just my all-encompassing term for those things, behaviors, emotions, and pathologies that color everyday life. Also I just think it sounds good!
HF: What would you say is the most challenging part of being an indie artist as supposed to being a signed act to a label?
CMG: The most challenging part is the opacity of the business and how seemingly difficult it is to just get a foot in the door. I have been, up to this point, self-managed, which is exhilarating and exhausting all at once. I specifically majored in Marketing in college so I could partner business know-how with my artistry and not be at a complete loss. But as an independent artist you bump up against walls that big music labels can easily demolish. You also have no clout and are not taken as seriously as someone who, say, has a big music lawyer or manager. So all you can do is try literally everything you can think of and keep inventory of what worked and what didn’t. It really is all about managing who you know and creating opportunities for yourself.
HF: Do you ever intend on signing a contract to a major label in the future or no?
CMG: I am open to anything. I will say that major labels intimidate me because they just have a nasty reputation for manipulating their artists or changing their music to fit a mold or delaying albums or this or that. But there are several instances where that’s not true. As an indie spirit I’m much more drawn to the appeal of independent subsidiary labels that really nourish and fight for their artists. But who knows. I will flow into whatever promises a brighter outcome.
HF: Overall, what is your core purpose of doing your music? We know everyone has a why….
CMG: I write songs and write music to salve my soul, my emotions, my heart. It’s truly cathartic and healing. I listen to the music of others and it’s the same feeling. There is this ethereal feeling of oneness you get when someone sings about exactly what you’re going through, or have gone through. My purpose here on this planet, I hope, is to use this talent to foster hope, love, excitement, peace, enthusiasm, understanding among all that choose to listen. I’m on a mission to heal. One of my favorite quotes is “If you genuinely have something to say, there is someone out there that genuinely needs to hear it.” And so I will keep on saying (or singing) everything that I need to say (or sing).
HF: Lastly, can we expect any upcoming shoes & events from you in the near future? If so, spill the beans!!
CMG: Well for all you Washington D.C. residents, I will be performing acoustic open mic sets around the area in support of my EP. But as far as solid tour dates, shows, etc.—nothing in the works quite yet. But it is my conviction that that will soon change.
HF: Thank you so much for your time with us! We look forward to doing a follow up interview with you in the near future!
CMG: Thank you for this opportunity, HF! I truly appreciate it. It’s rare when someone lets you babble and babble and it’s actually solicited !!