If a boost of self-confidence is what you are looking for, Cameron Forbes is the artist for you. A call to embrace your body in its most natural form and fall in love with your own reflection, the pop, R&B and neo-soul singer drops his self-love anthem, “Send Nudes”. Packed full with the artist’s cheeky and sensual character, listeners can expect to be enchanted upon first listen as Forbes’ melodic tone rings throughout. And with a celebratory music video filled with choreographed dances and joyous embraces accompanying the track, it is made all the more exciting.
“Getting to a place where you feel confident enough to step in front of a mirror or camera lens and take a picture of yourself naked, regardless of whether you send it or not, takes gusto. And for it to be more widely accepted is a big cultural shift. It’s like returning to Eden and un-eating the apple. To see your reflection and feel proud rather than ashamed is big self-love energy that I needed to write about,” explains the artist when explaining the premise of “Send Nudes”.
Upon the release of his newest track, the artist sat down with Wonderland to discuss his journey into music and what he is looking forward to in the future. Head below to read our interview with Cameron Forbes now.
Hey Cameron, how are you? How has this past year been for you?
Just getting over Corona (that Delta variant is no joke) so I’m happy I’m finally able to get some freedom back and get outside. As crazy as 2020 was, I actually enjoyed being in LA. There was no traffic, you could get from downtown LA to Malibu in 20 minutes (usually that’s an hour trip at least). The air was super clear. I really took advantage of getting out into nature. And my friendships and relationships with my family grew deeper. I think the lack of being able to see people as frequently really made FaceTime calls and socially distanced hangs that much more meaningful for me. When I would link with friends, we would talk about how we were all going through it. It made us more vulnerable, more connected in a way, even with the tragedy and loneliness and weirdness of this pandemic.
With everything that happened last year, was your creativity affected?
Something clicked in me creatively. I remember asking myself, “If I was to leave this earth tomorrow, what would I want to leave the world with?” And the answer was music. So I got hyper-focused on finishing my EP. Obsessive. Writing to piano, zoom sessions with producers, finishing songs that had been collecting dust and starting new ones. I think working on my project really gave me purpose the last year. It was an outlet to pour my emotions and energy into in a way that might not have happened if we weren’t in lockdown.
How did you first start your musical journey? What sparked the interest?
I started on the saxophone and piano when I was younger, but I always imagined being on a stage singing my heart out. I remember going to church with my grandmother on the South Side of Chicago watching the soloist in the choir thinking, “I wanna do that”. Something about the way the choir and the singer could move people to shout, scream, cry, rejoice – it stayed with me, even though I didn’t actually start singing until later in life, I knew then I could sing and would somehow make it to a stage. I was probably 6 or 7.
And growing up, my dad would constantly play these timeless records from the greats – “A Song For You” by Donny Hathaway, “Layla” by Eric Clapton, “Dr. Feelgood” by Aretha, the list is endless. In a way, he was schooling me through osmosis on what greatness sounded like. I guess, in some ways, I aspire to make the music he would have liked because he had great taste.
You’re originally from Chicago but moved to LA to pursue music, do you think this jump impacted your sound in any way?
My musical foundation was pretty set before I got to LA. But what LA has given me, and one of the reasons I moved here, was a master class in songwriting. To be in recording sessions every day learning song structure, learning how to collaborate, being exposed to different ideas and seeing firsthand how songs are made and get out into the world – it definitely grew me as a writer and artist.
And you started off songwriting for the likes of Tyga, Carrie Underwood and G Eazy, why are you deciding to venture out on your own now? And do you think there is a difference writing songs for yourself compared to other artists?
There’s this concept that Julia Cameron talks about in “The Artist’s Way” called the ‘shadow artist’. The idea is that someone may have a dream or purpose, some career they’ve always wanted to have or a project that they wanted to finish but never pursued because of fear, doubt, circumstances etc. So, they work a job that’s adjacent to the one that’s their true calling. For example, someone who really wants to be an actor works as a casting director or agent. Or an entrepreneur may help grow someone else’s start-up. They could be phenomenal at it, but deep down they’ll never truly feel fulfilled or happy.
I don’t think I would have ever truly been fulfilled if I just wrote songs for others or sang cover gigs the rest of my life because deep down, I’ve always wanted to be the star. Me putting myself first was the biggest difference. Now, I know how valuable I am, and I really just fuck with myself more than ever. I guess that’s the shift. I’ve become my biggest fan.
And now you’ve just dropped “Send Nudes”, talk us through the production process!
Let’s just say art imitated life, and Stefan (the producer) helped me capture it. We finished the demo in a couple of hours and then I came back the next day to cut the vocals. It was one of those records that we shopped for other artists, but I really wanted to keep for myself cause it always felt like I should be singing it.
It’s all about body positivity! Why did you decide to focus on this topic?
Getting to a place where you feel confident enough to step in front of a mirror or camera lens and take a picture of yourself naked, regardless of whether you send it or not, takes gusto. And for it to be more widely accepted is a big cultural shift. It’s like returning to Eden and un-eating the apple. To see your reflection and feel proud rather than ashamed is big self-love energy that I needed to write about.
Or maybe I just wanted more nudes in my DMs…
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I want to leave that up to them. But my overall goal is to move people to dance, to reflect on an old flame, to travel, to send a nude – if you’re really listening you will walk away affected in some way. That’s why I make music – to make you feel something.
Who are your inspirations?
My parents, hands down. I’m around the age they were when they had me, and I can’t help but think, ‘how the hell did they do it?’ Sometimes, I don’t even feel responsible enough to own a pet, and they were able to create a family and give us all they had without complaint. They were married 37 years before my dad passed. It’s beyond inspiring to me, and I’m looking for that type of real partnership.
What is next for you? What are you excited for?
I’m excited for the “Send Nudes” video to drop. To me, it’s like the kind of nude you get from someone that you weren’t expecting, but it intrigues you just enough to want to see more. And the rest of my project, godCHiLD, it’s some of my most personal work. I’m excited for it to be out in the and where my journey will take me next.