The adventure continues for Camille Bloom
For most people, it would be the signal to take a much easier path in life. Camille Bloom is not most people.
How else would you explain her first real taste of the music business while on break from her day job as a Seattle high school teacher?
“When I got out on the road and did my first show on a big tour that I had set up myself of the west coast, I earned six dollars and a sandwich,” she laughs. “I was so excited.”
That must have been some sandwich.
“It fed me for a couple days; when you’re on the road, you know how things are.”
Bloom didn’t have a contract with the venue, so even though she filled the room, she didn’t make out quite as well as the room did. But it didn’t matter for a teacher and basketball coach that was working upwards of 70 hours a week and barely making ends meet.
“Now you think that would get me down,” she said. “But I was so excited to be on this adventure, and one of the biggest goals in my life was to travel, and I never had the means to travel.”
The next night, she got a last second gig in LA, and the evening’s soundboard operator was also a booking agent who told her that she had something, and that’s all the encouragement she needed to keep going.
“It was joyful for me, it was an adventure,” Bloom said. “I had to tell the school district by January whether I was coming back or not, and I knew I wasn’t and I was pretty sure I’d never go back.”
She hasn’t. And 13 years after her first full-length album, she’s released her latest, Pieces of Me, and it may be her best yet, leading the Seattle Times to proclaim that she “may be the next great Seattle singer-songwriter.”
Next? She’s been here for years.
“I feel like this is the case with so many people, that they tour for ten years and they might get some regional press and then all of a sudden they have a hit song and everybody says, ‘Where did they come from,’ not realizing they put ten years into their craft,” she said. “So I have the excited part like finally we conquered this mountain of local recognition, and on the other part, it’s like, man, it’s really harsh that it takes so long.”
But she’s not complaining, especially with the positive reaction from folks that have already heard the album, which came out on September 9th. And while the songwriting and performances are up to the usual high standard, this isn’t the usual Camille Bloom record, and not just because there’s a dance mix on there. Yes, a dance mix.
“I’m gonna share the blame with my engineer, who writes electronic music,” she laughs. “We both got excited about it. I think it would be funny if that were the song that exploded of all the things that I’ve done.”
As for the real difference, Bloom explains, “Normally, I write the material, I perform the material for some time as I’m developing the song, and then I work with a producer and they help bring the songs to life, even though we’ve written most of the parts. This time, being that I wrote all the music purposely for the album and had not performed any of those songs live, I really had to workshop them and get them to the place where I was happy to put them on a record, and then producing my entire record was a completely new experience, even though I had been kind of co-producing my past projects. This one has an entirely new trepidation and excitement. I think it’s my best record, but I can’t blame anyone. (Laughs) This time, I made all those crucial decisions. It’s a little more frenetic, a little more diverse in sound because I didn’t try to fit into a genre. I don’t fit into a box, so I just went with it.”
And nailed it. Needless to say, Bloom has come a long way from working for six bucks and a sandwich, but she that doesn’t mean she completely left teaching behind. That will always be in the blood.
“I do songwriting workshops for teens, and go to international schools all over Europe, as well in the United States, teaching kids about songwriting and the business of music,” she said. “It’s a really neat way that I ended up using some of my skills as a teacher, but to continue going out and touring.”
For more information on Camille Bloom, click here