Artist to Watch: Camille Parker Blazes Her Own Path With ‘The Flame’
Camille Parker's voice has been turning heads across the country music industry recently, but her roots have ran deep within the genre for years. She's always had a love of music, instilled in her by her grandfather, Mr. Charles.
"Mr. Charles was just so great at showing me that (artists) start in small places," she told UNC's MediaHub. "It’s the reason that I’m able to create what I feel is like really authentic music because of my connection to my hometown.”
In 2021, that passion and drive lead Parker to be named to Rissi Palmer's inaugural "Color Me Country Class" of artists. The popularity of her debut single "The Flame" has done numbers: it has 1.5 million on-demand streams and climbed into the Top 10 of Apple Music’s country charts in over 17 countries. That organic success also earned her a spot in CMT's "Next Women of Country" Class of 2022.
With CMT's support, Parker released a gorgeously-produced music video for "The Flame." While the song is a cautionary tale of love gone wrong, the short film is autobiographical, giving us insight into Parker's decision to take the plunge and follow her dream: a career in country music.
“I wanted my first video to be a kind of prequel to the journey I’m on – for people to rewind time and see the exact moment I took a chance on myself, left home, and jumped out on faith,” she told CMT. “That’s what the song is all about; believing in yourself and taking a step in the direction of your dreams even when you don’t know what’s next.”
Parker loved all kinds of music growing up.
“We listened to a lot of Charlie Pride, a lot of Pointer Sisters, a lot of Linda Martell,” Parker explained to UNC. “There was no idea that was put in my mind by my grandfather, or by anyone in my community of elders, that country music wasn’t for us. I was raised to understand that it was ours and I still believe that.”
Parker graduated from the Talented Unlimited Performing Arts High School in New York City, scraping by for a few years doing any odd jobs that would enable her to sing. After graduating from George Mason University, she recorded demo tracks for R&B songwriters — at the time, she thought the job was her only route to singing professionally.
It wasn't until Parker came across Palmer's music video for her 2007 single "Country Girl" that she saw a route toward fulfilling her dream of singing country music. Now, Parker is ready to blaze a trail even wider than the Black women in country music who paved the way years before her.