Before becoming a breakout country star, Cam had a life-altering feeling while working as a graduate student in the field of psychology.
“I was working in a lab in Stanford and I [felt] like I should be doing music [instead],” she said.
With that notion fresh on her mind, Cam sought counsel with her professor at the time, who helped put her on course for stardom.
“She was like, ‘Picture yourself 80 years old. What would you regret having missed out on?’ That was the clearest way anyone ever put it for me.”
From there Cam dove head first into the unpredictable world of songwriting where she penned songs for several well-known artists like Miley Cyrus before branching out on her own with the single “Burning House.”
amNewYork caught up with Cam to discuss her rise to fame and waxing poetic with her idol Dolly Parton.
You started your career behind the scenes as a songwriter before “Burning House” became your breakout hit. When did you decide to make that transition to performing your own songs?
The songwriting part was me not being totally ready to be an artist. When you’re early on and you haven’t developed your ideas enough. The [songwriting] deals [are] really bad and I realized that I cared too much to let go of the song. It just didn’t fit for me.
So I thought, “[Shoot] I’m just going to do it.” I’m OK with being extremely poor for a while and we’ll figure it out. We made like 90% of the album and we took it into the label that way. And thank God they liked it. [laughs]
When did you start to gain some traction?
“My Mistake” was the first single and it went midway up the charts. So I had my [Grand Ole] Opry debut and I played that, but I also played “Burning House.” The next day I was on the “Bobby Bones” [radio show] and he was like, “Will you play that other song from the Opry?” So I played the verse and chorus of “Burning House” and it just shot up the charts. So the record company turned on a dime and they were like this is the song we’re putting out right now.
You got to chat country music icon Dolly Parton thanks to Cracker Barrel’s “Front Porch Series.” What was that experience like for you?
When you’re around her, it’s just extremely inspiring. She is just a complete package. [Laughs] She’s such and amazing woman.