Camden West is a Nashville based singer-songwriter offering something different to the Nashville music community. Country music is king in Nashville, but West’s incredible guitar grooves set him apart. Undiscovered Nashville has been following West for the last year, and we look forward to every opportunity to see him play. We were able to catch up with Camden to talk about his journey in music and his latest single, “One Love.”
A Childhood Filled with Music
Camden West was born in Los Angeles, but shortly his family moved to Dallas, Texas. However, West would consider Las Vegas to be his hometown. The singer-songwriter’s family moved to Vegas when he was ten years old. It is always interesting to me how someone gets into music because everyone’s story is different.
West said, “My dad loved music, so I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock. At five or six years old, I started taking piano lessons. I also played violin at one point, but I don’t think I liked the violin very much. I told my mom, I wanted to learn to play the drums. She told me the only way I could learn the drums was to learn to play guitar too.”
The singer-songwriter continued, “At the time, I didn’t care to play guitar, but my mom had a few guitars at home that she played around the campfire. I got a teacher that would teach me the drums for half the lesson and guitar for the other half. Eventually, I loved playing guitar, so I kept going with that, but I still play the drums.”
Camden West’s Journey to Become an Energetic Stage Performer.
Camden West is no stranger to being on stage, but the beginning was not the polished stage presence that he possesses now. West said, “I started playing in my first band as a drummer, but we began as an instrumental band when I was in middle school. We were about to have our first gig, and we were like, someone has to sing. I remember saying I’ll try it out. Let me play guitar, and I’ll be out front.”
To see Camden on stage now compared to how he describes one of his first performances paints a stark contrast. The singer-songwriter said, “There is a video of me playing in a school talent show when I was in 5th grade. I was playing a Rolling Stones song on my electric guitar and staring out the floor. All you could see was this mop of hair, and nobody could hear me sing.”
West would continue playing in bands through college at the University of Arizona. After college, he returned to Las Vegas, where he began playing gigs all around Las Vegas. He continued to develop his sound, and his stage presences until he decided to move to Nashville.
The Camden West Sound
From the first time I saw Camden play at a writer’s round to seeing his Whiskey Jam debut, his sound is constant. Camden’s music is consistently giving us energetic guitar sounds and meaningful vocals. How did his sound evolve?
West said, “Guitar would become my primary instrument. I went to a performing arts high school in Las Vegas, where I majored in classical guitar. I started college to continue studying classical guitar, but I decided to minor in music instead. Also, I learned what I loved doing is writing music, playing guitar, and performing on stage.” When you listen to him play guitar, you can hear his background as a classical guitarist.
When thinking about starting another band, West received some valuable advice. The singer-songwriter said, “My mom told me if you want people to pay attention to your music, then you need to write your own. Someone said a lot of popular songs are love songs like the Beatles, and this is when I started to write songs.”
Camden Loves the Craft of Songwriting
Camden West is an energetic performer who draws you into his music. However, his lyrics and melodies complete the picture. West is the total package. The singer-songwriter discussed his evolution as a songwriter. West said, “When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I got serious about writing. During 9th Grade, I went into a recording studio for the first time, that is where I realized this is what I want to do.”
The singer-songwriter continued, “Growing up, I wasn’t a listening of lyrics. I paid more attention to the melody of a song. I thought if it sounds good, then it’s going to be a good song. A melody can make you feel the song, but lyrics matter too. West said, “When I started writing, what came out was what I was feeling at the time. I wasn’t writing the Nashville way. I didn’t know there were rules to writing until I moved to Nashville. Once I moved to Nashville, I noticed it is a more structured way of writing.”
Nashville songwriters emphasize the storytelling aspect as well as a melody. West said, “I had never really co-written before moving to Nashville. It is has been a good learning experience. I love the craft of songwriting. I still like writing alone, but I also enjoy having someone else in the room.”
The music community in Nashville is unique. If you know where to look, you will find different genres of music then just country. It is always interesting to learn what made someone move to Nashville. Camden said, “Early on in college, I visited Nashville. I didn’t know much about Nashville and how it is a songwriter’s town.”
The singer-songwriter continued, “While I was here, I filmed a music video, recorded some songs, and played in a writer’s round. I met so many people on my trip that I begin to think about moving to Nashville. After college, I was weighing my options as to where I would go. Finally, my mom and I packed the car and drove to Nashville. I loved the energy of the city. I knew my music might not be a fit. But, if I do what I do, there is a place for me.”
Camden West Releases an Uplifting Single “One Love”
“One Love” was written by Camden West, Tyler Bank, and TJ Simpson, and produced by Adam Sickler and Colin Rowe. This single is a follow up to ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal.” The singer-songwriter has several songs online for your listening pleasure. The message of “One Love” is perfect for the world affected by Covid-19.
West said, “The plan was to release this song later this year, but with everything going on, it seemed like a good time to release it. We are all going through this together. It’s about we; it’s about us.” Personally, the sentiment expressed by this song presents an idealistic view of the world. However, it is a simple message and well received.
Although perfect for the world today, the coronavirus was not the inspiration behind the song. West said, “I went on a trip to Africa a few months ago. We were at my house talking about Africa. My cousin, who lives in Africa, said you have to write a song to be released over here. We were FaceTiming with some of the people in Africa, and we decided to write a song together. One of my friends in over there always says “One Love,” so we knew it needed to be something about that.”
Follow Camden West
So if you are not familiar with Camden, give him a follow on social media. Listen to his music on your preferred streaming platform. Undiscovered Nashville hopes you will end up being as big of a fan of Camden’s music as we are.