Since rising to prominence via her involvement with Norman Cook’s Freak Power project, Kate Cameron has made a name for herself as a guest vocalist on a vast array of English House and Trance releases, including tracks from Chakra, Quadrophonic and Force Majeure.
She is currently head of vocals at Brighton Institute of Modern Music (@BIMMBrighton), giving tutorship to students in voice, piano and even French horn!
Music Gateway sat down with Cameron to discuss how she shaped her success as a vocalist as well as current developments and her own insights into today’s music industry. She also gave us her thoughts on why Music Gateway might just be the next big thing for talented industry hopefuls.
· When and how did you get into the music industry?
My brother and I got a deal with a medium sized label doing African-based pop. The record company hired me out as a session singer, that was my first taste of what would become my core business.
· How did you get your first opportunity to work or collaborate with Norman Cook & Freak Power?
I was recommended to them by one of their regular session singers, Angie Brown who I worked with in an amazingly good Functions band – actually everyone in it has been successful in the industry, but Angie had it all going on at that point with a top 5 single in the UK main charts and No 1 in the US Dance chart – that’s big stuff people – and couldn’t make the Freak Power session.
· How did you meet him? Was it luck, random, through a label, record shop or another contact?
Norman interviewed me first and what he was interested in was what sort of person I was, not what sort of singer I was!
· Has your opinion of the music industry changed since you first started out and how?
I’m more used to it so I take a lot of stuff for granted that used to wind me up a lot.
· In recent years social media has become a popular form of communication and networking, do you use social media and any advice?
Having your own ‘front of shop’ is brilliant – if you use it wisely. I don’t put personal stuff out on the web, it’s amazing how it’ll get picked up and reproduced. You need to edit everything carefully and put the right spin on your talent and career, but again you’d better be able to walk the walk because reputation is the way you move in life.
· Do you feel there was and is a lack of work opportunities for people either new or established within the industry?
People who were having a great time in the 80s and 90s bemoan the industry these days; it was really lavish back then and now you have to work a lot harder for a smaller slice. But that’s partly because there ARE so many opportunities, and the market is huge comparatively because of the globalization the net has caused. And the ability to sell yourself to the global market is right there in your house! Because everyone has pretty much equal access I’d say there’s about the same chance of making it big, more chance of making a living, and much more independence in the pathway you decide to take.
· Do you work internationally or remotely with any other professionals round the world and if so, how did you get connected?
Yes I do. Your work is often what speaks for you; media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook make you contactable, and hey presto a producer will message you and you’re in touch, and start working on a project together.
· Having been explained Music gateway and its core functionality, how would you have benefited from such a system, when trying to develop your career?
It seems to me that Music Gateway is going to help connect talented industry hopefuls and give them a platform that will produce opportunities to collaborate that they wouldn’t otherwise have found. I think it would probably have led to a great deal more work than I had especially at the point where I was getting quite visible – it would have sustained that and certainly enhanced my career options.
· Do you agree that to get anywhere in the music industry, you have to get off your backside and market yourself and your music?
I think you’ll be disappointed if you wait for other people to do it for you – even if they do, it won’t be what you want or how you’d want it to be done so yes, being pro-active is much the best way to go.
· In your opinion, what are the issues facing people & artists from getting signed to a label, management or publisher? Drawing as well from your own experiences.
It’s a straight issue of giving up control over many aspects of your work – and for the inexperienced that can be a good thing, as you can end up with a bad rep if you don’t know how to play the game, but the best thing is to be in amongst industry professionals and work out what the norms and standards are (how to play the game) so that you can do it yourself. But in the past, you could only usually get amongst it by giving up that control to a manager or a label.
· What advice can you give to individuals wishing to either further their career in the industry or start their career in the industry
Watch and listen before you think you know enough to demand anything.
Be the nicest you that you can be – this is your business persona and it needs developing until it’s natural.
Have at least two and possibly several projects going so it’s not the end of the world when something doesn’t work out.
If you’re a session singer, read my book!
Don’t forget to enjoy the music!
Kate is currently writing her book for session singers, which you can look out for in early 2013.
In the meantime find her on Music Gateway in 2013 or check out her full bio on BIMMs website, where you could even sign up to be one of Kate’s students and learn from one of the industry’s most hard working session singers.