(Issue 11) Music Feature: Myles Cameron

Interview by Sherin Nassar

You want Myles Cameron to make it. He’s got talent- his latest work says it all- but there is something about his optimism that has you rooting for him. He has that fresh eye ready to take on the world spirit that you sometimes wonder if people just lose at 25. But Myles brings you back into the belief that you can do what you want, leaves you certain that he’s going to make it and he’s going to grow a ton while he does it. He already has. 

Raised in the New York suburbs that gave him much of the inspiration for his first musical works (the type of living between worlds fodder where he wasn’t Black enough for the Black kids and not white enough for the white kids), Myles isn’t your typical music artist who’s just starting out. He’s out here doing music full time, but he’s practical in his approach and he’s got anchors to keep him rooted on his musical goal. 

The Yale Experience 

Although you wouldn’t take him for a stuck up Ivy League prince, Myles studied music at Yale.  

“Yale was great. That’s not to say that everyone there is smart and driven because that’s definitely not the case. There were plenty of people riding on the back of privilege, but I surrounded myself with kids who were smart and driven. It was like iron sharpening iron. It put me in an environment with people who inspired me to wholeheartedly pursue my thing and they made me sharper,” Myles said. 

While his friends were fully grinding it out to be doctors or consultants or lawyers, it made him get clear on what he wanted to do and to go after it full force. 

“It’s difficult to do a creative thing at Yale because you don’t have a lot of time. The academics are intense and that pre-professional culture really works if you’re going into consulting, finance, pre-med, law school. That’s dope if that’s your thing, but my thing really is creating stuff and it’s a weird environment to be doing that in because all of those other things didn’t feel like a valid answer for me,” Myles said. 

Since he’d been recording music since high school, Myles knew music was exactly what he wanted to do at Yale, but he filtered it through the lens of business. As he says it, business was the lens to do music, but it was tough for him as a musician to be so up and close with those doing music front and center, while he was running the management and optics.

“It was almost worse doing it that way because I was so close to the thing I wanted to be doing, but not actually doing it. I was helping other people on an operational level, to do the thing that I thought I could be great at myself. I think that’s what pushed me in the Summer of 2018 to just fully go for it,” Myles said. 

Vulnerability and Growth

Vulnerability and music often go hand in hand and great artists like Myles make that connection apparent.. His music is aching with vulnerability and if you listen to it when you’re too raw, it can get to you. Yellow is the song you listen to when your  heart is broken and your spirit is soft. Lonely Suburban Black Boy tells an ode that many Black and brown kids in too white suburbs can relate to; the kind that keeps the imposter syndrome fresh, the wonder if this is where you’re supposed to be and the belief that the mecca of your people may not exist (until you finally are oozed in it and that shit keeps you tethered). It’s Picket Fences that leaves you with longing and Myles knows that. When he writes, he is not focused on the listeners. He’s just being honest and, as he says it, it’s the honesty that resonates with people long after the experience has faded. When he writes, he’s not focused on the listeners. He’s just being honest and, as he says it, it’s the honesty that resonates with people long after the experience has faded. He’s writing for himself first and that often means writing more songs than he puts out. More importantly, writing vulnerably also often means writing without having to hide from the things that scare him. 

“I’m into the idea that if you make your ‘inner the outer,’ then there’s nothing to hide from. The suburban Black boy thing was one of my biggest insecurities, but then I wrote about it in my music and made that my brand and now there’s really nothing to be insecure about,” Myles said. 

But while the insecurities melt away from the subject matter, they never melt away when it comes to putting out new music. The fresh stuff always cuts a little bit too close to home when Myles isn’t sure how it’s going to land. It leaves him exposed and social media makes that insecurity hit a bit different. 

“Releasing music has to be the most vulnerable thing. When I release new music, it’s like starting from zero again even if I’ve had songs out for a whole. It’s vulnerable and it’s this weird feeling of not knowing if people like it. It kind of feels like being soft like a sponge and you absorb everything,” Myles said. 

Interestingly enough, while he has been staying off social media to keep his music authentic and not altered by the trends, Myles does have his loyalties to the internet age- namely SoundCloud. He described knowing that Caged Bird was an incredible song that could make it big with the right traction and exposure. But, he was a SoundCloud kid even though Spotify was giving rise to the right type of popularity to get the song off the ground. 

“I was definitely really attached to releasing music on SoundCloud and didn’t want [Caged Bird] on Spotify. My producers would ask me why and I would just know that on SoundCloud I could bank on getting a couple thousand streams, but on Spotify less popular songs had a less than one thousand streams symbol slapped on them and I was never going to let my  song sit with one of those on them,” he said. 

Yet, he described embracing Spotify and even Tik Tok as just embracing and leaning into things changing- its growth: a constant theme in his life. You hear that in his songs and we joked that’s all he could talk about in the interview: growth. Myles is in fact in his early twenties and everyone knows that time- the sweet period right after undergrad- is impregnated with uncomfortable growth. Myles lavishes in it. “Growth is the name of the game- it’s not fun and it’s not even in the growing pains type of way. I’m just excited for the future and I’m so into the idea of growing and being uncomfortable,” Myles said. 

 Myles recognizes this is a transitional period: he’s moving out of his parents house after living with them post-grad and through the pandemic. 

“This summer has been the fog rising and realizing that I’ve done the music stuff, but what else is happening like where am I going to live?”

This period of his life has been focused on music. With nothing to do, he put it all into his music, making over 100 songs in a year with his producer and he’s proud of that grind. It’s the type of grind that emulates the ones his influences have: the likes of Frank Ocean, Donald Glover, FKA Twigs, and Solange, who contribute 10K hours into their art. He wants to be part of the next generations of Solange and Ocean, kicking it back at parties and running in the same circles as the ones who create the genre of music that speaks to the souls of people like him. But, he also knows that with effort and dedication, often comes sacrifice. That has a time and a place. Now, it’s about figuring out what this stage of life is about, which means no more EPs. He’s made three, now it’s time for an album.

Sherin Nassar has Egyptian roots, was raised in Philly but somehow a 2 year stint in London claims her heart. She loves Korean fried chicken, making google food maps, building out @book.sh3lf and curating her monthly Spotify playlists@sherinnassar

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