Monday, 19 March 2012 13:01
Coming off her successful January 20 release of Temporary and her well-received single “Polaroid” produced by Billy Chapin and Stan Lynch, we got a chance to sit down with Camryn Wessner, 20, at Gainesville’s Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate to discuss the record, what has brought her to this point and what she feels the future might hold.
By Greg Allard
Temporary came out on January 20—how has it been received so far?
It’s been really awesome. I’ve gotten a lot of shows booked and a couple of potential sponsors. I’ve been staying in Orlando, so it’s been promoted more and it’s also been easier to advertise out there.
If you had to tell someone about your new album in a few sentences, what would you say?
That’s a really good question. There’s so much I love about the album because it’s the first thing I’ve been able to show for myself. The title is Temporary and I was going through a lot of changes in my life when I made it. I’ve experienced that if you can learn to cope with the constant change around you, then things being temporary won’t be so bad.
Isn’t everything in the world temporary?
Well, everyone is in a state of constant growth. When I was a kid, I never thought about what it would be like to be an adult. There’s a lot to learn about life and the way you want to live it. Once you accept that there is constant flux and chaos, then you can accept it. You never know what is going to happen; there’s constant surprise and you have to learn to adapt to your surroundings.
Which track did Stan Lynch (former drummer of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) co-write with you?
That one, “Temporary.” He did some music on it and I did the lyrics and melody.
How was it working with him?
The best and easiest collaboration I have ever done with any band or artist. We worked on it for two hours. It was the fastest process I have ever had writing and recording a song, too. He made me feel very comfortable about myself, and [taught me to] not to hold back as a creative artist.
What’s the single “Polaroid” about?
I gave my producer, Billy Chapin, a bank of songs that I had written. One of the first ten songs I ever wrote was “Polaroid.” I wrote it in the tenth grade when I was 15 and he really, really liked the song. I had just moved from a different state when I wrote it. Now, it’s a single and it’s doing really well. I thought it was not as good because of how old it was. I like it now, though—we changed a few things, but it’s the same song I wrote in the 10th grade.
Your parents split up when you were young and you moved away to Lake Butler from Alabama and you didn’t get to see your Dad as much. How has strengthening your relationship with him in the last few years affected your music career?
It definitely helped me a lot. Music was something he was fond of me doing. Once he realized it was something I was passionate about, he encouraged me and gave me a sense of security and made me feel more excited about playing shows. I wrote music a long time before that but then all of a sudden, after he encouraged me, I felt more comfortable about putting it out there for the rest of the world to see.
Tell us, what is different about being a solo artist and playing in your former band Victory Boulevard?
Being in a band requires a lot of communication between different people coming from different backgrounds. I was the only girl in Victory Boulevard. Being solo allows me to have more freedom to write what I want to write. Not that we didn’t make good music or I didn’t have a good time, but going solo gave me more creative freedom. We had different musical interests.
The album sounds very country to me.
I think that probably comes through a lot considering where I’m from. I’m from Dothan, Alabama. I have a sort of a twang in my voice. I was there a majority of my life. I like country music. I want to appeal to that and more than that too. I want people who listen to a lot of pop and rock to be able to relate to my music as well.
You’re not exactly physically opposing. Where does that powerful singing voice come from?
I think that before I stated writing music and singing, I didn’t know how to sing as well as I do now. Once I learned how to use my voice things became easier for me. I think it comes from actually writing my own music—knowing how to express what I want to see. I’m not a shy person but I’m also not a social butterfly. I’m somewhat introverted but when I go on stage it gives me the opportunity to open up.
How many instruments do you play?
I play three: Piano, guitar and ukulele. I have a harmonica too but I only play it in one key.
What’s in the works?
Well, I’m booking a lot more shows in Orlando. I’m going to be picking another song besides “Polaroid” to push in the next few months. If I get a sponsor or more representation, then I will make a new video for one of my songs. I want to go on tour but first push things locally.
Will we be seeing you in Gainesville again any time soon?
The Swamp wants me to start playing there. I’ll probably start playing more Gainesville shows. Right now, I’m trying to get a decent following in Orlando.
Your star has really risen fast over the last year. What is your sense of destiny?
I feel if I continue to adamantly pursue what I’m doing, the universe will give me an opportunity to always play somewhere. Right now, I’m very excited to play as many shows as possible and I think people are enjoying. That’s good enough for me. I think there’s something there. I’ve played all my life and now that I have put myself out there in the public’s eye, I’m getting a good response.
Favorite place to eat in Gainesville?
Alison Krause, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp.
Frosted Crunch cinnamon cereal with milk and bananas.
Average time to bed and up in the morning?
Late to bed and early to rise on the road and I crash when I get back home.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Europe and Australia.
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