If you know country music, you probably already know Cam. But if you don’t recognize the name, or her trademark yellow style, you may have heard her music.
The 32-year-old, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter – known for her 2015 hit single “Burning House” – is a rising star in the country music world. And no, she’s not from Nashville, Memphis or another Southern town. Her ties are a little more local.
Cam – whose full name is Camaron Ochs – grew up in the East Bay and graduated from UC Davis. While there, she co-founded the university’s all female A cappella group, the Spokes, and worked on the paddle wheel boat in Old Sac.
Cam recently came back to Sacramento to perform at the airport’s 50th anniversary party, which is where ABC10 was able to catch up with her. We spoke about her Northern California roots, the “Me Too” movement, being a woman in country music, among other things.
(The conversation has been lightly edited for style and flow.)
Did growing up in Northern California influence your music at all?
Yeah, I’d say so. I think California, specifically, has a great history with country music, but I think on top of that we tend to do things our own way. We like to do it, pull by our own boot straps, be entrepreneurs, and I think a lot of that affects how I make my music and how I run by businesses, and it all kind of comes together. I’m very proud of being a Californian and sort of having those values.
You’ve been vocal on social media feeds about the “Me Too” movement. What has your experience been as a woman in the entertainment industry?
The entertainment industry, I think it’s a lot like any other industry. There’s a lot of things that have gotten passed down from heads of companies through company culture and I think so many people are purposefully doing it, so many people don’t realize they’re doing it. But there’s a lot of time that women and minorities are facing extra baggage, extra work that you have to go through. And, you know, it’s wonderful seeing people speaking up about it, because a lot of that fear of being able to actually talk about it is what keeps people from moving forward and what keeps people from getting exposed, because they’re so afraid of their jobs. So, it’s really nice to have a big campaign and sort of watch some of those key figures that have been doing wrong for a long time start to crumble. It’s wonderful.
You recently tweeted about a man who was trying to shoot up your skirt at a show. What needs to be done to stop things like that?
Thank you to the gentleman who removed the guy trying to take pictures up my skirt during my set tonight. Wish I had seen you to thank you 💛— Cam (@camcountry) October 13, 2017
What’s actually amazing about being at a country music concert, is one guy doing something inappropriate, never fails there’s another guy who stands right there, grabs him by the back of his shirt collar and takes him out. And that’s something that’s really important for men to really step up and say this is not OK. Like, it’s not just on women and minorities to say this is not OK, this is on everybody. Luckily, I think we have some really good people in country music.
Country music is more skewed male. How do you feel being a voice in the business representing women?
I’m really proud to be a woman in country music. There’s definitely fewer than us. I’m really proud especially to be a Californian, I think we raise our women pretty strong. And I’m glad to be a part of just the culture of country music and help just start shaping it and pushing it, and anyone who has any backwards ideas still, I’m not going to put up with it, and a lot of women are not going to put up with it anymore. So, it’s going to start evolving. It will get there.
You recently performed at a hospital for some victims of the Las Vegas shooting, what was that experience like?
Cam: They were all smiling and they were all super strong people and hearing from the ER nurses and people that are working there at the hospital, all the great stories of heroism…it was actually very encouraging. Where you would think that it would be full of sadness. It actually was really inspiring to be there. And it was just nice to be there as a witness and to listen for them.
The CMA Awards are coming up, who are you pulling for?
Cam: You know, I don’t want to choose favorites because it’s small enough that I know everybody. But I will be there and usually I get caught like cell phone filming everything that’s going on. So I have a great time being in the audience. I’m still, like, kind of amazed that I’m invited, so I have a great time no matter what happens.
It’s all still pretty knew for you. When do you expect that to wear off?
Cam: I hope it doesn’t wear off. I hope I always find it exciting. I hope I always think it’s a gift to be a part of so fingers crossed, I don’t want to get jaded yet!
Cam's latest single "Diane" was released last month. She is going on tour through California later this month.