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Kamille Shines On Debut Album, K1

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It’s no coincidence that “Kamille” and “talented” are words often used in the same sentence. 

After achieving a number-one single in 2013 with her first-ever writing cut (The Saturdays – “What About Us”), it was clear that writing and producing hits was Kamille’s calling. Since her musical breakthrough, Kamille, born Camille Angelina Purcell, has been the go-to songwriter for our favorite songs from the past decade. Take a dive and you’ll see that she’s responsible for Dua Lipa’s “Cool,” Mabel’s “Don’t Call Me Up,” Fleur East’s “Sax,” Kylie Minogue’s “Tension,” Jess Glynne’s “I’ll Be There,” Clean Bandit’s “Solo” with Demi Lovato, and a huge chunk of Little Mix’s back catalog where she’s been working closely with the group since their second studio album, Salute. She’s won a Grammy, a BRIT, an A&R Songwriter Of The Year award, and earned herself a Mercury Prize nomination.

Even though it’s been a decade full of highs, the only thing that has been awaiting Kamille all this time is releasing a debut album. Six years following her first EP, My Head’s a Mess, released through Virgin EMI, Kamille is ready to shine as an independent artist and prove that her range once again is limitless.

 

Today, September 8, she arrives with K1, an impressive 8-track project that puts a modern R&B twist onto the retro Motown/funk sonics Kamille listened to growing up. Serving as the producer for the whole thing, she recruited some familiar names to help give the mini album that extra bit of spice. Shining a light on rising British talent, Tamera and Bellah feature on the playful girl power anthem “Options” while legend Nile Rodgers gets groovy on the radio hit “Muscle Memory.” Creating K1 while pregnant with her first child, Kamille embraces motherhood on the wholesome “The Sun,” her soulful roots on “All My Love” before closing on the experimental “Manifesting – Pt. 1,” a song where she exhibits such confidence and pride in her ability to keep growing.

With so much buzz and excitement surrounding K1, EUPHORIA. caught up with Kamille to learn more about her creative process, the difference between writing songs for herself, and life as an independent artist. 

How are you feeling about putting out your first album into the world after keeping it so close to your heart for some time?

I’m just ready. Do you know what? I was nervous before I put out “Muscle Memory,” my first single from the album, because I was like, ‘What are people gonna think?’ I hadn’t put out music in a while, but after seeing the reaction from everyone and seeing the incredible support from radio, I have two songs playlisted on Radio 1 and Radio 2, I’m just like, ‘Yeah, this is going really well’, so let me just be confident. So no, I’m so excited now. I couldn’t be happier.

This is your first project release in six years. Obviously, you’ve been doing a lot in between that time, releasing your own singles and writing hits for others. Is there a particular reason why there has been a long gap?

Sadly, it was more the whole record label story that you hear so much of. You know, you kind of can’t put out an album until you’ve had loads of success at record labels. That’s kind of how it works. And I was kind of stuck in a deal that wasn’t really serving me as well as I would’ve liked. I wasn’t really getting much out of it and I decided to leave that deal. I think that just took a lot of time to do all of that and become independent. I mean, I’m actually glad it happened that way ’cause it meant I really did have the time to find myself and I finally got to a point now independently where I’m just like, ‘Listen, I know, I know who I am, I know what I’m doing.’ I’ve written and produced a whole record on my own and I’m just in that zone now. So, everything happens for a reason. But I’m here now. Finally.

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I guess as an independent artist you have that creative freedom to do whatever you want and not have to send it to someone at the label and try to get their approval.

Exactly. And the most important thing for me is the speed. I like to move really quickly ’cause I feel like people are kind of over songs the minute they’re out these days. You can’t really have songs working around too long and sometimes that can be a really slower process when you’re on a major record label. Every month I’ve dropped a new song and that’s worked so well for me. So, I am just gonna keep going.

The project pays homage to your childhood, delving into the Motown/funk sound that you grew up listening to. Being that you were pregnant while making the record, do you think that led you to get nostalgic and reflect on your early years? Or is this the sound you were always leaning to?

No, I think you’re right. I think it did because I was at home having morning sickness and I was really stuck on what to make. Because that’s music I know so well, I just started coming up with ideas. It was more of a thing of ease for me mentally to have to not kind of really think about what songs I wanted to start with and what beats I wanted to make. I know ‘80s music outta the back of my hand. That’s what I grew up on. I just started there to see what would happen. And I was obsessed with Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav Bounce album and I was like, ‘Okay, let me just see if I can go into this area of music’ and it works so well. It just so happened that the first song I made was “Muscle Memory.” My manager was like, ‘What the hell is this? This is incredible.’ I was like, OK!

You were onto something!

Yeah! And then they sent it to Nile Rodgers and he wanted to be on it and the next thing I knew I was making K1. That’s literally what happened. So it was just an exciting kind of off-the-cuff moment, but it worked out really well.

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You’ve worked with so many huge household names on their music but to have Nile Rodgers feature on your own song is something else! How was that experience?

Oh, it was incredible. I remember I turned up at Abbey Road Studios to work with him and I’ve obviously worked with him before on other stuff, so we know each other really well. But actually being in the studio with him where I was the producer! I had my laptop out, I was producing and Nile Rodgers was there literally playing guitar at me. I just posted a TikTok of it, actually. I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh my god, what is going on?’ He’s absolutely incredible. One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He’s so encouraging. He actually said to me, ‘I wanted to do this because you’ve made this music yourself and I’m really proud of you.’ And that was just beautiful. And you know, the stories he told us went on for days, it was just unreal. To have him on this song meant so much to me. It was such an amazing co-sign, and such incredible encouragement from someone that iconic. it just made me feel like I could really do this. 

Was there any advice that he gave you or something in particular you took away from those studio sessions with him?

I think the main part of the advice he gave was just to keep doing you. He said that sometimes there can be a lot of noise that you hear from everyone else when you’re online and it can sometimes throw you off your game. And I remember him saying to me just to focus on what you are doing, like block out all the noise and just focus on your own music. And that’s really helped me. I’ve been doing that a lot through this project trying to not get swayed off my direction and off my own journey. So that was really good advice.

You’ve been a part of the music scene for over 10 years but are only just putting out a debut album. Even though you have a lot of experience under your belt, do you still feel like you’re only getting started?

Yeah, I do. That’s exactly how I feel. Even putting out three consistent songs, I haven’t done that before. I still can’t believe I’m here saying that, but I haven’t had that time. I definitely feel like I’m right at the beginning. I’ve got so much to prove. This is the first chapter of music but I’ve got so much music to put out, it’s unreal. I’m just getting started and I love that for me because it’s kind of like a new slate, a new era. I love it. I’m right at the beginning and I can’t wait to show more of what I’m doing.

Is the process of writing a song different when it’s for your own music as opposed to another artist?

I think it’s similar in the way that I write music because I’m always straight on a mic singing some melodies and I’m putting down chords on a piano or on a simp or something. I think the hardest bit sometimes with my stuff is I can tend to question, ‘Are people gonna like this?’ ‘Is this right?’ ‘Is this good?’ Whereas with artists I work with, I’m usually huge fans of them. I can tell them straight away, ‘No, you need to do this.’ Do you know what I mean? It’s sick. Because I don’t have a direct fan in the room with me telling me, ‘No, Cam do this, do that.’ My management have been incredible. They’re the best-sounding board for me to just check stuff. And also my Kam Gang, my incredible fan group, they’re the best. Sometimes I send them snippets of songs or I’ll go on a TikTok live and play ’em something and they’ll be like, ‘This is amazing.’ So, that’s kind of how I get around it. But yeah, I can definitely overthink my own music much more.

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Was there a particular song on the album that was most challenging to write?

Actually, no. I mean, typically, my songs tend to be written quite quickly. I think what happened was actually there was a moment with the album where I felt like it wasn’t finished. I’d done about maybe 7, 8, 9 songs on the album and then I was cutting them down, adding them on, cutting them down. And there was one song I started making literally about a month ago called “Time to Kill.” I was like, ‘I wanna add this on.’ I think it’s been more a thing of last-minute decisions. I tend to do a lot. But no, nothing was really difficult. It was just so much fun. I can’t even lie, this has been the most fun I’ve ever had making music.

“Manifesting – Pt. 1” closes the project. Does that mean you’re already working on part 2?

Yeah, it does. “Manifesting – Pt. 2” has an incredible, incredible feature on it, which I won’t say just yet who it is, but I mean the fact they’re on it has blown me away. So, look out for that, it’s coming very soon. But “Manifesting – Pt. 2” is definitely where I started the song and it’s kind of my story. And then I think when I played it to this particular person they were like, ‘Nah, I need to jump on this.’ So, I’m really excited about that as well.

Part 1 sonically sounds like the most experimental song on K1. Is Part 2 going to be a continuation of that sound?

It’s definitely a continuation. And it is experimental, you’re right. And I was even thinking, ‘Does this fit on the album?’ And I was like, ‘Actually no, it does.’ I love that you said that ’cause I wanted to be experimental and I wanted to push it a bit as well. So yeah, Part 2 is definitely a continuation of the same I’d say.

You’ve won some major awards and earned yourself some major plaques. Where are you keeping them all?

Do you know what? I was literally talking about this to my team this other day because my plaques I feel are all over the place. There are so many that I haven’t received yet. Because what happens with plaques is, if you haven’t got one yet, you kind of have to ask the record label to go and pay for one yourself. I just haven’t got around to getting half the plaques that I’m probably due at this point. But there’s some in my studio, there’s some downstairs in my studio at home, there’s some in my management’s office. I need to go and actually get them all together in one place.

And lastly, when fans get to hear the project from front to back, what are you hoping they take away from it?

I want them to imagine me sitting at the computer stressing and learning how to make music and I want them just to imagine me doing it on my own because there is literally nothing else but me on this music. And it took a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of me learning how to produce as I went along. It was a very kind of DIY album. I really want that to come across as just the perseverance that I had and the love for music because I think you can hear that in every song.