Pop/Rock/Folk recording artist Camden West is currently working on his third studio recorded body of work. He writes music that is inspired by his life, the life of others around him and world events. Based in Las Vegas and Nashville, West has built up a following sharing his vision of hope, peace and love through his music and lyrical imagery.
Can you give us a short bio & career up-to-date?
My parents exposed me to music from an early age and I fell in love with it. My mom’s hope was for me to eventually learn the guitar so that I could play folk songs around the campfire. I started to take lessons and then turned into becoming a huge part of who I am. Currently, I spend time in both Las Vegas and Nashville writing, recording and performing. If I’m not in Vegas or Nashville, I’m usually out on the road. I’ve released an album entitled “Outside The Lines” and an EP, “The Space Between”, along with a few singles. All my music can be found online on all streaming services and at www.CamdenWest.com.
First song you performed on stage?
As far as I remember, the first song I ever performed live in front of an audience was “Jumping Jack Flash” at my 5th grade talent show. I stood in front of everyone with my mop hair, yellow Washburn guitar cranked up to 10 and began to play and sing without a microphone, while staring at the floor. A performance I will always remember, but hope no one else does.
Favorite songs when you were with the band Gunshow?
Gunshow was my first band. My friends Jonny, Roy, Tom and I formed Gunshow back in middle school. We played everything from community events, dive bars to Bar Mitzvahs. My favorite song would have to be one of our first original tunes called “Island of Adventure”. It was a fun up-tempo rock song about big adventures and love. It’s always fun to pull that song out every once in a while when the band gets back together, we have fun with it.
From the artists who’ve influenced your music from the beginning, who would be your dream duet partner?
The Rolling Stones have always been my favorite, so if I had to choose a dream duet, it would be with Mick Jagger. I think we could come up with something pretty cool.
Some songs write themselves, others are a struggle to put down on paper. Which song was the easiest to write? Which wasn’t?
If I’m feeling something deeply, a song can usually come out pretty easily. If i’m in pain from a death, tradegy or. ending relationship, I can pump those songs right out, because they are so raw and real. One of the easiest songs to write was one called “Once Summer Ends”, which is on my album, Outside The Lines. It’s a song about knowing the expiration date of a good relationship. As for a hard song to write, I’d have to say that they are the large number of songs I haven’t finished yet. It’s usually caused by the fact that I cannot figure out where to go with them musically or lyrically, writers block is a real thing. I usually move on to other new songs, in hopes that I will find some inspiration to go back to the old ones.
Favorite Las Vegas venue to play?
There are so many great Vegas venues. My favorite is the Bunkhouse Saloon in downtown Las Vegas. It is a staple venue in the Vegas music community and playing at the venue is considered a right of passage. Everyone working their way up the local scene has played at The Bunkhouse! Even The Killers have played there!
Favorite Nashville venue?
Nashville is filled with an endless amount of venues. It’s hard to pick out a single one, because there are so many great ones. I love The Local, The Listening Room, Belcourt Taps and Alley Taps to name a few.
What do you anticipate it will be like to play the state fair in Wisconsin?
I’ve only heard great things about the fair. I’m anticipating a good crowd of happy, enthusiastic people and lots of great local Wisconsin cheese and beer.
What is the backstory to “Here I Am”?
“Here I Am” is a song about coming to terms with the fact that we all grow up and get older. We all go through physical and emotional growth. The truth is, we have to accept ourselves for who we are becoming, because you are all you have. We all go through struggles and hard times and do the things we need to do to cope and stay a float. Our difficult experiences and choices shape who we are. I always feel optimistic and hopeful that things will turn out, and look forward to the next thing to come.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been working on new music! Recording and writing takes up a lot of my time. I’m working on experimenting and trying new things in the studio along with working on a few side projects which I’m very excited for! I’m looking forward to putting some new and old stuff out into the world.
Best career advice to date?
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet B.B. King in Las Vegas. I walked into the green room and as I walked in he noticed me and said, “you look like a guitar player”. I told him that I was and then he told me to come closer and he said, “keep playing but stay in school”. I’ve always kept that in mind. I made sure I finished college and now I’m pursuing music. I’d like to think that if he was still around, he would be pleased that I took his advice to heart.
Saw you played at a fundraiser for a non-profit that expands after school programs for low income children. What other causes do you hold near and dear to your heart?
I love working with non-profit organizations and I try to do whatever I can to give back to my community. I think it is so important to bring awareness to their causes. I have worked with many non-profits, the more popular ones being the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Children’s Heart Foundation, St. Jude and the Animal Foundation. I have written a few songs that reflect issues of the human condition, such as mental health and the potential to heal. I think that music is a way to bring people together and bring attention to topics not easily spoken about. It makes me happy to see that people can find importance and can be affected by music, which is part of the reason I love songwriting.
What is Game of Tones Live?
Game of Tones is a small monthly concert series that I put together in Las Vegas. It is an evening. for musicians, an artist and a nonprofit to showcase their work. For each event, I invite four or five bands or solo artists to perform in a small, intimate setting. It is a completely unplugged show which means no amps or microphones. The audience is encouraged to participate by asking the performers questions or making comments about their music. It is a very real, intimate and powerful event. During each Game of Tones, we educate and collect donations for different non-profit organizations.
Saw you’ve enjoyed some time on the water this summer. Favorite boat to go out on?
Yes. I had the chance to go out on the lake a few times this summer. I’m wanting to learn more about boating. I like all types of boats and just like being out on the water. I’ve spent some time water skiing and wake boarding. I’ve also spent some time on a few different pontoons with some close friends of mine. It’s a good way to bond with people!
Axe throwing — what’s that experience like?
Axe throwing is awesome and a lot harder than it looks. It’s all about having the right technique and being conscious about distance and force. It takes some time to get the hang of it. I went axe throwing with a group of close Nashville friends to celebrate my birthday. It was definitely pretty special!
Road trip with Captain Frank — best part?
Frank Giovetti is the man, he’s another great musician from Nashville. I was on a small east coast tour with my friend, Dan Harrison and Frank happened to be in the process of picking up a RV from New Jersey so he ended up meeting up with us. Frank and I hit the road and we ended up playing a few shows together on the way back to Nashville. We had some great moments. We drove around for about an hour trying to find a place to park this 21 foot RV in the middle of New York City so that we could see the Statue of Liberty. We never found a parking spot that we could fit in, so we had to settle for quick look from the RV. We also made a stop in Gettysburg, which was fascinating to me…I’m a big fan of American History.
What do you wish you were asked in an interview?
I think that I’d like to be asked about my writing process and how I tend to use lyricism. I have songs that are pretty straight forward, but a lot of what I like to write are songs that have hidden meanings and might not make sense to everyone listening at first. I’d like to talk about how art is expressive and can be taken wherever it needs to be taken without boundaries that some believe should be there. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with breaking the rules when it comes to art. Rules are meant to be broken.