Happy Friday! We are beyond excited about this week’s FF. Not only is he devilishly handsome, he’s also an insanely talented artist who is breaking down stigmas and stereotypes in the country music industry to show people you can be whoever you want to be, regardless of what anybody else thinks. Read on below to learn more about Cameron, because we have a feeling you’re going to be seeing him a lot more in the future…
Where are you from? Andover, Kansas
Where do you live? Los Angeles but moving this summer to Nashville
Instagram & Twitter handle: @cmrnhwthrn
On the trip of a lifetime: I got to travel all over Australia for six months. I won a "job" through a travel competition and was flown all over Oz getting to experience everything that the country has to offer from dining to all sorts of adventures (skydiving, swimming with sea lions, hanging with kangaroos and koalas, the list goes on and on). It honestly feels like a dream that any of it happened but it was the most amazing six months of my life. I especially loved the Whitsunday Islands, Broome, and Sydney.
On coming out: I came out to my family and friends when I was 27. My family was and still is super accepting and loving. Believe it or not, it was actually some friends that I lost through the process. My faith has always been important to me, and I was a part of a close-knit friend group of Christians. A few of them must not have seen eye-to-eye because the friendships fizzled after I came out to them. It was tough to deal with at the time, but I learned who my true friends were and who loves me for me.
On the importance of family: One of my cousins came out years before me, so in a lot of ways I think he paved the way for my family’s current perspective. I’m really appreciative to him for that. And ever since coming out, my family has been nothing but loving and supportive (even though at first it may have been a bit of an adjustment for them - I don’t blame them - what took me a lifetime to process they were now having to process immediately). Like I mentioned, a few friends gave me some backlash, but it only strengthened me in the end. I’m actually thankful I had to go through that because now I’m able to really value the friendships I have where nothing changed between us after I came out.
On what he’s learned after coming out: Wow, so much. Before I came out, I was putting up so many walls in fear that people would think I was gay. I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to let those walls down and truly be myself. Even though “loving others the way they are” has always been a value for me, I’ve learned that I was still pretty judgmental before (being around a lot of religious strictness and rules can do that, I suppose). As a result of coming out and truly loving and not judging myself, I’ve been able to love others more fully and take on an actual nonjudgmental attitude and mindset toward others. Finally, communication is really big for me in all areas of my life, and I've learned that even more and become a better communicator through coming out.
On his advice to LGBTQ+ youth: I would say...first of all, I empathize with you because it's very difficult being vulnerable and letting family and friends in on a secret you've been hiding for so long. But the reward on the other side is incredible and it's very empowering getting to unashamedly be your authentic self. As tempting as it is to fear what others will think, don't fall victim to that fear. You will be loved by the people in your life that matter, and if those people are not in your life now, they 100% will be down the road. Stand up for what you believe in and who you are. Even if it's scary, it will only be scary for a moment. You can do it :)
On his new song “Dancing in the Living Room”: "Dancing in the Living Room" is a really special song to me. When I wrote it, I was in a long-term relationship with a wonderful guy and we would dance in the living room from time to time. I was thinking about it one day how that's such a special moment we get to share - just the two of us - within the four walls of our apartment. Getting to be our true selves without fear of being judged or worrying what others might think. It can be difficult to dance in public as a gay couple, but in our living room, we were safe. And I think for any couple - straight or gay - dancing in the living room with your significant other is a time you get to focus on the love you have for that person. At the end of the song, I sing "these moments mean the most to me" - and it really is true. The video was an opportunity to share more of myself, and it was a dream come true making it and then putting it out into the world.
On being an openly gay artist in the country music industry: So far it's been nothing but positivity and love that I've received, and I'm so thankful. I think it's important for people to see all sorts of representation in entertainment and media because the world is a very diverse place - why wouldn't entertainment and media be a reflection of that? It's true that country music is known for being a "certain way", but I think things are changing and I'm excited to be a part of that. Hopefully it will inspire people to be true to themselves, no mater what that may be, and to be loving and accepting of people who look and act different from them.
On being an independent artist: Being an independent artist is, without a doubt, a challenging road. I have so many dreams for my career and only so many that I can achieve on my own. And the inevitable self-doubt starts to creep in when you're hitting road blocks and obstacles. I'm ready to start building a team around my music and vision and finding the right people for that is vital and has been a challenge. But it's an exciting time with the release of "Dancing in the Living Room" and more music I have coming soon. I'm confident that my journey is unfolding the way it's supposed to, in the perfect timing, and that there are really big things in store for my career.
On the power of strong women I've always loved Oprah since the days when I would come home from school and my Mom would be watching her show. She's a mighty force, a wise woman, and a huge inspiration to me in what she stands for and all that she has achieved. I also have a huge respect for Taylor Swift. Not only do I appreciate (and fangirl over) her music, but the way she has navigated her career and grown it to its incredible heights is super inspiring. RuPaul and many of the drag queens on RuPaul's Drag Race have recently become people I look up to. My ex got me hooked on the show, and wow, talk about confidence, bravery, and being true to yourself - those gals are great examples of that.
On where he’ll be in 10 years: Making and singing the best music I've ever made with an unbelievable team around me, playing sold out stadiums and venues around the world, connecting with people around the world through my music. Being madly in love with someone and starting a family with him. Being the same ol' kid from Kansas that I am now but hopefully a little wiser with a few more wrinkles from laughing and smiling so much.
Thank you SO much, Cameron! And y’all be sure to stay tuned for more music and show dates coming soon! Also, check out his video for Dancing in the Living Room below!