EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: CASH CAMPAIN TALKS HIS NEW ALBUM VALLEY HI
POSTED OCTOBER 23RD, 2017 | BY MICHAELA GREEN
Hey CSUITEMUSIC.com readers! I had the awesome pleasure of receiving a personal invite to Cash Campain’s listening party for the new album Valley Hi, by Cash Campain himself. It was really awesome to sit down with Cash at Faultline Art Studios, where a lot of artistic Bay Area magic happens.
Cash had an awesome set up with great music, refreshments, massages (while listening to his two new singles, Jada and Holy Matrimony, which should be released toward the end of 2017), and his new miniseries Fast Food Monday playing in the background. I was able to sit down with cash and discuss his previous work as well as his new work. Keep reading for the juicy details!
What inspired this album?
Really mainly, it’s a journey album. Men, we go through periods where we are growing to become who we end up being. You go through your immature phase, your figuring it out phase, your I don’t care phase, and then you start to realize that the world is bigger than your window. You mature through all of that, and throughout time you meet people, you have experiences, you have relationships, and all those things and people get a snapshot of you. They don’t know the man you are five years from now, today. They just know you for the man you were five years ago. For example me now, I’m getting my PHD and I’m doing music. There was a time in my life when I was an athlete in college, it was all about basketball. So, a girl who dated me then would just know me as that guy. People who know me now would be like “I only know you as doing music. I didn’t even know you played ball”, it’s just different phases.
So, I grew up in a neighborhood called Valley Hi in Sacramento, CA. I was a lot of different people in that I was a young man in Valley Hi, discovering who I was as a man, figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. Even now when I go into the world, I live in the East Bay, I work, I got to school, but sometimes I’m still just a young man from Valley Hi. I’m from an urban neighborhood, people sold drugs, got killed, and got lost to certain lifestyles. Then I get to a snapshot of where I am now. Just to pay homage to my journey; where I came from, where I’m at now, and where I’m going, that’s what valley Hi stands for.
Now I listen to your previous work and I thought I caught a rap verse on there, but I could be wrong. Do you also rap?
Only sing! I’ve always been able to sing, but I started off rapping because I thought singing was too soft. I was young, I was like “I’m not trying to sing, I’m not trying to be this dude with an open shirt walking around the street all emotional”. But I’ve always loved R&B more than rap. I would get in the car with my teammates and blast the Boys II Men album with like four guys in the car and they would just be like “what is wrong with you”. I’ve always sung, I just would always sing to girls but never to make an album.
I feel like every artist finds their sound and who they are and when I gave into R&B, It was like, there’s nothing wrong with being soft. You can be tough and vulnerable with your feelings and some people wish they could be that way and that’s why they write songs about it instead.
How many tracks are on Valley HI?
I think 11. I haven’t actually counted. I listen to my album like all the time, but I haven’t just gone through and counted, but I think 11 or 12.
If our CSUITEMUSIC.COM readers only have the capacity to listen to 1 or 2 tracks on the Valley Hi Album, what should they listen to first?
Holy Matrimony and Jada, 2 songs you are going to hear today. I love the songs I make, they’re like my kids, but there are certain songs you feel like you didn’t make, you were gifted the song. I feel like God gives you every song, but God gives you some songs that are louder than others and that’s what I feel like Holy Matrimony and Jada are; They make you feel something, they say something, and they put you where you want to be.
How long did it take you to create Valley Hi?
Over a year. Some of the songs on the album I’ve been working on since last summer.
I was listening to your previous work and I kept thinking that you had a sound, something I haven’t heard in awhile. I feel like you have this Sammie vibe. Like 90’s baby type of get down, which for me, it took me back. R&B now is a little popish. I also feel like when it has that pop feel to it, it’s not us, it’s not for our culture but more so to be mainstream, but it’s not specifically for us like Solange’s album was for US.
It’s not emotional. There’s less feeling in it. I had a conversation with my brother who is a rapper. And he was like, “what you really have to do is ask yourself who your fans are”. Some people just want mainstream success, they just want to be famous. But in doing that you have to water your product down because everybody has to be able to like it. But then there are those artist who are unapologetically going to cater to their niche, they don’t need to sell out oracle. They’re fine with just doing 4000 at the fox theater, but those fans are really saying, “yo, that music really makes me feel something”. For me, Daniel Caesar is a big example of that. Daniel Caesar is unapologetically emotionally him. You may hear 1 or 2 songs from each album on the radio, but he’s fine with that because he’s making songs you’re going to remember.
I was listening to More Than You Love Yourself, which is about a woman who has a child. Can you tell me about that song?
More Than you Love Yourself is from my last album. That was a song about an underappreciated journey that a lot of people deal with. In my past I dated a woman who had a kid, we were really young and it was a totally different than dating a woman who can just go wherever she wants whenever she wants. Its like, this woman really literally has to go home every night. She has to find a babysitter, she has to make dinner - she has to be responsible. People look at dating a woman with a kid like it’s a bad thing, why is that a bad thing? Raising and taking care of a life is an admirable thing. You don’t have a problem with someone having a job working for a company that’s making them rich every day, but this person is literally creating a human life. Shaping their views, and it should be like “wow that’s a woman”, instead of “there goes a woman with a kid”. That’s why I wrote the song, celebrate that, celebrate that she’s taking care of her kids.
When you’ve gone through heartbreaks, do you write about the heartbreak to get over it?
It’s hard for me to make heartbreak songs when I am actually heart broken, it’s the craziest thing for me. If I make a song about being heartbroken, it’s like after I’m over the heartbreak But when I’m in the heartbreak, it’s like I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to make a song that’s the opposite of heartbroken.
It’s like when you’re mad and you don’t make sense but then after you’re over it, you can talk about how you feel. I’ve tried to make songs when I was heartbroken and it’s like bad, it’s almost like they’re too serious, it’s not even making sense, I put it out and people didn’t get it. You overthink sometimes and you’re talking about something that is only specific to you, so people can’t relate.
What do you want people to take away from your new album, Valley Hi?
I want you to have songs for your life. I want people to relate like “yo I’ve felt or feel that way about someone” or when you are going through or experiencing something, I want one of my tracks to be your soundtrack. I want my album to be associate with people’s lives.
“I’m not trying to make 90s R&B, I’m trying to make 90’s inspired R&B.”
- Cash Campain
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Michaela Green is a CSUITEMUSIC Blogger