FROM THE ARCHIVES: Kameron Corvet on Sting and Shaggy, the Grammys + more
Regular readers of Slo*Mo may notice that the focus of this article — Kameron Corvet — has graced the front of our print magazine more than any other artist since we hit the scene in 2013. His frequent appearances in our publication, however, aren’t due to favoritism or payola or anything ethically skewed like that. The fact is, the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter/musician just always has some dope stuff on tap.
Whether that’s one of the host of albums he’s dropped over the years (starting with his 2006 debut “Sayingthings”) or live performances he’s presented at venues across the globe, Corvet is one indie artist who stays working. Last year was an especially banner year for him, particularly because he served as a writer for the song “Don’t Make Me Wait,” the first single from the reggae album “44/876” by music legends Sting and Shaggy. The song (which was co-created along with Sting, Shaggy, Ashante Reid, Shaun Pizzonia and Kennard Garrett) and the album went on to be international hits … and ultimately earned the coveted Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. We checked in with Corvet back in 2019 to get his thoughts on the major moves he made in 2018 and his plans for the future.
Slo*Mo: From the outside looking in, it seemed like you had a great 2018. Would that be an accurate assessment of this past year for you?
Kameron Corvet: I think last year was a year that, despite being an artist — and artists can be selfish a lot of times, I found myself playing a supporting role, while still doing my own artistry. So, on one hand, I was playing support for two artists [Sting and Shaggy] who’ve had long careers — not just flash in the pan type situations — and I was able to kind of be an apprentice, if you will, and get a sneak peek at what it really looks like when you’re trying to leave a lasting impression on the music industry. But at the same time, I found myself getting opportunities as an artist that I’ve never had before. I’ve had way more shows in, let’s say, 2017 than in 2018, but the quality of shows that I did in 2018 was just crazy. I mean, I did my first arena show last year, and it happened to be in my hometown, opening up for Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, Hi Tek and Erykah Badu was the headliner. And I also opened for Ty Dolla Sign, Robert Glasper and Raheem DeVaughn last year. I think I made tremendous strides as an artist, even though I didn’t put out any music until the end of the year. And obviously working with Sting and Shaggy and having that culminate with a Grammy, I look at 2018 as one of the best years I ever had — but in a different way than before.
Your work on the Sting and Shaggy project definitely must have been game-changing for you.
I only have one song on the album, but the significance of that song is really tenfold. Because [initially] there was not an album, there was just a song. I composed the song here in Atlanta in my apartment on acoustic guitar, and I wrote the chorus for the song. And then as the song traveled, it picked up pieces. And then Shaggy added his piece, and Sting added his piece and so on and so forth — and it becomes this thing. That was actually the reason they came together … the first time ever coming into the studio together was to work on that song. So, that song brought them together … and that motivated them to turn that song into an album, and it took off from there. There’s quite a big significance to my contribution to the project, and it opened some doors for me I’m proudly going to walk through.
So how did it feel when you heard you were nominated for a Grammy?
It felt great. The night before [the awards were announced] I was doing that show with Robert Glasper at Center Stage in Atlanta. … The next day I woke up and looked on my phone and the announcement had been made — and boom [the album] was there. It was like a double whammy, having done a great show the night before and then finding out about the nomination. The album was the No. 1 reggae album in the country for 21 weeks out of the year, so I knew there was some steam behind it. … [The nomination] finally happening was a weight off my shoulders to some degree; a lot of my contemporaries are Grammy-nominated, so I got to join that club. But obviously I was looking to bring a chip home once the ceremony actually happened.
Looking forward, what do you have planned for 2019? New music? Touring?
Man, all of the above. … For me, there definitely will be some shows happening. I will be starting to do more things in Atlanta on a consistent basis. So, I’m looking to establish a residency somewhere. And I’ll be looking to use the residency to build things locally, while at the same time heading out and doing shows in some other markets. I also have some new music coming out probably by the end of February, and there’ll be a new push and a nice re-branding going on. Just a new concerted plan.
From an organizational standpoint, are you shifting around the team you work with this year?
My team has probably, in the past 12 months, changed three times — maybe four. You’d think once you get to a certain level those things really line up. But man, finding that person or those people who really get what it is you are doing and know how to help you execute is very difficult. … But I’ve got a team now that I’m building; it’s a very small team, but when you trust the people you are working with and you see eye-to-eye and you speak the same language, it makes going after a common goal that much easier.
Well, lastly, forecasting out: Where do you want to be creatively and/or business-wise by the end of 2019?
I’m really trying to establish what it looks like for someone who is not necessarily in the hip-hop genre to establish himself in a business capacity. Look at an artist like Childish Gambino: Is he an actor, is he a rapper, is he a writer, is he a comedian? He’s all of the above. It’s music, but music is the bait — music is the access point for a lot of people. In 2019, you’re going to see the integration of a lot of facets of Kameron Corvet. I’ve got a TV show I’m working on that’s starting to come together. More songs as well: I’m getting a lot of songwriting opportunities for other artists both here and internationally. And there’ll be more music than last year from me — original music that’s going to challenge my listeners. I plan on having at least one more Grammy nomination going into 2020. I’d like to be able to be my best me in 2019.
— Carlton Hargro