Over the past year, I have really gotten to know Todd and his timeline in music. Todd is an all around good dude who loves music. When I was in Nashville, he drove 45 minutes just to have a beer with me. Through our many conversations, Todd has taught me a lot and has given me some valuable insight not only in music, but on a personal level as well. After starting his solo career with his debut single "Denim Days, Neon Nights", Todd has been rolling with a combined 614,206 streams on Spotify and shows no signs of slowing down. I sat down with Todd as he talked about his journey in Country Music and some of the ups and downs that have brought him to where he is today. Truly one of my favorite articles to write... so much raw emotion and so much truth being spoken. Very insightful for anyone in music or not.
Inspiration Behind "Ruin My Truck"
Written By: Todd Cameron, Cody Cooper & Clayton Shay, Produced By: Justin Wantz
"We just randomly got together one day. I got to know Cody over social media and finally got together to write. It was the very first time we had all written together. I brought up this idea about how so many of my memories are in a truck. I went through this break up and all my favorite memories of us were in this truck. It always made me think about her. So I had the title "Ruin My Truck" and they liked the idea. For me, because so many memories were in this truck, I just had to get rid of it. I had a really good feeling a lot of people could relate to that situation. Clayton really jumped on it and came up with “if wrecking my heart wasn't enough, you just had to go and ruin my truck". I knew we were on the right track. Then Cody came in with some melody, some chords and just started talking about the truck. It was crazy. We wrote it, listened to it for a few days and we wanted to get a demo done right away. We all really liked it and I just threw the song up on Tik Tok. I’d told my story and it kind of blew up. It's funny to me because I showed it to a few industry people and the feedback was terrible."
Todd Cameron Talks About His Journey In Music
Q: What was that big moment for you in music that made you who you are and shaped your music?
A: "Well, from an individual standpoint, I had a couple of moments that really stand out. I was fortunate enough - with my past duo "Adairs Run"- to be selected for the show "Real Country". It’s on the USA Network and hosted by Jake Owen, Shania Twain and Travis Tritt. It was super cool getting selected by Jake Owen and experiencing the whole process of how they were able to bring our story to life in just a few minutes. We got to play a song that influenced us and it was the first song I learned to play. Going through all that and taking criticism from legends in Country Music was difficult. And we were the first ones voted off the show. I really respect that moment, because it taught me that I don't need to get so lost in the music. I get what they were saying about originality - even though they picked the outfits and the song we sang. But it is what it is and I use that experience as fuel to make sure I'm always me and authentic with my music. Going on that show was a big turning point for me. It was really the motivation and self-realization I needed. Moving forward, I stopped trying to write for radio and trying to sound like other people. I let the song write itself and don’t go in with any preconceived hopes. The end result that I'm getting, is people telling me the songs are relatable and real. This solo chapter and the music I'm putting out is just me."
Q: From being in a duo for years, to starting a new chapter in your music career in Nashville, how have you gained clarity and changed as a musician and person?
A: "With being in a duo, you have to make sure everybody is on the same page and try to work around everyone's schedule. You must always communicate if you're working toward the same goal. I'm gonna use coronavirus as an example. It was a great opportunity for me to take a break from music altogether. It allowed me to really step back and evaluate what I was doing and trying to accomplish, and what was working and what wasn't. It was great because I don't think in 10 years of performing I've had two weekends off in a row. It wears on you. You miss important things - vacations with your friends, weddings, bonfires with your friends. I've learned it's easy to lose sight of who you are. I was constantly comparing myself to other artists and wanted to be on their schedule. Felt like I had to be doing what they were doing and having to get your band on the same page. Now, as a solo artist, I feel like I can relax a little and put out music that is authentic and shows my passion. Now I'm just doing this for fun and glad that fans are enjoying what I'm putting out as a solo artist."
Q: You released your first 5 songs as a solo artist in 2020.What do these songs mean to you and how did you bring them to life?
A: "Sure man. People ask how long it takes to write a song and I always respond with, "writing the songs are the easy part, living them were the hard part". My debut single as a solo artist was"Denim Days, Neon Nights". When I wrote that one with my buddies, we just talked about where we all came from. Even though we are from different places, we like to do the same stuff. Being out on the road and playing shows, you notice that the same kind of people keep coming. That blue collar, front line worker who works hard during the day and parties hard at night. “Flyin” stemmed from a past relationship that didn’t work out, but at the time was a major part of my life. Then it was gone.The basis for that song was you hear these things like "these are the best days of our lives", then you look back and they really are. Those moments just fly by. "Flyin” for me was just a relatable song. Everyone has that person they are flyin' through life with. "When You're Over It" is a song where I wanted people to know the things I went through during a break up and then finally found peace. It was a situation where the breakup is always on your mind and you make up a thousand scenarios in your head about what she's doing. It showed all the things you don't do when you're actually over someone. That song was important for me just to get those feelings out. It was the usual, like I didn't go to some events because I thought she was going to be there. "Grew Up in Church" started from a conversation with a guy. After a show, we were out at a bar and he said he did music too and was like "I started playing in church". I told him "oh yeah man, me too". That title was stuck in my head. My whole small town feels like a church. I knew all these people and for me if it wasn't for God, I wouldn't still be doing music. Through these songs, I was exposing important parts in my life that impacted me. Seeing people relate to them really made me feel something. Getting tagged in videos and people telling their stories is what makes it all worth it."
Q: Being around the Country Music industry and going through ups and downs, what's your advice to the next generation of talent in Nashville?
A: "I used to tell people at shows you can be anybody you want to be if you put your mind to it. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer. If you want to be a Country Music star, be a doctor instead. But seriously, if I had to tell myself one thing when I moved to town, it’s don't compare yourself to other people. Find a group of people that support you know matter what. And keep your head up on the tough days. There will be a lot of tough days. But if you truly love it, don't do it for the money or the fame. Do it because you love it and be satisfied with exactly where you are. Set goals, but not ridiculous ones. Set them for yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised where you end up."