Any man can upload a one minute clip, strum a guitar in his bedroom and belt out tunes for the Internet, but Cameron Hawthorn is not just another up-and-coming musician. Blessed with flawless skin, great hair that can make Aaron Samuels jealous, a sharp Cupid’s bow and a body that can fit into a tight tee, the Nashville based singer/songwriter has something that other upcoming singers don’t have: a vintage-inspired vision that feels freshly authentic.
Peppering his feed with photos of Judy Garland, Norman Rockwell-esque drawings, Huji’d out selfies and old family photos, Hawthorn is an old soul thrown into a modern world. Raised in Kansas and formerly based in Los Angeles, the 31-year-old graduated as a double major in communication and theater at USC.
While we have yet to meet in person, I felt inspired to reach out to him when I heard “Oh Hot Damn” through my friend’s Instagram, where they teased a snippet of the song. This lovely Leo and I chat about what inspired him to write his red hot single, LGBTQ positivity in the music industry, why he loves throwbacks and the biggest mistake that guys make when they want to find a partner.
You’re known for having a vintage-inspired sound, but you make it
modern. As a musician, why are you inspired by vintage artists?
Cameron Hawthorn: I’m inspired by the legendary artists of yesteryears because their sound is timeless, no matter what genre. I hope to make music that stands the test of time as well. I also grew up on old musicals like Oklahoma!, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music, and the time period of those films and the artists that were popular during that era fascinate me.
These days, I feel that there’s more artistic flexibility to dip
into more than one genre (like how Lil Nas X mixes country with hip
hop). Since you tend to mix country and pop, why are you drawn to
CH: I grew up on country music, and I can remember listening to it on the back porch of my Mamma and Pappa’s house in Wagoner, Oklahoma. It’s in my blood. But I love the catchiness of pop music, so I can’t help but bring that into my songwriting. But what are genres nowadays? It’s all a blend I think. And that’s especially true of music over long timespans if you look back at history.
Compared to 2009, the music industry is more open towards the LGBT
community and there are more artists who disclose their sexual
orientation. As an openly gay male, when did you realize that you
wanted to disclose your status to your fans?
CH: It’s definitely been a journey coming to that realization with different pieces of inspiration building upon one another. I was very inspired by watching Gigi Gorgeous’ documentary and then Lady Gaga’s (although hers had nothing to do with her sexuality). I thought, if these artists were inspiring me as one of their fans, I could only imagine how I could inspire others by showing my true self. And that really is what I seek to do with my gifts as an artist. I let those films brew for a bit. I specifically remember seeing an article where Kacey Musgraves was quoted saying that she thought it was time for an LGBTQ country artist to step out. With where I was in my personal journey, I knew I was ready to put myself out there in that way. What really inspired me was seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. I didn’t really know much about Freddie Mercury’s life, but wow, I was beyond inspired after seeing that film. I wrote my coming out post right after seeing it.
With such a steady 2019, we’ve seen that you released some red hot
singles! Do you have any plans to release an album soon or drop
another bop sometime this fall?
CH: Thank you! I do have plans to release more music. I can’t say when the songs will be headed your way, but definitely stay tuned!
One of my favorite songs is “Oh Hot Damn!” as it’s so catchy and
the beats are fire. How did you come up with that song and what was
the most difficult part about writing it?
CH: Appreciate that! I had intended on going into my writing session with my producers [The Fund] to write a ballad that I had been working on. But the night before[,] I had a steamy rekindling with a guy that was so hot it literally left me waking up in the middle of the night saying “oh hot damn” over and over again. I grabbed my phone and sang the chorus melody into it. When I went into my session the next day, it was all I could think about so I told the guys and we knew we had to write it. The most difficult part was figuring out how we wanted to tie in all of the “hot” metaphors we had come up with.
Since the song talks about booze, what do you usually order at the bar?
CH: An old fashioned is my cocktail of choice. But I like to change it up, I’m not picky. Except anything that tastes like black licorice. Gross.
What’s the number one hangover tip you swear by?
CH: Ugh, I’m still trying to figure that out. Someone please help.
Nowadays, I feel that our dating culture is either super casual or
super serious. I feel like there’s no middle ground between a guy who
just wants a one night stand vs. a guy who really wants to have a
long-term partner. What do you think is the biggest mistake that guys
make when they want to find a partner?
CH: Well, I don’t know if I can speak for everyone, but I know that I have often made the mistake of thinking too serious from the get-go. If a person does something that I may not like or turns me off, I can be quick to judge. Or I’m constantly in my head thinking “could I spend the rest of my life with this person?” Like, why am I even thinking that? What I’ve been trying to do is chill out and just enjoy time with a person and getting to know them. Let it unfold organically. Maybe that’s the middle ground we’re missing.
I’ve also been beginning to notice that more and more people are
looking into astrology as a way to find a soulmate (myself included).
Do you believe that finding astrological compatibility helps to
fulfill one’s desire to find a boyfriend/girlfriend?
CH: I find astrology fascinating, but I don’t think I’d make big decisions about compatibility with it. If it happens to fall into what our signs say, then that’s cool though. I’ve been getting into the Enneagram a lot and think there’s a lot of truth there as well. I kind of take them all with a grain of salt.
Lastly, which musician (dead or alive) would you like to write a song for?