• Maia Joy

Camino on Latest EP and the "Burning Power of the Sun"

From his roots in Mississippi to his current home in Atlanta, Georgia and every inch in between, singer-songwriter Camino’s diverse and soulful sound has something for everyone. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, the artist’s latest EP, “Burning Fire,” delves into his greatest vulnerabilities and discusses family, grief, and finding hope on the other side of loss.

Growing up in Jackson, Camino’s depth of passion for music is second nature-- his father, a fireman of 35 years, would frequently sing to him and bring music into the home when he was a child. He shares that, at this point, “[music] is kind of an involuntary thing… it’s just a part of who I am” and he hardly notices it in his day-to-day life. However, pursuing his dream of making music came at a cost-- a year after discovering his affinity for rap, Camino moved to Atlanta, Georgia and was homeless for a year. After the collapse of a record deal and a collaboration with Akon, Camino wound up in Los Angeles, where he eventually signed with Def Jam in 2019. While these hardships proved difficult, he came out on the other side with a plethora of new musical influences and a renewed vulnerability in his writing.

With a background of soul, church choirs, country, rap, and blues, it’s no surprise that Camino’s sound is entirely his own. Each track in the EP showcases different elements of his musical upbringing-- from the choir introduction of the titular track, “Burning Fire,” to the country-strings influences of “Fiddle,” the hip-hop groove of “Home,” and the vulnerable melodies of “Better Than Me” and “Loving You,” his understanding and fusion of genres is nothing short of masterful. His development of such a sound comes, in part, from his pure love for music as a whole, as well as his personal investment in his own style.

“I’m super obsessed with music-- probably more than I should be,” he laughs. “I sit down and I study music, the sonic resonances,” building a family tree of influences and delving into a rabbit hole of musicians whose work he admires. Beyond his roots, adding more influences to his musical toolbox has encouraged him to experiment with different sounds. “[I have one track with] a kick drum and a harmonica,” he shares of a recent project. “I never thought I’d want to do that, but we made it sound good and we did it.”

The EP showcases a groundbreaking level of authenticity that few have dared to brave in modern pop music. The first track, “Burning Fire,” was written after the passing of his aunt due to cancer, taking on his uncle’s perspective of losing a life partner of nearly 60 years. He shares that the vulnerability of the track came naturally and that he wanted to express “the burning power of the sun-- the strongest feeling I can think of.” Writing the track, however, proved to be a more difficult task: how could he accurately portray someone else’s feelings of grief while also grieving, himself? “I’m very vulnerable and emotional, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t go overboard with how emotional someone else feels,” he says of the process. He imagined the project as a piece of art on a wall, depicting a moment on the outside; while it exists in a shared space, he realized that the story was his to tell as well, and with his family’s blessing, he was able to develop an EP that they could all be proud of. “They’d probably kill me if they knew that I was talking about this-- but yeah, they love the record,” he laughs. “As long as my family is happy, I’m happy.”

Camino first began working on the EP several years ago, shaping “Burning Fire” into what it is today.

However, COVID-19 had other plans, cutting the momentum of his accompanying videography short. “Visuals are key,” he says, “[but] Atlanta never really closed, so a lot of people were really scared to come and shoot.” However, the stunning effects of the video were worth the hassle; the video has given countless audiences chills, and even reached the local radio station in his hometown of Jackson. “I remember going to preschool listening to that radio station,” he says of hearing “Burning Fire” live on air. Even today, his mother is one of his greatest advocates, helping him to give back to the community of Jackson through his music. Now, with virtual tours underway, Camino’s audience goes far beyond his hometown, finding audiences across the country and around the world.

Given his own difficulties early in his career, it’s no surprise that Camino encourages younger artists to persist in the face of adversity. “Never give up. If you’re willing to sacrifice everything in your entire life for it, then go for it,” he shares. “Entertainment and music are cutthroat-- you have to be willing to give everything up for what you love.” His own work is a testament to the success that can come with commitment-- with the release of his EP and an album set to release in the fall of 2021, we have a feeling Camino is just getting started.

Camino’s EP, “Burning Fire,” is available now on all streaming platforms. Find him on social media @Camino.