Artist Interview: Cameron Douglas
*This interview is the first part of a new partnership with Tradiio, a music application based in Europe. It’s essentially an investment platform for new music and it’s completely FREE to the user. We’re partnering with Tradiio as one of the perks for emerging artists.
Cameron Douglas is a London-based singer songwriter who’s tracks “Lisbon Love” and “That Cigarette” have shot to the top of the UK Tradiio charts. Get to know him (and his music) here.
1) How long have you been playing music? How did you get your start?
I was born into a musical family. My dad is a songwriter and pianist, who also happens to work in classical music radio. We have a little upright piano at home that he plays on most nights- my brother and I would often sing around it. Dad would also get free tickets to classical music concerts from work, which we regularly went to as a family. It isn’t surprising, then, that I first started playing classical music. I took violin and piano lessons from the age of around 8.
It wasn’t until I was 15 that I started tinkling with the guitar. I remember- we were in the car on a family holiday somewhere, and ‘One Last Breath’ by Creed was being played from the speakers and I just thought the riff was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I decided that I needed to know how to play that riff. So when we got home a few days later, I dug out my mum’s old guitar and went straight onto the Internet to find a tutorial that would show me how to play it. It took me two weeks of practicing every day before I could play that riff properly! Anyway, that’s how I got into playing guitar.
2) Who are your musical influences? Being from the UK there’s a longstanding folk tradition. Does that influence your sound?
I actually grew up in Hong Kong, so I wasn’t really exposed to the London folk scene. My earlier influences were musicians like Eric Clapton, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer. It gradually became more folky and indie as I started listening to people like Paolo Nutini, Mumford and Sons, Matt Corby, The Staves, and First Aid Kit.
3) I can’t talk to you without asking about Tradiio. What’s it been like being on the artist side of things? Do you recommend the platform?
Tradiio’s a great platform- a novel concept too, which makes it a fun way to discover music. I’ve only had my songs on it for a few months, and within that time, Tradiio has given me gig opportunities, helped me create a high quality live recording of one of my songs, and is currently thinking about helping me produce a music video. I highly recommend undiscovered artists to put their music on Tradiio. If your song does well and listeners seem to like it, the guys at Tradiio will offer you ‘rewards’, like gigs and videos, which aim at helping musicians market their music.
4) Your track “Lisbon Love” is a big hit on the Tradiio charts. Can you tell us the story behind it?
Lisbon Love is about a long distance relationship- simple as that. I’m still dating her though, so that’s good news J.
5) What does your songwriting process look like?
It’s sporadic and spontaneous. I find it almost impossible to write on demand. For some reason travelling seems to help get my creative juices flowing. I think being in a state of transition, whether it’s a stage in your life, or literally transitioning from one place to another, encourages you to reflect and makes you more sensitive to what it is you’re feeling.
The process varies. Sometimes I stumble upon a nice melodic idea, which I then develop. Other times I begin with the lyrics and just pour out onto paper what is essentially a poem, and then go about trying to package it in some interesting chords and a nice melody.
6) Are you working on a new album or are you touring? Maybe a little of both?
I’m working on some new material at the moment. I try to play as much as possible but it’s difficult to find the time these days. I have a day job and at the moment, unfortunately, it’s taking up most of my time. My immediate goal is to gig more and hopefully find some management representation.
7) If you could open for any major artist today, who would it be? (and why)
Although my music probably doesn’t fall into his genre, I would love to open for Ed Sheeran. I’ve been listening to his latest album, Multiply, and think it’s awesome. He also just seems like cool guy to hang out with.
8) Your vocals have a little bit of natural vibrato to them. Is that something you’ve developed or were your born with it?
I think the way I sing has developed over the years. For a long time I didn’t really know how to use my voice, and everything sounded a bit strained. Just through singing a lot though you discover different ways of using your vocal muscles and adapting your tone. Eventually, I naturally settled on a tone and style that I felt comfortable with.
9) You said in your Sofar Session that your father wrote “That Cigarette.” Do you cowrite with him often? Or do you see him cowriting with you more in the future?
I always ask my dad for feedback and advice on new material. So, even though we haven’t really co-written before, he contributes in many ways to my songs. As a songwriter himself though, he has years’ worth of songs and chord patterns from which I sometimes take inspiration.
10) What would you like our readers (mostly folk fans in the US) to know about your music?
My songs fall under the indie/folk/pop umbrella, with a splash of Americana. I try to keep them honest and personal. If you like that kind of stuff, then you should have a listen J. I hope you like it!
You can find me on the links below: