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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

Kamille opens up about self-produced debut album K1


If you think you haven’t heard Kamille we’re here to tell you two things. One, without realising it you definitely have, and two, you’re about to hear her like never before. Not too long ago, singer-songwriter Kamille was leading a double life working as a stockbroker in the day and a songwriter to huge stars, staying late at the studio, by night. Kamille is responsible for writing and co-writing the lyrics of an unthinkable number of huge hits, What About Us (The Saturdays), Shout Out To My Ex (Little Mix) and Don’t Call Me Up (Mabel) to name a few – literally. Alongside this, Kamille has collected a series of accolades which serve as a testament to her songwriting gift, including an array of #1 singles, a nomination for the Mercury Prize as well as collecting a grammy – again, to name a few.

Vingt Sept had the pleasure of sitting down with this powerhouse to find out how she does it all. Whilst she may have ditched working in the city, Kamille is as busy as ever with her self produced mini album, K1, dropping September 9 featuring a series of dreamy collabs including R&B songstresses Tamera and Bellah, Kojey Radical and Nile Rogers. Collaboration is a huge part of Kamille’s process as she tells Vingt Sept about working with Fred again.., creating the perfect studio vibes and heading to Abbey Road to record with Nile Rogers.

We’re excited to see Kamille continue to dominate the charts as a self-produced artist continuing to harness her unmatched flare for songwriting. Join us as we discuss everything from how to make your dream a reality, working with world-class musicians and how Kamille has planted her feet firmly as one of the most ambitious women in the industry right now and a serious one to watch.

Your career U-turn is super fascinating to people – this narrative of “stock broker turned Brit award winner” – which is really cool and feels like a testament to how many people are out there doing their day jobs with these burning passions of things that they’re waiting to fulfil. So I wondered if you had any advice for anybody who is in that position that you were in?

Definitely! It’s so funny I just filmed a TikTok about this because someone asked me “Oh my gosh, how did you transition from finance to music?” And it was really difficult! I mean, there’s always gonna be that difficult transition where you’re trying to do two things, or you’re unsure or you’re scared about stepping into the thing that you want to do. But I definitely believe that if you’re passionate about something, it will always win. I think when you’re in a job that you’re passionate about, you just tend to do better at it because you enjoy it. And not everyone has that luxury. It’s not every day or not all people can do that. But I think if you’re able to sacrifice that horrible transition bit where maybe you’re doing one job and you’re still doing something else at the same time, or you’re studying something, for example, whilst you’re working – there’s always a horrible little bit where you have to do both and I had to do that. So I was working in finance, and then I was kind of hanging around at the studio. I’d go there every night after work. I remember one time I even got mugged when I was leaving, and I went back the next day and that’s how passionate I was. I just didn’t care. I was like “No, I want to do music” and I wrote so many songs there when I started off, and one of them became What About Us for The Saturdays which went to No. 1.

That’s incredible that you did that in the transition when you were doing both!

Yeah, I was kind of doing both and I knew I wanted to do music and it was only when that song started to do well, I spoke to my parents I was like “Look I want to do this full time” and they kind of gave me the opportunity to do that, they were like “Yeah, go for it!”.

That’s amazing – I think that also shows how people might think their most amazing work is going to be further in the future when you’re already successful, but it can also be in that bit when you’re really grinding and you’re in that transition period as well.

Oh my god, definitely! I think sometimes that’s when some of the best ideas can come is when you’re that hungry for it. I think the minute the hunger goes, sometimes your ideas might not be as fruitful because you’re not– it's a passion thing for me and [it's] in the hunger and I’ve always wanted to make sure I always have that no matter how much success might come. I’m still here grinding, like every day I will be in the studio and, I mean, that’s just the way I’ve always done it. So yeah, I’ve always encouraged people to just go after their dreams, but definitely make sure that you’re not just walking out of a job. Make sure you’re financially stable and you’re secure and all that kind of stuff, because you don’t want to be in a position where you’re really out on the floor. You want to make sure you’re in a safe environment to then pursue the things you want to do so yeah, that’s important.

It sounds like you’re still multitasking?

Oh my god, always! I’m always multitasking! That’s just in my life but, I don’t know, it works for me, it doesn’t work for everyone.

So was there a specific moment – would you say that was The Saturdays – that specific moment where you thought “Let’s do this” or was it a series of things?

I think it was kind of that actually, because it was the first time I understood how, you know, the process of writing a song can actually have success. I’d never experienced that before. It’s my first big deal song I had and, I remember, after that I found management, I got a publishing deal and that’s when it became a lot more serious for me. So yeah, for a lot of reasons that song was very, very special and important to me. It showed me that I could do it but also kind of illustrated to the industry that I was someone who could write songs. It was a very pivotal moment for me writing that song, for sure.

On that note of The Saturdays, you’ve worked with such a range of artists. Do you have a favourite person that you love writing for?

No! Do you know what I don’t think I can have a favourite because I just love working with everyone. I definitely will say there’s some people who are like family to me like Fred again.., for example, who was just at my house yesterday and, I mean, he’s like my bro so we were just in my studio with my baby writing stuff for his new album. It’s kind of like you’re working with your brother – you can be as silly and stupid as you want. I definitely think I’m in a really happy place when I’m around people I’m really comfortable with. But I love writing with everyone, I could write with a complete stranger and have fun. I just love this job! As long as I’m vibing, there’s a mic in the room, there’s some deliveroo!

So, is there anyone that you’d love to write for or with one day?

I always say that Beyonce is still that goal that I’ve not yet achieved. I’ve obviously been close each time and I think, again, that comes down to the hunger I have. I actually kind of like sometimes when I don’t get something because I then want it even more and I just keep working for it. So she’s definitely, for me, the dream person I would love to write for, so yeah fingers crossed!

I definitely see that for you with your sound! In terms of your favourite collab, is that also too hard to pick?

Yeah, because I feel like with collabs for me I definitely see them in a much more interesting way. I think I’m excited by anyone that just has incredible artistry because I think what's exciting me the most right now with my music is finding collabs that don’t necessarily make sense to everyone immediately but that I really respect their artistry. I like to bring a surprise element to my music so, I think, for me it’s not so much about the people I’m even thinking about, it’s more more people that have touched me with their music or I hear an amazing melody from someone like “Who’s that?”. That’s kind of what’s most exciting for me at the moment with collabs.

So you’ve got your mini album, K1, coming out, which is so exciting! Could you tell us a bit more about the new record and why you’re so excited to be releasing it so soon now?

I feel like this is gonna be the first time people are hearing a proper body of music from me in a long time. I think I’m finally in a space now where I’ve been able to do it. I’m independent, I’ve self produced the whole album. So it’s been an amazing moment for me as a woman, as a producer, as a songwriter, as an artist to be able to have this project, put it out and have people receive it. I’m just really excited! I mean the songs I’ve put out so far are doing so well, we’re getting such an amazing response! Especially from radio, I mean, Options got track of the week on Radio One which is really exciting! So yeah, I’m just excited about dropping more music now. I think it’s given me a lot of confidence in that response from radio for sure.

Is it a surreal feeling or have you been doing music for long enough that you’re used to how it all works?

No, I mean it’s always gonna be crazy for me as an artist because you've got to remember that I'm always just used to seeing everyone else’s success around me when it comes to their music. And I've been a part of it but it's not my songs so I'm kind of standing in the shadows a little bit watching them have this success and now I'm finally having that moment for myself and people are appreciating my music. I just feel so seen, like it's just a beautiful thing for me to get to experience in my lifetime, what I've helped others have so yeah, I'm so excited.

I mean, that must be such a crazy feeling to be working on a song and then giving it away and watching it become successful, versus having that for yourself and keeping those darlings in a way.

Definitely, definitely. I love all of it. I just love making music but there's nothing like people hitting me up like “Oh my gosh, Kamille, I just heard Options on the radio” and it's your song. It's just a beautiful feeling.

And I know you self-produced it as well, was this your first time producing as well as writing?

No, I've been producing for a while actually. I executively produced Little Mix’s last album together. So I mean, I've been doing bits for a while. I've always been producing in sessions, always. And that's something that I've always wanted to do. I've always been on the piano. I’ve always been making beats but, I think, this is probably the first time I've done a whole album. Pretty exciting. Yeah.

I think it's important for people to know that as well. It’s all you, it’s your sound, your voice, as well as you producing and writing everything.

Definitely. And I think as a woman, I'm just here to push that whole narrative that you can literally do whatever you want. I mean, I started this album when I was pregnant for crying out loud. I was here every day during my pregnancy making this album because I had to, I couldn't leave the house because I was so sick. I just wanted to make music and kind of free myself of that feeling that I had in my stomach which was always wanting to throw up and stuff. So I mean, yeah, I just want to encourage women. All I'm here to do is encourage women because there are just so few of us actually producing music. It's really, really crazy how few women there are behind the scenes making music and I still can't believe how low it is. So yeah, I love that people can now go on Spotify for example looking at credits and just see under producer like it's just my name like literally for me it's such a flex.

It also feels like such a girl’s album, feel good and summery, it’s gorgeous!

Thank you so much, that’s exactly what I was going for. I just wanted to make feel good vibes. I mean, I think this album has been an expression of happiness for me for so many reasons like being pregnant, having my baby, making music that's mine and just being in a place in my life where I'm actually really happy and content, so I'm really glad you said that because that's what I was trying to get across, for sure.

I think The Sun did that for me the most.

Thank you so much! That song means so much to me, I literally wrote about him when he was in my belly, that’s what it’s all about.

That’s so beautiful, I love that! Do you have any stand out moments from producing the album, like favourite songs or a day in the studio? Is there anything that was really important from that journey?

Oh my god, it definitely has to be being in a studio with Nile Rogers, like, I remember coming into the Abbey Road to work with Nile Rogers and I was like, “This isn't real, this isn't happening! He actually wants to be on my song, Nile Rogers wants to feature on my song. That doesn't even make sense to me!” And getting in there with him and he was so encouraging. He just did Cuff It for Beyonce, do you know what I mean?! He was like “You can do this. You've got this, I believe in you.” I was like, what! It was just ridiculous. And I was the producer in the room. I'm so used to sitting next to a producer with a laptop doing all the production stuff and that person was me and I was like recording him. So it was just… I’ll never get over that moment. My parents will never live that down. They even got to meet him actually, when I was at the Ivor Novellos accepting my award he came over to our table and he was like taking pictures with my parents. I definitely won a lot of points with that one but yeah…

Yeah, how are you going to top that?

I know! I mean everyone on the album from Kojey Radical to Bellah and Tamera – obviously incredible R&B girls – and Kojey is obviously an incredible talent. He was just as incredible working in the studio as well. So it's been an absolute pleasure.

How did the collaboration with Kojey come about?

I mean, I tend to just hit up people in DMs these days. I feel like I've got someone's number… I might know them but I might not have their number, which was the case with Kojey. We always see each other out and I just thought “Oh my god, I don't have his number!” So I just hit him up and I sent him a snippet of the song and I was like “Do you like this? Do you wanna be on it?” and he was like, “This is sick.” So yeah, then we were at Abbey Road, maybe a week later, I think. And he came in and he literally – I thought he was gonna be in the studio like, writing his verses or whatever – he literally went straight into the booth and ad libbed the whole verse! I was staring at him like, oh my god… I knew he was talented, but when you see that in front of you it's astounding. He’s an astounding artist. So yeah, that was amazing, for me.

That’s amazing, it sounds like you both really live and breathe music. Do you have a favourite song from K1 that you’re really excited for people to hear?

I feel like it changes every day. It was All My Love for a while just because I'm just obsessed with chord changes and like, key changes and chords. The way that song changes key in the middle of the chorus just literally makes me so excited every time I hear it! But I mean, I love all the songs, I love all the songs! Right now, I think I’m vibing to The Sun a lot. And I think it's been good that I've stopped listening to the album for a while so I wanted to have fresh ears before the release. And I've just started listening to it again and I'm like, wow, I really love this album. I really love it, I’m so proud of it.

K1 is out now

Interview Gwyneth Green

Editor Jheanelle Feanny


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