Welcome to The New Dynasty
Warning: This post is long, so grab a cup of tea or a snack and settle down to read!
Saturday nights are usually what people look forward to all week and for me, it was no different. Except instead of putting my glad rags on and heading to the clubs or flopping out on the sofa to watch ‘The X Factor’ (the latter is usually the norm for me) I was heading into Cardiff with my friend, Alysha, to be reunited with my other friend, Camryn.
“Have you got questions prepared?” Alysha asked me as we greeted each other.
“Of course. We’re testing her knowledge on the UK.”
“Cool. So, shall we go get the food now or later?”
You see, instead of meeting up with Camryn to go shopping on Queen Street or grabbing a bite to eat, we’d be interviewing her. Wait, backtrack… who interviews their friends? That’s kind of weird, Jazz. Right? Except Camryn is a singer. Scratch that. She’s a teen pop-rock star living out the dream of millions of musicians even up to double her age.
Stop the tape and rewind to a few years ago, when I was some plucky teen fangirl with a passion for the Disney Channel stars of 2008 such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, I used to regularly check a website called ‘Cambio’. I was flicking through the articles when I saw one about an 11-year-old musician and naturally since she wasn’t much younger than me, I decided to check her out. That’s when I came across Camryn. She was promoting one of her earlier singles, ‘Wait and See’. After giving it a listen and watching the video, I definitely found myself into her music. Click, click, click – I followed her social media. She’d pop up on my Twitter timeline regularly with various posts on things she was working on, including touring with teen pop sensations Cody Simpson and Greyson Chance. A few years later I was reading a magazine and a familiar face with blonde hair with a glistening smile – it was Camryn. It talked about how she was touring with One Direction in the states along with an interview with her. I hadn’t seen anything about her in the UK yet so I snapped a picture and tweeted it to her only for her to thank me and share it on her socials. I’d tweet her now and then and she’d normally reply which was always nice.
One day, she announced something pretty big and exciting – she was the opening act for One Direction’s UK & European leg of their world arena tour. And guess what? It included Cardiff. I was beyond excited. Of course, I loved One Direction but I’d been supporting Camryn for so long that I had to see her or just be able to say hi outside the arena. I checked Ticketmaster. SOLD OUT. Dammit. Oh well, if I can’t be there, I should at least message her to congratulate her and recommend places to check out if she had the time in between shows, right? I messaged her Facebook page where we ended up talking. I told her about how I wanted to be a pop culture journalist and it was on my bucket list to interview her for the youth website I was writing for. To my surprise, she was totally up for meeting in Cardiff for me to do just that and gave me the details of her publicist. After working with the editor of CLIConline (R.I.P) alongside her publicist, we sorted out a time and place for the interview, which I was extremely nervous for. This was my first proper interview in person. Sure, I’d done bits and pieces for the site before, but this was huge for me. Needless to say it went pretty well; I met Camryn – who was lovely as expected – and she and her manager even hooked me up with tickets to the show. It was incredible and was where I discovered my love for 5 Seconds of Summer. To Camryn, that was one of many interviews she’s done in her career, but for me it was something big. It helped me realise this was something I wanted to do as a career. It’s ultimately what helped me decide I wanted to take pop journalism seriously. And I did. If you know me, you’ll be well aware of some of the crazy experiences I’ve had and interviews I’ve done – from YouTube phenomenon Tyler Oakley and even Oscar award winners from Disney’s Big Hero 6. It’s insane and I’d like to think that little interview with Camryn in 2013 had a big impact on that.
A little over three years later and Camryn was back in town and this time supporting American girl band, Fifth Harmony. We had both grown over time; me being newly-turned 21 and her now 17 and back with a brand new EP and total maturity in her sound. Of course, we’ve kept in touch over the years and I even befriended some of her band and team. I asked United By Pop kindly if they could help me arrange an interview with Camryn for their site to which they happily agreed to. After some sorting out, we had arranged to meet at the venue. Alysha, who played my the role of my right hand woman and camera operator for the day (as well as great company) and I met up with Camryn and her manager, Lesley and greeted each other before heading to the tour bus which would act as our studio for the interview. We had a lot of bags with us and all for Camryn and her crew – which they loved. My lovely friend Lily had hooked us up with some amazing LUSH products for both Camryn and her crew and we bought a tin of chocolates to say thank you to them all (it was thanks to her drummer, Justin, that we had 3 free tickets on the guest list for that night’s show – so it would be crazy not to thank him and the band for meeting us as well as Camryn and her manager for setting up this opportunity) They were delighted with the gifts and we had a chat about the last time Camryn and I had met as well as the support account Alysha and I ran to help promote her. After a few minutes of nattering, we began to film. We decided to do two segments – one where I’d quiz Camryn on knowledge on the UK and another where she’d try some well known British snacks, both proving to be a lot of fun.
We must have spent almost two hours on the bus. In between working on content for United By Pop, we took some short videos and pictures for the fansite as well as some Instax photos for competitions. Camryn even threw in some signed flyers and one personalised one each for myself and Alysha as a token of gratitude for supporting her. We even got to take a picture for my scrapbook which I’m filling for my year as 21.
We soon said our “see you laters” as we agreed to bring Lily, who was the proud third guest we’d be bringing along to the show, to meet Camryn and the band to introduce her as the girl behind the amazing gifts we had previously given them. She would have come along to the interview, but unfortunately had to work.
After a few hours in Cardiff to grab a bite to eat and meet up with Lily, we returned to the venue to pick up our tickets from the guest list. There seemed to be a problem and we began to get nervous, so we messaged Justin who along with Lesley managed to sort things out and we were given the tickets for the show. We weren’t expecting seats as amazing as we were given – we would have been happy with seats at the back, since this show was Fifth Harmony’s headliner and we were just guests, but we managed to be seated in the fifth row from the front in the middle – a perfect view of the stage and to catch the eye of Camryn and the band when they performed their set.
Of course, my girl rocked the stage and it was overwhelming to see how many people wanted to meet her before the main act graced the arena with their performance. We hung around until the end to make sure all fans had their chance to meet Camryn so we stood with Lesley and talked for a little while. To see at least a hundred fans wanting to meet the girl I’d been supporting and friends with since day one was incredible, especially in Wales as she wasn’t as well known on her first visit. It melted my heart to hear parents talk to their daughters and asking if they wanted to dye their hair the same as Camryn’s bold blue and their skip step back to their seats with excitement in their eyes after meeting the teen rocker moments before. Cam then came over to join us and meet Lily before grabbing a picture with her and signing an autograph. Everyone thanked her for the presents and, let’s be honest, everyone LOVES Lush products. We talked for a little while before Camryn had to leave to do some college work and we arranged to meet with the band before leaving after the show.
Now, I know Harmonizers will be kinda mad at me, but I’m not the biggest Fifth Harmony fan. I appreciate them and their music, but they’re just not my go-to artists to listen to. However, I will say that their performance on Saturday was pretty fricking awesome and myself, Alysha and Lily definitely enjoyed ourselves. Except the inflatable balls they kicked about where practically every single ball in the room decided to land on my head (which, by the way, I was slowly getting a headache following a long day). In my line of work, Fifth Harmony are known as a ‘priority act’ thanks to their huge popularity among fans across the world, so it was nice to finally see them live and be able to gain a new found respect for them and their music.
We left the show a little early as Alysha had to be ready to catch her train home and we wanted to say hey to the band whom we have known for a while but never got to meet in person. It was great to finally talk face to face and get some pictures as well as talk about the show and our general interest in music as a whole.
Before we knew it, it was time to go – Camryn was still doing college work and our lifts were on their way. We said our goodbyes and agreed to meet up again the next time they’re back in the UK, this time hopefully a lot sooner than three years. I have a lot of faith in Camryn, especially for gaining a European fanbase on this tour with Fifth Harmony.
It was an amazing day overall and I had so much fun seeing Camryn again as well as finding a love for Fifth Harmony’s music and of course spending time with my friends Alysha and Lily.
A massive thank you to Lesley for arranging everything and being so nice, the band for just being awesome (especially Justin for the tickets) and of course my girl, Camryn, who I am so beyond proud of. Seeing her go from a little girl from Denver, Colorado with some cute pop songs to touring with some of Pop’s biggest acts of our generation and evolving as an artist overall is just so overwhelming in the best way possible. I cannot wait to see what’s next for her. By the way, you can listen to her EP,New Dynasty,right here and follow our fan support account @CamrynWales.
Alos a huge thank you to Alysha for acting as assistant for me with the interview process and running the fan account and of course Lily for coming along and providing the lovely gifts. Lily also blogs, which you can check out here. 🙂