Over eight years ago, 17-year old Cameron Bruce wowed the Idols judges with his stirring version of the John Mayer classic The Hurt during the 2009 auditions. His stand-out performance established Cameron as a firm favourite in the competition and he finished sixth overall and catapulted Cameron into the hearts and minds of the South African public.
Now 25, Cameron Bruce, with his magnetic vocal style, skillful guitar work and striking lyrics, is set to entertain visitors to the Cradle Contemporary Art Fair when he plays a gig at the Cradle Boutique Hotel ‘Posh Picnic’ on Saturday, December 2 from midday.
So what has Bruce been up to since he last graced our screens on Idols back in 2009?
I released an album in 2012 called Damage Done and the following year I had a residency in Las Vegas. I came back and recognized a gap in the corporate and wedding entertainment industry so I started a band called BadWolf operating under my company Fuzz Music which performs at all kinds of events from things like the BMW M Fest which was just a couple weeks ago to weddings all around the country. We now have two bands with different singers entertaining clients at their events. In 2015 I also went back to university to complete a degree in music which I will hopefully finish up next year.
Can you tell us a bit about the type of music you play?
I started playing guitar at the age of seven and only really started singing around the age of 16, so in my formative years I was really into guitar music like Jimi Hendrix, BB King etc. One day I heard a record by John Mayer and that was when I fell in love with writing. It was also around then that I started singing, so I guess you could say the kind of music I like to write is centred around the guitar with a blues/jazz influence, but fused with a kind of singer songwriter undertone.
What can visitors to the Cradle Boutique Hotel expect when they come for lunch on Saturday, 2 December where you will be playing?
For the event it will be myself, American pianist and Grammy nominee John Fresk on keys and Hannah Foster on vocals. Hannah and I will do a variety of songs including some jazz standards, some pop songs with a jazz twist and some of our originals. Given the instrumentation of the band it lends itself more to the jazz side with a laid back feel. John, Hannah and I have been working together for years and there is something really special about the ensemble.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Yes! I haven’t put out original music for a couple years now as my focus really has been my company and of course making sure I pass at Wits but I still have a deep fire burning for original music and my hope is that I’ll have an EP out next year.
Where can fans catch any gigs or listen to your music?
A lot of what I do now is private company functions and weddings but I do the odd public gig here and there. My record is available on iTunes, but I don’t really push the album because it’s an old sound, one I’ve outgrown and I’d really like the EP next year to be fresh start with songs I can really get behind and believe in. The best way for fans to keep up with what I do is on Facebook, Instagram (cam_bruce) and YouTube.
Who do you listen to and who inspires you?
I listen to so much music from jazz greats like Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Pat Martino and some of my blues hero’s like Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, Muddy Waters. I love Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and all the Motown soul guys. I really like some of the newer music coming out from guys like Anderson Paak, D’Angelo, Daniel Caesar. It’s all inspiring. I love the common thread I hear in some of the music I naturally gravitate towards. I can hear their influences and who they’ve checked out. I’m always hunting for the next song or record that will take me away from reality.
Incredibly hard to say and I don’t think it would be fair to name just one so top 3 would have to be D’Angelo, John Mayer and Miles Davis.
Again, too hard to say but everyone should check out Voodoo (D’Angelo) and let it be the soundtrack to their lives for a couple months.
Anything else you’d like to say to music fans out there?
Just thank you. Having been in the corporate/wedding scene for a while it’s easy to forget that there are people out there who care about your music and what you have to say. I recently put up a video of an original song I wrote on Facebook and Instagram and asked people for feedback/support. The response was incredible and it really reminded why I love writing, it’s a connection thing and you come to realize people need writers to put words and sounds to their feelings, make them feel like they’re a part of something everyone goes through whether it’s tough spots in life, heartbreak, love, there’s something very comforting about that.