Having a Cannonball
Cash Campbell has arrived on the country scene like a cannonball. With his single of the same name, he’s quickly established himself, exemplifying the format’s present and future. Recently chosen for their Artist Discovery initiative, Campbell has been called by CMT a “true representation of current country for the next generation.”
With over 500,000 views across YouTube and Facebook, Campbell is clearly just getting started.
We had the chance to speak to the Dallas-based singer-songwriter between takes, connecting first about a mutual connection with Guster, whose influence can be heard in Campbell’s ethereal production. “To me they were going to be Coldplay. They were a huge influence on me when I was a kid.” A high school talent show became a pivotal turning point.
“Two of my buddies that were older than me, in front of our entire high school, played a Guster song. It was like tunnel vision. I remember sitting out in the crowd with 15 hundred other kids in our school and just was enamored. It was a song called “Demons” by Guster. That was it. It was like this turning point were all of a sudden football and basketball practice just meant a lot less. I just really wanted to get home. I pulled my dad’s old Takamine out of the closet and that was it. I would get home from sports or whatever and would hole myself up in my room for hours and hours, just write these terrible songs. They were so bad.”
Au contraire, one expects, for a young man who had signed a record deal at 19. Along with his dad’s Takamine, Campbell’s parents shared their musical talents. “My dad was in music. Music was just always part of our life and our house. My mom played piano. My dad sang and directed orchestras and choirs. My sister sang. My grandparents sang. So, naturally all I wanted to do was play basketball. I wanted to play point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. That was my big goal when I was little. To be the point guard for the Mavs.”
Fate had other ideas, affording the young talent experience playing around the globe. “I lived in Stockholm and I got to live in London. We got to play hundreds and hundreds of shows It was amazing. I grew up around country music, obviously being in Texas, but I didn’t understand a lot of the inner workings that went on with the songwriters. When I got a chance to dive in to country music, which I was thrilled about, I thought I was just going to write songs for other people. That was kind of my big dream, big goal. Oh my gosh, I have this publishing deal and I’m going to get to write for Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.”
Turns out though, Cash Campbell is the complete package– songwriter, and performer. “Cannonball” has captivated fans of everything from Imagine Dragons to Florida Georgia Line. The infectious single is the product of a collaboration with Chris LaCorte and Swedish composer Peer Astrom, whose masthead includes Glee’s soundtrack. With influences ranging from Guster, to Dave Matthews, to Johnny Cash, to Toby Keith, Campbell is well on his way to blazing a new trail for today’s country music.
Those influences are as inspiring to him now as in the days gigging in high school. “We were kids. We were getting a stack of cash and all we could think of was ‘We just played a show for an hour and they paid us 1500 dollars.’ We all had jobs and that just felt good…If your shows and your songs are good enough, people will tell their friends and they’ll come back to the show and back to the show. That was how Guster built it. That was how Dave built it. Honestly, back then I didn’t even care about the songs. It was about the live show. We wanted to put on these amazing shows. I was still really young. Now, I love crafting the songs. I’ve been in seven studios this week. Or six studios. I can’t even remember…. I left here at midnight. I love crafting the songs I just love releasing them out into the world. I also get so pumped to get to go play shows. It’s always that push pull. Obviously, they tell your story and the art that you’re looking to communicate, but I get equally excited with the live shows side.”
That art has come recently in the form of a 6 song EP, with legs. “What we did was, we took all six of those songs and I also created an acoustic version of all of those songs. So, we turned six songs into 12 songs. Then I did a remix, like a dance EDM remix with some buddies. We actually turned six songs into 18 songs. We are making videos for all of those songs. Rather than just put it all out in one fell swoop with one or two videos, I was like ‘Man, what if we roll this content out over the next year and a half or until we are ready to do the record?’ We had six songs. Now I feel like we have 40 or 50 songs. Of those 40 or 50 we probably … seven or eight of them. That’s how it always goes, right?”
Campbell is gracious and humble speaking about his rise career arc, including the break after touring as a signed artist. “I got a chance to come back onto the country side and I was–I don’t know how to describe it–except I never really tried to do what I’m doing now. I had never really tried to do what I’m doing now. The moment I started doing it in the studio, it just felt so comfortable. Like it was kinda a fictional moment where I was like, “Oh, I was doing the wrong thing for like 13 years. I had signed a publishing deal when I was very young, and I did not know … Like take Garth Brooks, I just assumed that Garth Brooks wrote all those songs…every song, he wrote some of them, of course but. With encouragement from a high school friend who worked at Warner Bros., Campbell began in 2016 the songwriting path that has led to “Cannonball.” “I think I thought we were going to find somebody that was 16 or 17 that had slightly more spry than I am. Although, I feel spry most mornings, my intention was not to be the original artist. We ended up keeping the song, which I’m so thrilled about. We put it out or I put it out … I say we because it’s such a great team and I was in bands for 12 years, so I just like being a part of the team.”
While it may not have been his intention, Cash Campbell is making a name for himself as a songwriter and performer not to be missed. Click here to hear “Cannonball” and more on your trusted Play MPE Player.