Camille Trail is this week’s Countrytown & KIX Country Centre Stage Artist. We caught up with her and discussed new music, songwriting, and more.
August 2023 – i.e. the time this is being written – marks two years since Queensland country-folk singer-songwriter Camille Trail released her debut studio album River of Sins.
Two years, in the grand scheme, doesn't feel like a long time at all – you wouldn't call a two-year-old toddler “old”, after all – but within the framework of the 2020s, where we've seemingly lost all concept of linear time, it may as well have been a lifetime ago. It certainly feels so for Trail herself, who confesses that she creatively found herself all at sea after putting everything into making her debut album.
“I definitely struggled with writing, and it was kind of scary when I was first confronting it,” she says. “You're just left sitting there, thinking to yourself, '...well, what now?' It was definitely comforting when I talked to other artists about it, and they all assured me that they felt the same thing. A lot of life has happened since I last put out music – I moved to Brisbane with my partner, then we split up, and then I fled the country. I was changing a lot, and growing up as well, so the music and the writing had to change with it.”
Trail's first step back to her life of singing and songwriting has begin with Gotta Get To Know You, a tender and heartfelt folksy ode to starting over and the healing process therein. The “you” in the song's title is Trail herself, as she looks to a life beyond what she'd envisioned when she moved to the city. “I've kind of just accepted that it's OK to have no idea what you're actually doing,” she says with a knowing laugh. “That's what this song is talking about – how it's OK to take the time for yourself and to start over from scratch.
“I've always wanted my music to be really honest, and this song felt like a good first step. It was written about a month after I broke up with my partner – I was in Canada and bought a guitar for $200 from a pawn shop. I wrote the first half of the song, and I had the chorus then and there, but I could only finish it once I'd had the chance to really go and live my life a little – without worrying about music for a little while. I really wanted it to reflect where I am now, and I think the way I went about writing it was the best approach possible.”
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Trail worked on the track with Canadian musician Garrett Kato, originally from British Colombia but now based in Byron Bay. “I've always been a big fan of what he does, and I always knew that I wanted to work with him,” says Trail.
“I don't think any of my music up to that point had really been the right fit for him, though. Another big part of this starting-over process has been wanting it all to feel fresh and new – and I don't know why that direction made me think to reach out to Garrett again, but I'm so glad that I did, and I'm even more glad that he said yes. The way it's worked out with the song, it seems like it was all meant to be.”
The pair didn't just stop at Gotta Get To Know You, either. A whole batch of new songs have followed in its wake, with hopes it will eventually lead to Trail's second studio album.
When queried on where the new material has taken her, Trail explains that it's all part of the bigger picture when it comes to rediscovering what she wants out of life as she moves through her 20s in the '20s. “There's lots of variations on a theme, I've found,” she says.
“Not only will there be lots of songs about the big questions that come up – where am I, what am I doing, what do I do next – there's also going to be a lot of songs about the clarity moments that come in answering them. It's a real mixed bag because life itself is a real mixed bag when you think about it. One day you'll feel great; the next, you'll just feel sad for no real reason. There's a flow to these things, and I want to take it all in as I work towards a new album.”
It's a big world out there, but Camille makes no bones about wanting to explore it and find her place within it. With her guitar by her side, whatever obstacles come her way can be dealt with head-on. “Songwriting is like therapy for me in my life,” she says. “It's how I get everything out of my system.
“Wherever I am in my life, the situation that I'm in is what I'll be writing about. I've always loved really honest music; it's what I connect with the most – and I've also found that the songs I write that are the most honest are the ones people always talk to me about. Your music is a reflection of you as a person, and I think noticing the changes within that music are really beautiful. The music has to change, from growing up to wherever you are now. You can't force something like that. It's a really natural thing.”
Camille Trail is this week’s Countrytown & KIX Country Centre Stage Artist. You can catch her on tour across Queensland in September.
Saturday 19th August - EKKA - Brisbane, QLD (Write Like A Girl)
Thursday 21st September - Oodies Cafe - Bundaberg, QLD
Saturday 23rd September - Gundiah Memorial Hall - Gundiah, QLD
Sunday 24th September - Black Box Theatre - Nambour, QLD