This is Camille Nelson, my very good friend.
Camille Nelson is one of my all-time favorite people. Among so many other things, she is also an artist par excellence. Camille is also the one who patiently taught me how to play the guitar, the one with whom I've had many an adventure over the years, and the one who simply excels at all she does. And she manages to do it all by being unapologetically good and quintessentially Camille.
I can categorically say that she is one of the very best people I know. Here are some reasons:
Camille is perturbingly talented. She is an accomplished guitarist as well as a classically trained violinist. But that's not all. She plays a litany of other instruments, as well. She has her own private studio where I have also played the guitar oh-so-badly. But that's what makes Camille a great person and friend. She embraces people's weaknesses with the same grace she embraces their strengths. That's just the kind of person and artist she is.
She is also a linguist par excellence. She speaks a number of languages. I never run out of things to tell her my way. She just gets it. Whether we are at IHOP at 3:00 AM, at Macaroni Grill on a very busy night, or driving around town and getting stuck in my 1981 VW yellow pick-up truck as a result of my oh-so-bizarre driving habits, we manage to read every situation with the kind of unencumbered freedom that true linguistic diversity and genuine friendship afford us. Camille is also an entrepreneur. Her technology savvy is incredible. She can visualize like few can.
In addition, she has a number of graduate degrees, too. Graduate. Oh, and did I mention she in not yet 30?
And, it gets better. Trust me.
Camille is also an athlete. She's a certified trainer, a world traveler, a university instructor, a toffee maker par excellence (yes, this is a business she had), bungee jumper, and sky diver. And of course, she wouldn't just bungee or sky dive in any old place. She did so in Africa. I do think that what makes Camille truly unique and so (seemingly) effortlessly good at things is her inability to recognize fear. She was born to be curious and allow her curiosity to take her places. That seems to be her mantra. And, what a mantra!
Camille also has a genuinely humanitarian spirit. She has spent months in South Africa helping with various non-profit projects. Just when does she do it all, you might ask? Well, the fact that she is a fellow insomniac helps. Many a night my dear friend and I would play the guitar at sacrilegious hours, thus progressively increasing the annoyance level of my neighbors. Don't they know art comes with a price?! But more importantly, Camille has a good grasp of the mechanics of time and how to plan things. Plus, she is truly talented. And there is simply no 'cure' for talent. Blame her success on a great combination of a good gene pool and strong work ethic.
The reason I'm doing a post on Camille is not to promote hero worship. I am very clear about my deep respect for my wonderful friend. She is someone everyone should be so lucky to have in their life. I feel lucky to have met her. Lucky.
The reason I'm blogging about Camille is to inform you all about her new full length musical album entitled First Words.
My CD arrived last Saturday and I have been listening to it since then. I also had a number of friends and colleagues listen to it as well. What pride I have felt this whole week. My pride is rightly informed by the high quality of her work. The music and lyrics are all her doing. And her voice comes across not only as highly trained but also crisp and contemporary.
First Words is a well-balanced blend of indie folk/rock and traditional pop.
A song like "Red Letter Day" has all the elements of a piece where the lyrics meet the melody at the right point. The song made me appreciate concretely the seemingly little and inconsequential joys of quotidianity. It's a high-frequency track on my playlists now.
Then there is the track in Italian entitled "C'e la Luce della Candela." Camille's understanding of contemporary Italian pop comes to life here. Like a good artist, she pays homage to artists past from the old world. It made me think of Pausini, Ramazzoti, and Minghi. Camille's understanding of Italian culture and language is apparent here. The track is also well-tempered and reflective.
The track "Reminiscence" sets the tone for this album. The instruments converge beautifully and Camille's ability with the guitar, the violin, et al shines easily. You know you are in the company of a musician when you listen to this track.
"Reminiscence" is follow by "Some Day." The honest tone of this track comes across unambiguously.
And then there is "Dream On". A line that jumps out says: "Must we swim in such shallow waters?! Dream on...." This is another favorite track of mine as it oozes a kind of optimism that is rooted in reality, the honest kind.
Ergo, dear readers, check Camille Nelson's First Words out. It's versatile, indie, rock, folk, classic, pop and more.
Her myspace page is here. She is also to be found here.