Words: Linn Branson
Camille van Ommen may be a name you have only just here now come across for the first time. She may only be 17-years-old and 'Trust My Heart' her first track given out to the world, but you can be assured with a voice and talent like hers, you won't have heard the last of Ms van O.
Hailing from Perth in Western Australia ("my grandfather is Dutch. But I’m primarily Australian and African-American: I was born in San Francisco then moved to Melbourne when I was five, and then over to Perth at 16"), the indie-folk singer-songwriter has the style of a young Rickie Lee Jones or an acoustic Lianne La Havas - one of her admitted inspirations.
Despite her tender years, Camille is already familiar performer, as she reveals.
"When I was 13, a year after I started playing guitar, I wrote my first song and I just really caught the writing bug. In the past couple of years, I’ve become more familiar with producing my own music and I really enjoy, how the construction process is just all at my will and my fingertips. I joined a choir when I was eight, and was absolutely enthralled by the choral sound. When I was 16 and moving over to Perth, that’s when I left the choir circuit a bit more. I’ve performed solo at few private functions, and I’m definitely hoping to perform on my own a bit more as I venture into the music world."
Still in her last year of high school, her serious passion for music and songwriting has left her in no doubt where her career ahead lies. "I think it’s becoming exceedingly clear for myself that music is the pathway I want to follow."
"It is definitely quite a personal song to me," she says of 'Trust My Heart'. "It’s a reflection on relationships with certain friends and people who had come in and out of my life, and that because of this rotation of people I essentially just didn’t feel I could, as I say, trust my heart. I think lyrically it may read as quite a melancholic song, but the writing process really helped to keep my emotions fluid and, to in turn, heal, which I really hope I can give to my listeners."
Was it an easy song to put together? "The process of writing the song was quite interesting. It was kind of one of those songs I sat on for a while. I was working on some other songs and projects and none of them felt quite right, or the way I wanted. Then all of a sudden ‘Trust My Heart’ just really manifested into being coming, together all at once. It was midnight and I was on the cusp of sleep, when these lyrics started floating around in my head and merging together. I just knew I needed to put pen to paper. I scribbled out these lyrics and then spent the next day playing around on the guitar. It was the like the song was already written and I was just putting, pieces of the puzzle together."
You play acoustic guitar on 'Trust My Heart', is that your instrument of choice?
"Well, my first instrument I tried was actually piano when I was about 10, but that didn’t last for more than a year. I was, however, able to take away enough from the experience that I’m still able to grasp the basics on a keyboard and I’ve written a few songs on there. Guitar is definitely my first choice though. When I first started playing it just felt like something I’ve done a million times before."
Is there something that particularly appeals to you about the indie-folk genre you've chosen?
"I love every genre really, but it’s indie-folk I feel most comfortable writing in since all my songs tend to start off with my voice and a guitar. I think there’s just a real beauty in the genre, especially how with so few sounds, you can create such a full sounding track. I also think there a lot of pioneers in the genre, who dare to be quite experimental with their music, take risks and really propel music forward."
What's next on the cards for Camille? "Right now, it's probably getting through this last stretch of high school then hopefully getting an EP out there. I’d like to really just launch myself within the music community and industry a bit more and see where this all takes me."
Going by 'Trust My Heart', it looks like taking her pretty far. Watch out for this young lady.
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