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On The Spot With Camille Rose: Jazzing Up Emotions, One Note at a Time

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Our 'ON THE SPOT ' interview series highlights individuals throughout the creative community for their contributions to art and culture. Putting these artists "on the spot" we created a space where creatives and innovators tap into the conversation to uplift and continue to inspire the creative community. Next up is...Camille Rose

In the heart of South-East London, a soulful melody weaves its way through the streets, echoing the experiences of life's transitions. Camille Rose, a rising jazz and soul artist, is captivating audiences with her introspective lyrics and emotive voice. Camille Rose's musical journey is sparked by a love for singing and nurtured by classical training. However, her immersion in jazz and her time at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London paved the way for her career to materialize. Her journey of self-discovery led to the creation of her own distinct sound, drawing inspiration from jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Her latest single, "Just Friends," delves into the bittersweet aftermath of a long-term relationship turned friendship, demonstrating her unique talent. "Just Friends" is a poignant reflection on the transition from lovers to friends, laden with emotional baggage and treasured memories. Camille Rose's inspiration for the track can be traced back to a 1930s jazz standard of the same name, which resonated with her intimately. The song straddles the line between reminiscence and describing present feelings, embracing themes of heartache, acceptance, contentment, and regret.

The creative process behind "Just Friends" was marked by spontaneity. The song emerged during a 7-piece band session, resulting in a warm and generous sound that perfectly complements the song's emotional complexity. After recording the song, Camille spent six months refining it, collaborating with others, and meticulously arranging the track. Her unwavering commitment to achieving the perfect sound is a testament to her dedication and the growth she has experienced as an artist.

Camille Rose's music is a bittersweet symphony that captures the intricacies of life's transitions. Infusing her work with a soul-stirring authenticity that is equally refreshing and profoundly moving establishes her as a counterculture, avant-garde antidote of a music industry that often prioritizes superficial metrics.

Camille Rose's music reverberates through the streets, offering a refuge for those seeking authentic storytelling and a genuine connection with their emotions. In This On The Spot Exclusive, we explore the method behind the mad genius behind every note she sings, unpacking the contours that define her character and persona and why she is a creative poised to leave an indelible mark on the world of music, one-note at a time.

Watch “Just Friends” Visualiser Here:

Take us back. Do you recall the moment you told yourself, "I'm going to make this my career?" Describe that moment. What made you pursue this career?

I've always been involved in singing in some way and always loved it, but I never really thought I was "good enough" or that there was space for me to viably pursue music as a career. That turning point really came when I went to university and became involved in jazz and a community of talented musicians who were all just concerned with making music and bearing their souls and learning and having fun- and I realized that this was what I needed to do- and hope the rest will follow…

How would you describe your artistic style?

I'd describe my musical style as honest, soulful, and reflective. I build off of genuine experiences or observations and explore themes that I hope connect to something within each listener individually and get them to reflect on their own emotions- always trying to deliver my authentic self in my compositions and performance.

What are you most passionate about? What themes or concepts do you explore in your music?

I guess the theme I explore most is the relationship to self: what we feel and why we're feeling it- although I think this is a broad term that covers a lot of other aspects like identity, morality, and purpose. I'm interested in the grey areas of emotion and the natural human instinct to try and understand the world around us and our role within it.

Are there any specific artists or movements that have influenced your work?

I think great musicians and composers take influence from everything around them- but for me, jazz and soul music have had a massive impact on my work- I love the freedom and honesty in the music of the jazz greats- they really feel the tune each and every time they play it, and there's always something new to hear- vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, their phrasing and interpretation of lyric and melody really shaped my vocal style.

If you had to title this chapter in your life, what would it be?

Probably ‘growing pains’.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

This is a tough question- I feel like I'm always doing things for the first time; being a jazz musician, you're often put in unfamiliar situations or require a level of improvisation, whether musically or just business-wise. Recently, I jammed at Orii South - a collective jam that happens weekly in Peckham- not my first groove jam by a long shot, but it was my first time at that venue, I guess.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be resilient. You have to cut through a lot of bullshit, and lots of people don't know what they're talking about. But do it cause you to love the music?

Has there ever been a time when you felt like giving up and starting a new path? What keeps you focused?

All the time- but only because the music industry is flawed in so many ways, and it's super hard to get recognition (and fair payment) for your work, so it can be very disheartening at times. What keeps me going really is just my love for singing and being part of the creation of music- and the therapeutic purpose it serves for me. It's also super rewarding when I can tell people are listening and connecting to my singing- when I see someone smile, dance with their partner, kiss their lover, or close their eyes and really listen- all that tells me I must be doing something right so I just got to carry on.

What has been the most exciting thing that has happened to you recently?

Releasing my single 'Just Friends' definitely! It's been a real journey from conception to release, but it's very exciting to know something I created is out in the world for people to hear and hopefully be affected by.

In your opinion, whom do you consider to be a visionary? What about them do you admire most?

This is an insanely difficult question as I could give a whole list of artists that I believe have shaped music into what it is today and whose work has directly influenced me, but to choose one, I will go for Amy Winehouse. Mostly because I feel that she was a key figure in putting jazz-influenced music into the mainstream in the 21st century- she absorbed musicality from key figures in the jazz tradition- for example, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan, and fused it with hip-hop/rnb styles to create something poetic, groovy and honest. Her improvisation of lyrics and ability to convey such emotion in her music is something many vocalists aspire to replicate today. Amy's original compositions and arrangements of tunes are and will always be timeless, so for this, she's a visionary in my book.

How do you show up for yourself? As in, what does self-care look like for you?

I must admit I'm not someone who prioritizes self-care as much as I should. It can be hard to relax when you have no real boundaries between work and personal life. But I think my self-care probably looks like me telling myself to take a break from work and over-thinking, reminding myself that you can't do everything all at once, so chill out, you'll get there, and definitely GETTING OFF SOCIAL MEDIA- that's fucking self-care right there- not trying to constantly fill your brain up with pop culture- just tuning out and allowing yourself to 'be' in the 'real world.'

Photo Credit: Michael Farnon

The past years have been life-changing. What's something new you've learned or discovered about yourself in the past 3 years? How have you applied that to your work?

I've discovered that I'm more resilient and better at bullshitting than I thought, and I should continue to do that well into my career because I've also discovered that everyone else is also always bullshitting, and most of the time, no one really knows what they're doing or what they should be doing. In a way, it's a great relief because it kinda makes you feel powerful. You kinda have nothing to lose when you know everyone is just making it up as they go along. In terms of work, I suppose this just means backing yourself loads, asking for what you want, and letting people know you deserve what you're asking them for. If you believe it, they're more likely to as well.

What was the inspiration for your new project? Can you tell us more about the meaning behind the music?

The inspiration for Just Friends came from the 1930s jazz standard of the same name. I've always liked the tune, and it especially resonated with the lyrics, which are all about the transition from lovers into friends. The tune is bittersweet and sort of sits on the line of reminiscing the past and also describing present feelings. I was intrigued by this idea, and, as well as going through a similar situation in my own life, I wrote the tune. My tune again looks nostalgically at a relationship past, with themes of heartache, acceptance, contentment, and regret merged with rich horn sounds that create a feeling of comfort, memory, and home.

Describe the creative process. When did you know you had the final cut?

The tune was actually recorded at the end of a studio session as we had extra time- we recorded live and maybe did like 4 or 5 full takes. At that point, I didn't have much expectation for the song because we hadn't rehearsed much, and I hadn't planned to record it, so the arrangement and vision were a lot looser. Then I sat with my tunes for a good 6 months, in which time I got some feedback from friends, etc, and worked on co-producing the track and re-arranging the recording (mainly cutting bits) and really thinking about how I wanted it to sound. I also went back into the studio to do BV's for the track. As I said, because there hadn't been as clear a vision for this song, there wasn't really a definitive point when I had a final cut- but I think when we got the breakdown section of the song sounding how it does, the sassy energy of it- I knew I was gonna be happy.

What do you feel has been your biggest growth as an artist?

100% confidence. And not a confidence in an "I'm amazing, and I know I'm amazing; look at me" kinda way but like a confidence to explore and try different ideas and not care if they "go wrong" or if people might judge you or you are "embarrassed" cause actually going with what you feel and trying weird things is how you grow and develop your craft and get better- musically and just as a person- but you have to have the confidence to try it basically.

Following your dreams comes with many ups and downs. What would say is the hardest thing about following your dreams?

The hardest thing about following your dreams is the realization that your dreams often shift and that achieving or getting your dream doesn't always come in a way or feel like you think it will. I think dreams should be things that are ways of life rather than single goals. If your dream is to perform a specific concert, get an award, or make a certain amount of money, then it's achievable, but also, what do you do when you get it? If your dream is to make music and touch and connect with people through this, then your dream can be achieved a thousand times over in a thousand different ways, and every day, you can live your dream! Profound advice!

In your opinion, what do you think is not fair about today's music industry?

How long do you have?! I guess representation and treatment of an artist's work. Lots of places will appear to say that they champion undiscovered and/or underrepresented artists, but their promotion of your music is based on the following you have amassed yourself, not about their belief in the quality of your work, because if you have under 10K followers on socials, they don't want to know. It's not really about the music - it's about money and image for the brand- they can take credit for the "discovery" of someone who really has put in incredible amounts of work independently and has carved out their own space by getting people to hear their work.

How do you hope your artwork resonates with viewers or impacts the world?

I hope my work resonates with people who have experienced similar feelings to that of 'Just Friends' - anyone who needs to reflect on their emotions or difficult past experiences, accept the outcome, and try to find some inner resolution.

‬More music!! I'm excited about performing with my band, playing these tunes in a live setting again, and….releasing more music in the next few months- so watch this space!

Stream Download “Just Friends” Here:

Connect With Camille Rose

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