Cam On the Importance of the Female Perspective in Music

"I think in our entire culture, across all of these different industries, there are subliminal ways that we keep reminding women that they're less valuable..." said Cam.

Cam On the Importance of the Female Perspective in Music
NAPA, CA - MAY 16: Singer Cam performs on Day 2 of Live In The Vineyard Goes Country on May 16, 2018 in Napa, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Cam recently wrapped her Listening Room Series Tour where she shared the stories behind her songs in an intimate and uncensored setting each night. She tells Sounds Like Nashville this type of concert setting helps people open their minds while she’s sharing the context of her music.

“You get to hear yourself in the songs in a new way,” Cam says ahead of her intimate rooftop performance in Napa Valley as part of the inaugural Live In the Vineyard Goes Country festival. “I think that’s really important, especially for women who aren’t getting [to hear] their stories right now. The more I can reiterate this is for them, hear yourself in this, it makes me feel good to see them get a kick out of it.”

The California native released her latest single, “Diane,” late last year and the song has a woman apologizing to her boyfriend’s wife after discovering that he’s married. Cam says it’s the response song to Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit, “Jolene,” and that she’s been getting an overwhelming reaction from women, including those who have been cheated on.

“I had multiple people who have had this kind of thing happen hear it, and they are like, ‘It means so much to get an apology that I didn’t get in real life,'” she shares. “It’s so funny because I get told often that women don’t like to be reminded that they have been cheated on and that’s why men feel uncomfortable playing the song. The main people that respond to me are women who had this happen and they feel not alone to hear this kind of song come out. That’s really nice to have happen. I think it’s true in the personal sense, and in the public broader sense, to have people coming forward saying thanks.”

Cam says she hopes her song takes the shame away from the person who has been cheated on. Additionally, she wants “Diane” to inspire other women to talk openly about various situations, like an affair, instead of stay silenced.

“Women are told, or subconsciously told, in our culture that we need to process things silently and it all needs to happen inside. It’s too hard to process in general without speaking out about it and getting support and figuring out where you’re supposed to go. So, I think, music is one of those few places that the rules bend and you can talk about things you’re wouldn’t normally be able to say in conversation so it opens a door a little bit for people to have a moment of the correct processing,” she reasons.

About 2 years ago a young photographer took these pictures of me at a festival in Florida. I hit her up and asked if she wanted to come out on tour with me- I’d never done that before. I knew she was talented but I had no idea just how much she was capable of. She never stops learning and you can see how insane her growth has been in all the dope collages of me in crazy backgrounds, behind-the-scenes videos, live head-banging shots, and hip graphics that I post. She captures my spirit, not just how I look. Thank you Chelsea, for working so hard, staying out of the box and believing in yourself long before I ever met you. Thanks for being one of the few but fierce women that inspire those of us in the art, music AND touring world. Mostly tho, I’m just so damn excited for what is coming next . . .✨ @chelseanicolekornse (she’s also hilarious so you should go follow her).

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Cam still can’t quite understand why certain people — mainly men — have an issue playing the song as country music has been built on cheating songs. She says men often tell her that women don’t like to hear cheating songs or songs sung by women.

“They’ll tell me that women actually to like to listen to men sing because we like to believe that they’re our boyfriend,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t think that anyone is an evil super villain. I think in our entire culture, across all of these different industries, there are subliminal ways that we keep reminding women that they’re less valuable: their stories are less valuable, their time is less valuable, that they shouldn’t get paid as much. It’s all hidden and I think we need to open our minds a little bit more to be able to recognize it. I think women feel it but don’t even know how to name it.”

Cam is committed to getting this conversation at the forefront of our culture as she recently signed on to be a part of the GRAMMY Diversity and Inclusion Task Force which will focus on “the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically across Recording Academy operations and policies.”

“It’s really nice that a conversation is coming out and starting to get addressed. Where are the women? Why are there only 22 percent of musicians that are women? Why are there only two percent of producers that are women? Why are there only 12 percent songwriters?” she asks. “How are we raising young women when they can’t hear themselves? How are they supposed to hear their own stories and how are they supposed to grow better than us if they can’t even hear where we are at right now? I’m glad that it’s starting.”