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Interview: Cameron Bloomfield

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An Essex born singer-songwriter with dreams of opening the Superbowl, Cameron Bloomfield’s soulful R&B tunes are set to infuse you with his own laid-back vibes.

Having just released his debut project, The Night Before, Cameron chatted to The National Student about everything from his first CD (S-Club 7 by the way) to his bucket-list milestones. Starting though, from the most logical place…

“My earliest memory of loving music must have been in primary school. There were loads of choirs and stuff and there was this music teacher there who was just incredible at growing the people whether they were good at it or not. But then, there’s also this picture of me sat on my grandad’s lap when was only a year old and he’s there playing the piano and my family always joke that that was like my first piano lesson. So, I don’t quite remember it, but if I could choose an earliest memory, I would want that to be it.”

“My first live performance was probably about the same age! It was for an audition at my primary school. They were looking for new boys who could be in the choir and so I stepped up like yeah, I’ll give it a crack - I like this music lark. And I must have been alright ‘cus they took me on that!”

Cameron didn’t always see music as a potential career, in fact he originally had his sights set on something quite different, if no less competitive. 

“I actually wanted to be a professional rugby player up until I was about sixteen. I was always doing the music a bit but it was just a hobby. Rugby was my priority. It’s strange looking back on it, to think that I never considered it something I was working towards. Now I can see that I was spending a lot of time on the music. So, I don’t know. Maybe it was always there. That sort of subconscious knowledge that this was what I would someday be doing.”

Ironically though, his talent for writing music seemed to start just as young.

“When I was in the choir that I was chatting about, it’s not really writing songs as such but at this point it was all I knew; I remember coming home and trying to come up with my own arrangements for the songs we did, making different harmonies for people to sing. It was only later when I started listening to the radio with my friends that I started to realise, oh well I can write about anything! I can write about how I’m feeling or what my mates are doing or about that party on the weekend.”

“I can’t remember the very first song I wrote, but the first one I was really excited about was when I was eighteen. It was about the boys holiday we went on after we left sixth form. And that was the first one that I was like yeeeeah, I really like this.”

Admiring his guts, I asked if he played it to his friends.

“Yeah,” he laughed, “I was playing little bits to them through sixth form and they were just sort of like, meh, it’s alright Cam but we’re probably just gonna stick to listening the radio!”

“I think that just spurred me on though. When your friends are just like, 'I mean it’s cool Cam and we’re proud of you for trying, that slightly sarcastic yeah, we wanna be there for you but at the same time you need to know that you should be better…' it makes you really want to prove yourself. So I spent maybe three years just not playing them anything cus I thought I don’t want to win you over gradually. I’m gonna go away for a little bit and come back and it’ll be like this grand reveal, and so I did. Three years later I came back and I played a few things at a house party and it was great, it was exactly that, they were just like “oh sick, so this is what you’ve been working on! Man, definitely keep doing this!” and you know by that point I wasn’t gonna stop anyway, but just having my mates on side meant a lot – cus they’re the only ones who are really gonna understand the stories behind it.”

I imagined this fact alone would make sharing his songs with his friend all the more nerve-wracking…

“Oh yeah, definitely. You’re always scared that they’ll take it in a way that’s like, 'well no I didn’t really feel like that', because I’m twisting it up in my own sort of way, but then if it felt that way to me… And at the end of the day they have understand that the songs, yeah they do represent me and the people I know and the people that I meet and the experiences I’ve had because there is always that introvert side that wants to invite everyone in and let them see what you see, but then there also that side of you that wants everyone to interpret it for themselves and for it to mean something more universal in the end." 

Originally wanting to be a rubgy player, music seems an odd plan B. Pressing on how his music career really got started, Cameron explains:

“I don’t think it was about realising, it was more that I just didn’t stop! There were just these little opportunities that presented themselves, tiny things like the pub down the road asking if I wanted to play a set at the weekend, just a tiny things that kept coming and I really enjoyed it so I never felt any reason to stop. I only stopped the rugby because I was spending so much time on the music!

Now of course there’s people who have bought into it on another level, like my management and my label, so other people have put their careers on the line because they believe I can do it. So I suppose for me that’s when it really went from being a hobby and suddenly turning into an opportunity to make it something that I get to do for the rest of my life.”

“It all comes from your ideas, from having something to say, form having a message. But at the same time, you still have to understand how to get it to that point where other people are also having the opportunity to hear it and enjoy it in the way that you have. It’s a difficult one.

"I just think it’s important to always keep the hobby element in there because you have to keep the love for it and the inspiration because that’s where all the creativity comes from. You’ve got to keep that spontaneity and that ability to just keep writing things down as they come to you even if they’re not really ideas.”

As a writer, this seemed a key opportunity for me to quiz Cameron about his songwriting process.

“It changes every time. Sometimes I’ll have concept ideas for lyrics which have been there for ages and I just won’t have been in the right headspace to make the most of what that concept could be. And then I’ll just wake up one morning and be like, I’m going to finish that one today. Or I might just go into the studio and just start up a drum beat and get everyone’s heads nodding and it might be first thing in the morning but if you’ve got that vibe going then stuff will come out and by the end of the day you’re gonna have made a little idea out of it.”

“I would never go into a studio saying let’s make a banger today, because, what even is that?! Like. You don’t know until it’s done and people hear it. You’ve got no idea! You just gotta have some fun, chill out, see what you’re into. You’ve just got to eliminate that pressure. Pressure can help in some ways, like before you go on stage its good to have that pressure to rise to, but in writing you just want to be able to express yourself. I like being able to go in and say right I have no idea what we’re going to do today but it’s going to be sick!”

When it came to knowing when a song was ready, Cameron has a similarly laid-back approach.

“I feel like there comes a point where you’re just going to tarnish something the more that you play with it. Even though you’re trying to make it better, trying to refine this moment that you had. So as much as possible I try to keep it in the original feeling and even though it’s a bit flawed or whatever just let it live.”

“All of them in a way mean something different to me for a different reason" Cameron explains, speaking on the favourite song he's written.

"But Talk holds a really important place for me. I’d had the concept for the EP for ages and it had just been sitting there and I was writing projects and scrapping them, writing them and scrapping them and then I went into a session with J.Hoskin and Luke Skitton and we started a song and it was cool but a couple of hours in J just turned around and said, guys this is cool but I feel like we can do something a bit more.”

“Both of us just looked at each other and said you know what yeah, let’s just do something else. And we went on to make Talk. The whole processes, the whole vibe of it just completely set a new tone for what I thought the EP was going to be. It was just a few tiny changes but something in my mind just clicked. That was the song for me, past that I just had the complete vision.”

Completely sold into his mindset, the next item on the agenda had to be – tour plans?!

“Oh definitely. Definitely. Live’s everything. Like I love making records and I love being in the studio but there is nothing like live shows, like feeling that connection. Especially if you’ve got the right venue, it’s just so – intimate. The internet is great and you can reach tonnes of people, but there’s nothing like looking into people’s eyes as you’re speaking out to them.” 

Subconsciously pre-booking my tour ticket, I couldn’t resist asking the classic interview question: if you could play anywhere, where would be your ultimate venue? To which he replied…

“What, other than the Superbowl halftime show?”

Naturally!

“I was actually sitting with my manager Phil not that long ago and we were chatting about bucket lists and there were a few venues which were out there like that but obviously have to happen....

“Hey actually, wait! That was a great one. Write the James bond theme tune AND play James bond at the same time. No-one’s ever done that before!”


The Night Before is available now. Catch Cameron play The Waiting Room in London on 11th December.

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