Photo Credit: Rambo Elliott
It’s hard not to be moved in some sort of direction based on the world around us, especially in recent years. With tensions high and oftentimes the morals of some very low, musicians around the country (and world) have done what they do best and put their emotions to song, and CAMÍNA is one of them. Latin influences are laced throughout her October 2nd debut, ‘Te Quiero Mucho,’ which was inspired by those seeking asylum at the US border, and the harsh realities faced once there. We talked about how everything since then has moved her to write even more, if America’s delusions will ever cease to exist, and more – including where and who was there at her start.
Kendra: Finding your voice in the church is a commonality many musicians share, but very few have been mentored by Kevin Jonas Sr. What were some initial lessons he gave you that have helped all these years later?
CAMÍNA: Some initial lessons and opportunities were up close and personal views at the recording process and learning the many layers and processes of making a record. I had never seen a real studio working environment and met an engineer or been exposed to digital practices on recording analog and digital sounds. I was able to see the making of a record from concept to production to the final product.
I learned about the distribution process and learned about how to direct a band in a live performance setting and perform alongside Kevin Jonas Sr. He is an incredible vocalist and musician and songwriter. I know without a doubt I would not be making music today if it was not for his influence in my life.
Kendra: How do you feel having that operatic background aids in not only your overall vocal delivery but your stage performances?
CAMÍNA: Studying opera or musical theater lends itself to getting over your fear of performing in front of people. The level on which you prepare to execute with precision takes time, dedication, and discipline. By training in this manner, I was able to set a structure for myself to work in so I wouldn’t have to ever second guess myself in the confidence of my voice while performing live. You reach a certain point when you have worked on crafting your voice that it becomes second nature to you and you don’t have to focus as much on the technical. It gives you the freedom to be spontaneous and I find that where that magic happens!
Kendra: I’m sure you cannot wait for live music to come back so you can get on stage and perform songs from your debut, “Te Quiero Mucho.’ An album originally inspired by what asylum seekers faced at the US border, but since then so much has gone on in the world. Did any of the events of 2020 fuel the fire that is this debut or were you done writing and recording before this year kicked off?
CAMÍNA: I was done with this record in January of this year. All that has unfolded since then has been incredible to see and I have been deeply inspired by the unification of people collectively working together to support the cause for justice. It certainly has inspired me to write more. I am working on a second EP now.
Kendra: “Cinnamon” has this beautiful yet melancholy line, “we will rise above but the damage is done.” It could very well be the line that defines this generation. That being said, do you believe we will see America become the great nation some delusionally believe it already is in our lifetime?
CAMÍNA: That’s a great question, I feel it remains to be seen and real change takes time. I certainly agree there are people living in false, delusional, realities and we are coming to a reckoning, by having access to information and seeing the world operate on a 24-hour news cycle I believe it is our responsibility to use our energy to support and create positive change we want to see in the world.
Kendra: You shot the video for “Cinnamon” with Daniel N. Johnson, a director who’s done videos for Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter. What was it like to be on the opposite side of his camera?
CAMÍNA: I have known Dan for over 20 years and he has dedicated his life to using his talents for social justice, which I deeply admire. It was effortless and so much fun to create and work together on something so deeply personal to me. He immediately understood me in a way someone who has known you for so long can. It made the process seamless and fun. I was thrilled we both had the time.
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
CAMÍNA: Things are changing rapidly every day and musicians are now faced with a new reality of what it means to make music and perform. I am hopeful to see new modes of invention and ways to perform. For me, COVID has given more time to be at home and focus dedicate a lot more time to make new music. I feel grateful I can use this utter mess to inspire myself and not go insane.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
CAMÍNA: I have some live stream shows coming up and some social distance live performances planned for the release of the EP. I’m also going back into the studio to record some more songs that have been written this year in response to everything happening in the world.
A song that has been on repeat for me is Nina Simone’s “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life.” She inspires me to end and gives me hope as an artist and individual.
“Hey, what have I got?
Why am I alive, anyway?
Yeah, what have I got
Nobody can take away?
Got my hair, got my head
Got my brains, got my ears
Got my eyes, got my nose
Got my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, got my chin
Got my neck, got my boobies
Got my heart, got my soul
Got my back, I got my sex”