All About Cam’s Accidental Breakout Hit

She’s Learning to Celebrate the Struggle

Cam heard Americana singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson once say country music is about celebrating the struggle.

And she is all about that.

Which is why the song that put her at the top of the charts — “Burning House” — isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

“It’s heavy stuff,” Cam told me before her Chicago show on Saturday (May 21). “I don’t know how you’d ever get to experience something like that outside of music — when you just cut through all the small talk and get down to something so painful you don’t even talk about it with your own family.”

Certain songs, she said, just connect with most people instead of a select few.

“Sometimes, everybody seems to have had that experience,” she said. “And ‘Burning House’ means a lot to me because I really did have that dream. But also because people will always come and explain how much it means to them.

“Last night, someone came up to me after my set and said, ‘We were in a burning house.’ She was holding her husband’s hand and said they had gone through something they didn’t think they were gonna make it through. Even people who seem happy on the outside might be working on something underneath.”

It makes sense that a song like that would come from Cam, who majored in psychology in college. And it was actually one of her professors who asked her, when she was considering leaving research behind and chasing the neon rainbow, “When you picture yourself at 80 years old, what would you regret having missed out on? Psychology or music?”

And to think, “Burning House” might have not even been a single. Cam told me that when she was promoting her actual debut single “My Mistake,” she played “Burning House” on a radio show, and the fans took it from there.

“I only played half the song on the radio,” she said. “I remember driving home and hearing the snippet on the way home. Then it just shot up the iTunes charts right away. And we realized the reaction. It was like, ‘The people have spoken, and they like this song.'”

Cam’s recently debuted the video for her latest single “Mayday.” She’ll perform the song live during an appearance with pop superstars Fifth Harmony during the 2016 CMT Music Awards airing June 8 at 8 p.m. from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.