By Music No Comments

In This Episode:

  • What Cam’s Stage Name Almost Was
  • Songwriting Approaches And The Inevitability of Writing Bad Songs
  • Changes With Music Production Due To Cultural and Financial Reasons
  • The Freedom of Success and Truly Understanding Failure
  • Today’s Diversity in Music
  • What Brett Eldredge Said Ed Sheeran Wanted


“I hope that I’m not letting anybody down, but you know, I’m a human.” – Cam

“Nothing’s precious, you can tweak and erase.” – Cam

“You don’t understand like 10 years of failure, you know, until you finally make it.” – Cam 

“Well fuck, that is so well done.” – Cam

“The idea of an unreliable narrator in a song talking about his heartbreak, it just tickles me.” – Cam

“A lot of the people that I spoke to in the very beginning when we started, you know, diversity movements at the ACMs and stuff; people all wanted it, everyone just had different ideas about how we could get there and when we had arrived.” – Cam

Guest’s Bio:

“One second, let me just put a baby on a boob!” Camaron Ochs, or Cam professionally and to her friends, is at home at the start of 2020. The new decade not only brings her re-entry into music with a brand new album of her best ever work, but it welcomes Cam too as a first-time mother having just given birth over the holiday season. Today, mom and daughter are together, as Cam prepares to re-introduce herself to the world. The 36-year-old has an old soul but a young heart and she has always approached her career and her artistry in the way only Cam knows how. Prolific and adored, Cam has had a tremendous start in the industry. She has co-written with Sam Smith for his album (the song also became the soundtrack for an exquisite Apple commercial) and toured with him around North America. She lent her writing voice to Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz album and she opened for Harry Styles at the legendary Ryman in Nashville. Forget genres, there is a deeper through-line at work: individuals in pursuit of earnest self-awareness. And they continue supporting each other as both Smith and Styles have writing credit on Cam’s new album.

This commitment to her own truth has led to some of her proudest moments outside of her music (giving a TED talk, working in both the GRAMMY and ACM Diversity & Inclusion Task Force) and it’s the reason for some of the most difficult moments as well. She took a stand in 2018 and asked to be separated from Sony Nashville, whose operations were not in line with her values. For that reason, it’s been five years since her debut LP which came hot off the tail of Grammy, CMA & ACM nominated hit in ‘Burning House’ (still the best-selling country song by a female solo artist over the past 5 years) and two years since the release of global favorite ‘Diane’ – a modern-day ‘Jolene’. 

It was a move that often jeopardizes an artist’s career but the risk paid off. Now working solely with RCA, she bought herself some time, and with it, she refined songs, and her voice strengthened via multiple international tours. She hustled despite the stress of the situation. She didn’t wait for someone to wave a magic wand. “The whole body of work is better for having gone through that crazy shit. That’s life, right?” she says. The album is the one she wanted to make, how she wanted to make it. The songs were written in LA, Nashville and NYC over the past three years. She used the same collaborators in executive producers Tyler Johnson (Harry Styles, Sam Smith) and Grammy winner Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Bruno Mars), who she calls her fellow “tinkerers”. 

The songs on the resulting LP The Otherside contain that kind of classic familiarity that means you only need to hear them once before they’re rolling around in your head. The lead single ‘Till There’s Nothing Left’ is a sexy power ballad that moves like an uptempo. It’s an unashamed from-the-gut testament to giving your everything to your one true love. “It’s a commitment. It’s saying – I am gonna love you with everything I have, physically, spiritually, I’m so in,” she says.  “Me and my husband will go drive and have a quickie in the back of the car. Why am I embarrassed to sing about that? All these dudes are talking about this in every song,” she says. She thinks back to her grandmother who gave her the sex talk when she was 12-years-old. “She said, ‘Camaron Marvel, sex is like a milkshake: once you’ve had it you’re always gonna want it!’ This song is me owning that. Sex is ours too.”

The Otherside is so titled because it contains songs and stories from the perspective of hindsight, once the dust has settled, and they’re written from Cam’s purest heart pangs. Cam writes openly about her gorgeous relationship with her husband (‘Like A Movie’, ‘Classic’), and she also writes damningly about her own inability to get over lovers past (‘Forgetting You’), and about the messy endings of her friends’ relationships (‘What Goodbye Means’). It’s about falling in love in those back seats, then falling out of it as the same cars drive away from you never to be seen again.

“When you’re going through something it’s hard to see in the moment that you’re transitioning. Then you make it to the other side and you’re like, ‘Holy shit this is who I am now’,” says Cam. She needed to write these songs to process and understand what she had come through and who was standing before her in the mirror at the end of it all. Take ‘Forgetting You’. It’s about remembering someone you once loved and having to face the truth that they’re just a memory. “They’re not the same person anymore,” she says. “You’re holding on to them from a different time.” She wrote ‘What Goodbye Means’ while watching a friend go through a divorce. “He stayed at our house for six weeks. I kept being so surprised by how gently he kept treating his ex and how nicely he was speaking to her after all the pain she was putting him through. He said it was because ‘she might change her mind.’ The rest of us knew that would never happen, but it was completely understandable and such a pure sentiment that he couldn’t see that yet. It was his journey to go through.”

It’s novel to listen to an album with so many love songs while the world burns, but it’s necessary. There’s something about our big optimistic pursuit of romance that keeps us standing still. Cam’s tales are so lovely they inspire hope for anyone who seeks something similar. “It’s literally like I’m in a movie with my husband,” she says of the song ‘Like A Movie’. It was inspired by a conversation she had with her husband after a trip to Walmart. “We’ll go shopping and get high and giggle with each other when I’m not on tour. We were sitting across the table and I asked him: ‘How did you know it was me?’ He was super high, but didn’t miss a beat. He said: ‘Because when I met you it was like a movie.’” Even the number ‘Classic’, written with Jack Antonoff, came from a trip she took with her husband to Argentina in which he found an old pack of Lucky Strikes and bought them. “They don’t make ’em like this any more,” he said, and there was another of Cam’s lyrics.

Musically, the album is not rooted in the sound of country, although the lilt is there. It’s country as a form of expression for truth-telling, for stories about life. The main focus for Cam was that her voice was at the forefront, and in these songs she can elevate her vocal performance and reach new heights acquired from all her touring. As she spends more time making records, her voice is becoming gutsier. It’s no surprise to learn that her inspirational touchstones for the tone of this album are all movie soundtracks from eras gone by, ie, ’90s romantic comedies and dramas. ‘Redwood Tree’ was inspired by the sci-fi movie Arrival, a film about how time isn’t linear. A comforting idea when you fully realize you can’t be in two places at once- you can’t see the world and see your parents grow old. She considers every song like a different mood, or color. 

Cam is an outlier in country music. She was born in California and then moved to Nashville. She aspired to be a Supreme Court Justice, studied Psychology at University and worked in labs at Stanford & Berkeley before jacking it in to follow her heart, and taking a sabbatical in Portland to write music. Those months spawned ‘Burning House’ and after that unlikely hit (countless people told her it was too sparse for radio), she found herself on a trajectory she wasn’t yet prepared for. She grew up spending time on her grandparents’ ranch in Southern California, riding horses and listening to Patsy Cline. As she grew up it was strong female voices that drew her in further: The Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks, Joni Mitchell, St Vincent.

Cam, however, is just a lover of good music, and that’s taken her to collaborations with all sorts, from Diplo to Vince Gill, she’s not bound to one box. The title track of Otherside was written with Tim Bergling, aka Avicii – renowned for his ability to make modern mainstream hits of traditional genres – but finished after he passed away. She recalls how methodical he was. “He cared so much for detail. Now not having him around felt like a lot of pressure to make sure that song was done right,” she says. It’s a country dance song about revenge but it feels like it’s set in outer space. It’s a smash. “Humans are humans and if a good song touches their soul they want to listen to it,” she offers.

Looking to the year ahead, Cam is excited about her dual role as a singer-songwriter and performer, and also as a mother. That might be her biggest current protest. “I get comments like – maybe there are not as many female country artists because women would just rather stay home,” she scoffs. “I want to travel around making the music I love AND be a mother, but the world wasn’t set up for that, I have to build something that works for me and there’s not a lot of examples.” But she’s used to forging her own path by now. There is never a normal to lean on anyway. “You do it your own way and you make sure it’s visible so other people don’t have to feel so alone in it,” she says. Who needs normal when you have Cam?

Guest’s Contact Info:

Jeff Kurkjian

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Key Takeaways From Episode:

  • The Ages of Radio In a World of Too Many Options and Why Radio is Still Relevant
  • Getting Away From the “If It Bleeds, It Leads” Mindset
  • The One Question That Drives Jeff Crazy
  • Jeff’s Touching Story Involving Being Otto the Orange During a Children’s Hospital Visit
  • What Getting COVID Was Like For Jeff
  • The “Venmo Challenge” and Jeff’s Experience With It


“In a world with so many connections, it’s so difficult to get in touch, isn’t it?” – Jeff Kurkjian

“Search and you shall find and I think if you want to find positivity on apps like Twitter, you can, but at the end of the day it’s a whole bunch of angry people yelling from their mom’s basement.” – Jeff Kurkjian

“His dad looks at Otto and when I had one moment, just kinda said, ‘We haven’t seen him this happy in six months and he hasn’t gotten out of his wheelchair or his bed in 30 days.” – Jeff Kurkjian

“Having freedom is not always guaranteed and having freedom does result in one thing, differences and that’s okay to be different.” – Jeff Kurkjian

“When Black Lives Matter protests hit Las Vegas, I was able to more or less serve as somebody who could tell you what was going on. Who could objectively report on what was going on.” – Jeff Kurkjian

“I feel like with the plethora of ability to get content, get music, and get great stories. It’s almost overwhelming, there are too many options. I’ll make it easy for you on radio, we’ve been here forever.” – Jeff Kurkjian

Guest’s Bio:

Jeff hosts “Jeff & Aimee In The Morning” on 102.7 Coyote Country in Las Vegas! Born in Dallas, raised in Maryland and a proud Syracuse University graduate, Jeff has dedicated his life to radio.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Instagram @jpkurkjian

Nate Deaton

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Nate Deaton

KRTY VP/General Manager         

Key Takeaways From Episode:

  • Nate’s Thoughts After Getting the Johnson and Johnson COVID Shot
  • New COVID Safety Precautions For Music Events
  • The Difference Between the CMA and the ACMs
  • Why Nate Thinks the ACMs Are Making a Political Statement
  • What Keith Urban Said To Nate
  • Why Don Felder Got Fired From the Eagles
  • Thoughts On Why Don Henley Is an Ass and Chris Stapleton Is a Jerk


“If you’ve had a vaccination and you have a vaccination card, it’s about the easiest thing in the world to forge.” – Nate Deaton

“I have a Johnson and Johnson with no reaction.” – Nate Deaton

“One of my issues in the past has been that when songs were nominated for Single of the Year, they weren’t number one songs.” – Nate Deaton

“I’m not really quite sure why Jimmie Allen isn’t hosting instead of Mickey Guyton.” – Nate Deaton 

 “Steven Tyler was in fact in his bathrobe.” – Nate Deaton

“Chris Stapleton is just not a nice man and Chris Stapleton is a bitter man about just making hundreds of millions of dollars from being a songwriter for years and not having any radio airplay.” – Nate Deaton

Guest’s Bio:

I have been living in San Jose since I was 12 in 1973 when it was just a small suburb of San Francisco in those days known mostly for fruit tree orchards and great climate.  I graduated High School here and San Jose State during which my love for radio was born. I worked  in the promotions department at Rock Legend KSJO from 1984-1986 and then started booking headline entertainment and grounds attractions for the Santa Clara County Fair from 1987-1992. It was there I met and married my wife of 33 years Judy.

I started as the promotion director at KRTY in 1994, rose to marketing director in 1998 and was named General Manager in 2006.  My role really has not changed much over the years, as a locally owned and operated station all of our staff are involved in every aspect of the station. Picking songs, coordinating promos and making our clients money.

The growth of Silicon Valley in my years here is echoed in the philosophy of the radio station. To stay alive you have to innovate. We are in the innovation capitol of the world and our residents build tomorrow.  If we are not the most forward thinking radio station in terms of new music, new artists and new types of ways to introduce it, someone in our own market will invent something that does just that. Music discovery and artist development is what we do. We play new music and bring those artists to the market to make our fans their fans. 

We book and produce over 50 shows a year at the Rodeo Club and through our one of a kind Songwriters Series at Clos La Chance Winery.  It is the next step in music innovation with live performance.

In my spare time I play a lot of golf and umpire little league games.  Judy and I have one son, Drew, a graduate of University of Arizona who is a Territory Rep for Milwaukee Tools.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Instagram @Ndeatonkrty

Barron Ryan

By Comedian, Music No Comments

In This Episode:

  • Why Barron Has His Own Trailer
  • What It’s Like Having Interracial Parents and a Very Musically Inclined Family
  • The Application Process For Getting Into Major Music Universities
  • Writing Songs Making Fun of What Hip Hop Artists Brag About
  • The Joy of Creating Beauty In Music Rather Than Music Of One Kind
  • Why Doing Online Performances Is a Lot More Work


“When they got married in 1975, that was not an acceptable thing for a lot of people.” – Barron Ryan

“I knew I wanted to be a performer from the get go, but being willing to put in the work to be impressive enough to be a performer took a little while.” – Barron Ryan

“I thought, ‘I’m gunna make songs that make fun of the common tropes in hip hop music. So instead of rapping about how amazing I was as a rapper, I made a song called ‘Not That Bad.” – Barron Ryan

“My philosophy is that as an artist I want to be known more for who I am than for what I do.” – Barron Ryan

“When you go into an organization and try to be accepted by that organization, whether that be a TV show or a school, you have to realize that that’s not your ultimate customer.” – Barron Ryan

Guest’s Bio:

Barron Ryan’s love for music has always been divided. The son of two musicians, he grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Mozart to Michael Jackson. So when it comes to his own performing, he’s not content drawing on just one influence. He combines them all into a musical adventure that’s vintage yet fresh, historical yet hip, classic yet cool.

After beginning piano lessons at age four with his father, Barron seemed destined for a career in music. He excelled in performing throughout his middle and high school years in Tulsa, OK, then continued to impress his peers and instructors as a piano performance major at The University of Oklahoma.

Everything did not come up roses, however, as Barron was then rejected from all the music conservatories you might be impressed by. Disheartened and a little annoyed, he briefly gave up on the piano in pursuit of a satirical hip-hop career. But due to a favorable result in a piano competition that sent its winner to perform in Israel, that project was graciously short-lived.

Thanks to that Israel concert tour, Barron found his artistic voice. He discovered the joy of jazz- and ragtime-inspired concert music (found on his debut album, Classical with Attitude), and learned from great jazz pianists by replaying their solos (found on his latest album, The Masters’ Apprentice).

In 2019, Barron noticed a shocking lack of funk-, pop-, and country-inspired classical music. Realizing he could fill that void, he composed the “Magic City” Sonata and a dance suite called Suite Thing. Those works are now published and recorded on his third solo record, First of Its Kind. 

Barron is following in his favorite composers’ footsteps by publishing his original works in the public domain. He offers his work as a gift to the world, and as a chance to collaborate with artists from around the globe.

What’s next? You’ll have to wait to find out, but rest assured that in all Barron Ryan’s music, Classic Meets Cool.


Instagram & Twitter: @barroncp