The Cayuga Sound Friday After Party, co-sponsored by Ithaca Underground, promises to be a thrilling night at The Haunt tomorrow, September 21st, with a lineup including Elucid, Space Clubs, Lazy Bones and Myles Cameron. At just 21 years, the final artist on that list is already making waves. His most popular song, “Caged Bird,” has nearly 600,000 plays on Spotify. With a self-described genre of a melting pot, drawing from pop, R&B, hip hop, and indie-electronic, his beats are calm and his lyrics rhythmic.
Looking at this trending song, one can easily see the poetic tendencies in his writing. While his rhyme scheme is inconstant, he effortlessly maintains a steady flow with near-rhymes, repetition and alliteration. Even in the pronunciation of his words, the stresses and non-stresses display his syllabalic cadence. His verses seem free from restrictive form, commonly thought to be an aspect of poetry, and instead thrive in lines differing in length and enjambment of ideas, breaking them up beautifully from line to line. But then the poetry chimes back in with the brilliant use of metaphor and simile.
“And as for my feelings for you, envelope them in titanium / They can’t get through, can’t bother me with trivialities / And if they ever flew, they won’t go anywhere / Those metal walls, yeah, they bite back / And I’d watch as feathers tear.” It’s easy to see Cameron’s use of metaphor in Caged Bird, as the bird represents his feelings for a past lover — he cages them up, because it is the easiest thing to do. The slow beats to his songs match the thoughtful lyricism, and allow the ideas behind the music to take center stage. Myles gives his producer, Frankis, a couple chords and Frankis fills them out.
I was lucky enough to speak to this young artist before his performance this Friday. He replied candidly when asked about his writing process, “I usually like to start with the hook. To me if a song doesn’t have a good hook, it’s not a good song. I’ve been writing songs for a while now so it sometimes feels like I’ve built up the songwriting muscle.” His growing comfort in writing is apparent, as each song he writes carries more behind the face of his words.
Cameron is taking some time off of school this fall to focus on his music. His work is extremely important to him, but music wasn’t always his passion, “My parents signed me up for piano lessons as a kid, and I kinda hated it to be honest,” he explained. Most of us can relate to forced music lessons and the tedious exercises we never expected to prove useful. (I myself quit the drums after just four lessons, when I realized I’d never get the hang of the drum roll.) But, thankfully, Cameron stuck it out and really found his calling in “writing my own songs. That’s the exciting part to me: making something that triggers emotions and images. Interpreting symbols on a page isn’t the same thrill.” Creating his own content is when he really understood his affection for music. This affection was further brought out by inspirations such as Frank Ocean and FKA Twigs.
Cameron just released his newest single, “Picket Fences,” on September 13th, just eight days before his gig at The Haunt, a pretty professional move heading into a live performance. Cameron described the song as his own favorite, saying that it draws from a quote by “the incredible and legendary author Zora Neale Hurston, ‘I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.’ Overall, the song was inspired by my insecurities about being black and growing up in the suburbs. I never really felt like I fit in with white people because I was black, and never really felt like I fit in with black people because I grew up around all white people.” The power of this inspiration surges through the song, breathing vitality into it with each line and repetition. Cameron plans on performing this potent song at his gig this Friday, along with many other favorite pieces, including some of his new stuff. “I’ll be playing a few songs for the first time, sort of testing them out,” said Cameron.
With many plans for the future, this promising young artist is just getting started. “I’ll be releasing another single in the winter, and then a whole new project in Spring,” he told me. It’s not just music on the way; he aims to have a lot of visual content for his audience soon, too. With all of his talents to impress, Cameron earnestly remains humble. When asked about his intent for his listeners, he casually replied, “The music I’m currently working on is just supposed to be happy and mellow. I mostly just want them to feel good while listening.”
AJ Stella is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.