Cam recently celebrated her No. 1 hit “Burning House” with friends, media and the record industry. She and co-writer Tyler Johnson are good friends, and they shared the celebration because they also shared the struggles and dark times that came with it.
Just one year ago Cam says she was at a No. 1 party for an Eric Church song, thinking she was so far away from achieving her dream. Many forget that “Burning House” was not her debut single. “My Mistake” was released to radio in March 2015, but it was hardly noticed. The outwardly sunny singer admits success comes after a lot of doubt.
“There are some dark times where you don’t know if what you’re doing is any good, and you don’t know if you’re gonna make it,” she told Taste of Country prior to accepting the various plaques, medallions and honors that are normally bestowed upon a No. 1 songwriter. Paying bills and buying food were legitimate concerns when she was first writing with Johnson and Jeff Bhasker in California. Cam recalls sharing a mattress with her now manager. Johnson remembers wanting to quit. The former law school student didn’t think he’d made the right choice in quitting law school to chase music.
“There was a lot of time I would call Cam wanting to quit,” he says, thinking back to when their vision would receive far more negativity or indifference than positive feedback.
“I think there was a moment when the music started taking shape that I was able to show it to other people in the industry and the crickets and negativity got overwhelmed with a sense that this might happen.”
It was never, and arguable is still not, a sure thing. The strange part about the record industry is you can be toiling through anonymity one month and be a star the next. It takes a lot of faith to believe next month is your month again and again.
“Music isn’t like a corporate ladder that if you’re at it long enough you get to the manager position,” Cam says.
Cam and 'Burning House' recall the dark times