Cameron Calloway: Soul Child

Interview + Photography Brianna Castillo

Cameron Calloway, a Filipino American soul singer and song writer, was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cameron started off doing acoustic music and then later developed a band. Members include Jason Corpuz on keys, Chris Foster on the drums, Brittney Valen on the guitar, and Bren Shen on the bass guitar.

Some of Cameron’s inspiration to write music comes from artists such as Ceelo Green and John Lennon, but often comes from the need of bringing people together for peace and love. One of Cameron’s most recent songs, “Extraordinary,” is about bringing awareness of self-love to women. Cameron mentions his favorite line is “Never, never, never let no one kill your pride. Embrace who you are from your lips, hips, thighs, and cup size.”

Cameron has been performing around Vegas and says he would love to perform at more festivals. Cameron Calloway performed at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in October 2016. Calloway put on an a energy-filled performance from beginning to end and looks forward to what has yet to come in his career.

Coachella Magazine had the opportunity to interview Cameron Calloway after his performance at Joshua Tree Music Festival fall 2016.

Where are you from, where did you grow up, what was your childhood like?
I’m originally from Long Beach, CA but my family and I moved here to Vegas in ’92 and I’ve been here since. My childhood was super fun filled with art and Nickelodeon! Also, My mom came to the U.S in 1977 from the Philippines so different food (Filipino food) was a big part of my upbringing. Experiencing the American and Filipino traditions was a special treat for me.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?
Favorite thing to do here in Las Vegas? I don’t think I have one particular thing I enjoy doing but every now and then I like to go out to Red Rock Canyon and hike! Definitely a gorgeous place to be that’s away from the strip. I also like to check out comic book stores and go to the movies occasionally. I goof around here and there but other than that, I like to keep to myself when I’m not performing.

Can you remember the first time you wrote a song? Describe it to me.
The very first song I wrote was titled “Emma” a song about Emma Watson! At the time I was still fairly new at playing the guitar and just wanted to write a catchy love tune. And as I look back it was indeed a cheesy love song and I even reference Doug & Pattie Mayonnaise.

What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being “creative” means being able to fully express myself with my art and my words. It’s an emotional outlet for me you know? I can fully express my thoughts, feelings and words through music and at the same time it’s therapeutic, it’s medicine.

What inspires you to write music?
It may be cliche to say but honestly everything around me is inspiration for my writing. The struggles of everyday people, the oppression of the black culture, the friction between the different races, relationships, love, love loss, unrequited love, essentially the state of the human condition in this changing world is what drives me.

What artists have been inspirational to you and your work?
Some artists that have been a major influence to me and my music are 2pac, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Donny Hathaway. These 4 artists wrote and performed from a very honest and vulnerable place and at times have said things in their music that people didn’t necessarily agree with. That’s admirable in my book and shows a great sign of courage and fearlessness which is something I strive to do with my own music, they’ve all individually put together a tremendous body of musical work that is forever timeless.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
There’s a few people who’ve actually had a huge influence on my life. Over the years my mother has inspired me to love unconditionally, my dad has showed me where hard work and self discipline can lead to and to never give up on what you’re trying to achieve. And lastly, Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross. Bob let me know that having a big imagination is a beautiful thing and that you should never abandon that while Mr. Rogers taught me to respect, love and treat each other as good as we treat ourselves. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

What has been your most touching or amazing moment you’ve experienced while performing?
One of most touching moment I’ve had while performing was during a performance opening for The Internet. After the show a young lady came up to me to tell me how much she loved a song of mine titled “April 23rd” but to also let me know how much more inspired she was because she just quit her day job to pursue her passion of traveling. And as she’s telling me this tears start to fill up in her eyes and at that moment I had an even better appreciation for music and how I could inspire someone in that way, we all inspire each other in some way and it’s a beautiful thing.

What song you have written is your favorite and why?
One of my favorite songs that I’ve written has to be one I titled “extraordinary.” It’s a song I dedicate to all the women and growing little girls everywhere. Society has built this horrible facade of what beauty should look like that soon enough there’s enough people (women) thinking they’re inadequate and I think it’s bogus. I too had self image problems in my adolescent years so I could only fathom how it feels being a lady in society really trying to embrace everything about yourself, inside and out. So “Extraordinary” is a reminder that you are already a beautiful human being and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

What was your experience like performing at Joshua Tree Music Festival?
Performing at the 11th Annual Joshua Tree Music Festival was a magical experience! “Magical” is the best word I can use to describe my experience. I played with my band ( Jason Corpuz on keys, Chris Foster on drums, Brittney Valen guitar and Bre Shen bass guitar ) for 90 minutes and from start to finish everybody just continued to pile in and rock with us. There was a moment in the set where the crowd participated in my song “April 23rd.” I could feel that they were there enjoying life and having a good time and that always makes me feel good.

What are you up to next? What does the future hold?
I’m currently recording music and I will be debuting my 1st EP in early 2017. I’ve got a mix of R&B/Rock mixed with some classic throwback soul music, I’m excited about it and can’t wait to share it with everyone! Going forward, I will continue to strive to make music that speaks of peace, love and truth. I understand that I can’t change the world but I do believe that I can bring humanity a step closer together with the magic of music.

WEB: cameroncalloway.com
LINKS: joshuatreemusicfestival.com