America's Got Talent's Kameron Ross: Country Music's Pride

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Can you imagine being on America’s Got Talent, singing your heart out, and then Simon Cowell cuts you off? That’s exactly what happened to our guest on this episode of Metrosource Minis. BUT – what could have been a moment of disaster was actually a moment of triumph as singer-songwriter Kameron Ross continued his audition, singing acapella, and wowing every one of the judges. 

Kameron Ross started his country music journey at the age of 8. when his parents took him to his first concert to see Shania Twain at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. That experience changed his entire life, as he walked away knowing what he was meant to do in life. He soon began singing at local country music concerts that allowed budding artists the chance to make a name for themselves. In 2006, he put out an album produced by T.G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang called When I'm Done Lovin' You. In 2010, he played at A Day In The Country music fest in Houston, opening for The Band Perry, Miranda Lambert, and many other artists. Around the same time, he started to become more in tune with who he was as a person as well, eventually coming out as gay. Soon after Kameron put his country music career on hold after he noticed a loss of interest from the same people that had been booking him all these years.  

Last year, Kameron appeared on season 15 of NBC's America's Got Talent. Kameron excelled in the competition making it all the way to the live Quarter Finals. Today, Kameron is busy performing everywhere, releasing new music (now streaming), and just released remixes of his hit singles. 

On this episode, we chat about the pros and cons of getting in the music business at such an early age, staying true to his Texan roots, coming to terms with his sexuality and its effect on his career and family life, the reality of reality TV, country music fans and the LGBTQ community, his creative process, labels, and his Palm Springs debut…with host Alexander Rodriguez.  

This is metrosource Menny, the officialpodcast to Metro, scource, magazine and home of short form interviews with yourfavorite personalities from the lgbt world and beyond, quick fun andinformative. It's metral source on the go out in cousin. I well hello, hello, hello. This is MetroHorse Minies, I'm your host Alexander Rodrigues lead rider for Metrosource,an avid podcaster. Can you imagine being on America's got talent, singingand then Simon Cowell says stop. I cannot even imagine that's exactly whathappened to our guest on this episode of Metrosource Menes. But what couldhave been a moment of disaster was actually a moment of triumph. As singer.Songwriter Caminos continued his audition singing a Capella wowing.Every single one of those judges, Cameron Ross started his country musicjourney at the age of Eight, when his parents took him to see his firstconcert, the amazing Shania Twain, yes carm, and that experience changed hiswhole entire life. He knew right away that that's the music or that's theindustry that he wanted to get into, and so he soon began singing for localcountry, musics rodeos that really allowed budding country artists to makea name for themselves. In a two thousand and six, he put out his firstalbum produced by TJ shepherd and Kelly Lang called when I'm done loving youand we're not done love and Cameron Ross by the way, two thousand and tenhe played at a day in the country music fast in Houston, opening for the BandParry, Randa, Lambert and many more and around that same time he started tobecome more in tune to his sexuality. Howshall we say and that kind of put a damper on his music career as thebookings kind of stopped, and so he researched on season fifteen last yearon America's got talent excelled in the competition making it all the way tothe live quarter finals and today he's busy performing everywhere. He can postcovin releasing new music streaming everywhere by the way, includingremixes, of hits of his hits. Please welcome Mr Kavern Ross, hello, hello,hello, Howdy, how you doing you hate like every interview they are. Theylike tip their hats, so to speak to your country like hangout and you're,like isn't that cute never heard that? Oh No, I I Yallas my like one of mybiggest words that I am very fond of, so if I could use all, probably everyother, every other word, I probably would so now. I've had the joy of seen some ofyour very early footage. We're talking young cameron that some of these RodeosGod you were so young, not that your looks have changed but, like God, youwere young is gitting of scrawny things singing. I was a tippit. Yes, you were.I was not by the way jealous Hashtag Jalis, but what weresome of the benefits and what were some of them, not so great benefits aboutgetting into the music industry at such a young age. So at a young age it is you know my mom paid, my manager, so alot of the stuff that you know would happen with my music. My mom hada big influence on you, know, kind of what she felt was the right directionto go with things and she's. Also, at the same time, you know some of therisks that you might have taken. If you were, you know, if I was a little bitolder, might have not been taken when I was younger, because my mom has alwaysgot mom had on for some foremost, and so you know there's some things that youknow I might have missed out on opportunitiesbecause she was like you know. We can't have that or go down that road, but atthe same time you know she always had my best interest with it and getting itout of young age. I also feel like...

...you, don't have a good understandingfor who you are and kind of what the Path is that you wantto go on and, as you get older, your music matures your voice, matures things like that,so I was very fortunate to have a mature voice. I think it like thirteenyears old. I was singing songs by like Josh Turner, so I had a deeper voice ata very young age, but you know it's one of those things. I'm very grateful atthe same time, forgetting the experiences I was younger to help mebuild as a person being l who I am now in the am now so you know I kind of hada stage mom growing up as well. When I was in the theater world, you know ithas its positives and definitely does not. You know have it it's positive,but you know it's kind of weird to kind of be in that relationship with afamily member, because it's definitely mixing business and pleasure and thenthe roles kind of kind of get a little blurry. How did the rest of your family takethat with your mom spending so much time on focusing on your career, wherethey also supportive of you performing and kind of being the focus of thefamily so to speak? Yeah I mean my. I have an older sister and a youngersister and my younger sister played club volleyball. I don't know how my mom did it. If,like I was her age when she was doing this, I don't know if I'd be able to doit and spread myself that, then she would try to make every volleyball gameshe possibly can make for both of my sisters, and then you know make surethat she was supporting us in every way that she possibly could. But itdefinitely a lot of weekends were spent on me traveling to different towns like small towns,all over the place to seeing everywhere that we possibly could sometimes makingsome money. Sometimes you know we were out money just to get me the exposure, so it definitely it definitely at timesyou know can be rough when now that I'm older and kind of, notnecessarily in their shoes with kids but able to understand what it is thatthey have to juggle their job plus all their spare time for themselves and notgetting any of that because they're focusing on you know our dreams andtrying to make those come true. So it definitely made me, as I'm older,appreciate, that more and know that, like you know as a kid, you know, yourparents always say you're going to appreciate this when you're older andas a kid. You never believe that- and it's always like the worst thing inthat moment, but I definitely have a good appreciation for it. Now, I'm nothing from looking at yourearlier footage. You know we have this kind of conception of what a young gatekid looks like you know what are some of the mannerisms? What are there somestereotypes right and a lot of times the stereotype is filled, but I have tosay in looking at your early footage. It was so country, not anything that Iwould like pinpoint be like. Oh He's, gonna come out some day so have in thisenvironment. Did you start to come into tune with your sexuality? When did youfirst kind of realize it wasn't like the other boys and what they were? Youknow attracted to yeah. So as I was younger, you know I grew uphunting. I grew up fish and all that stuff and you know weekends when I hadmoments that were spent at the ranch and all of that, so you know I wasalways that man's man kind of Er that boy that you know dad was takeneverywhere, doing all all the all the mainly stuff, and I you know worecowboy boots. I wore the the stereotypical like rangler cowboycowboy boots, the wranglers, the cowboy hat, the only thing that was a littlebit different is, I had very long hair, which was a choice and a lot of work atthe same time. But you know I remember growing up, not really knowinglike, let's say, for example, once I...

...got to high school, I didn't know it was gay. I remember I got picked on being calledgay all of the time, but it wasn't something that I necessarily knew,because I had a girlfriend. You know and all that stuff- and I wasinterested in dating girls and- and I remember one day specifically that Ihad it was three family members. They were all cousins, they kind ofcornered me after school. There was nobody around and were like pushing meback and forth and like really picking on me until my sister walked up so mysister, my older sister is like six one and she's a very big boneded girl, andso she like she is one that can intimidate somebody at that point intime, and so I remember her kind of getting me out of that situation and menot knowing what to think because all like you know these three other guysare like picking on me. Calling me gay things like that, and I didn't myselfknow that, and it wasn't until I got into my kind of late teens early tiesthat you know that interest kind of came and the exploration of that came,and it definitely was one of those things that I I don't want to say. Ifought, but at the same time I did fight because you know you hear about like people not beingaccepted being gay and things like that, and so I think I had a fear of that atthe same time, and so it definitely was hard, especially, you know, growing upa little bit more country in a bigger city to do that, but, like now looking at that, I wish youknow I would have came to terms with stuff and accepted it a little bit moresooner and kind of defend it myself on who I wasnow. How did your coming out?How did that affect your relationship with your mom, with the music industryat large, so my my mom took it a little bit hard. I kind of ran off for a weekend anddidn't say anything with a boy. I don't think I've ever told the story beforeand you know ran off and I kind of disappeared for a little bit and my momonce I kind of told her took it very hard. You know it. She just didn't understand that you know why I've kind of choosing thispath, and it was one of those things that at that point in time, like I knew kindof once, I came out to her that you know I was gay. You know it's just who I am, and so Ikind of gave her a little bit of an ultimatum and you know told her. It waskind of a this. Is I can't change this and you either want me in your life orit's something that you know if we can't see each other as much justbecause we don't see it eye on this situation that maybe it's something that we need totake a break from, and she it took a little bit of you know herkind of trying to open her mind and accept it, and now my mom is asking me now that I'm dating my partner Leo Okay,when are you all getting engaged? When is this happening so she's likecompletely comfortable with me being gay and I'm extremely proud of it? Mywhole family is my sisters. You know they didn't bat, an eye when I toldthem my dad was probably really cool. Like probably one of the coolest, youknow dad situations with it. He wasn't like. Okay, like you know, this is a nowe're going to disown you or anything. He was very accepting and receptive of of me being gay. So and it definitely,I had a little bit of a rough start...

...with it, but in the end it after alittle bit of time they came around and then with music coming out. You knowit's one of those things that I was posting a social media about me beinggay a little bit more and then that's when I start to see a shift in. You know gigs like me, not gettingbooks, certain places or small town bar that used to book me as at booking meanymore, kind of things, and after some years you know after some time I stopped kind of posting about who I am,I kind of withdrew that a little bit and try to focus on music and myselfand try to figure all that out like which direction. What I was going to donext and that's when you know kind of really pursued you know, I'm a hundredpercent happy with WHO I am. I think music is a dream that I've been afterforever and it's not something I want to quit on following so I've just kind of really tried tobecome an advocate to push who I am as a person, but at thesame time do everything that I would have done. Knowing that you know I am gay andthere's absolutely not a problem with that at all you're still so proud of being Texan.You live in Texas, you're in the country, music circuit, you're single.If I could go back, really celebrates it's a love song to to the home townlife to the actual hometown. At that you grew up in for my Super Gayperspective, I'm like if that kind of environment had shunned me in any way.I would be like by girl I'm going to La, but this is an environment that youstill are thriving in that you that you ascribe yourself to how come you didn't just break away andand run away, and you know you're still kind of in it, so to speak, yeah, I you know, I went off to college in a small town in Texas and so a verycollege, town and very very country, and so that was I was allowed to kindof express myself a little bit more there. But you know I I didn't. I guess the unknown of going toa different place and completely leaving everything behind is what kindof kept me here at that moment, and you know when I came out. Just not youknow, packer my bag and leave in town, but you know I completely adore myfamily. My family is amazing, so not having them. There would have beenrough and having their support, but at the same time you know I got away andmoved around all over Texas at the same time to really figure out some things for myself. Okay: Let's talk about America's Godtalent. I remember when you hit the scene, it was during Ovid. You knowthis Texas boy here you know filming in La and all the lights and the camerasand the action and all this what l was going through your mind, minutes beforeStan being on stage, and how did they prepare you for your audition? So you you kind of talk with when itcomes down to agt preparing for the audition is a Hu,huge process, you're working with production and they're, asking for amillion things and you're running through a million songs to get like theright song, that's good for them, but also good for yourself and kind of sift through tons of songsuntil you kind of hit that one that hits right for everyone and then that'skind of where we go. And then, when you get to start when you, when I got to La youkind of go into this holding room where youjust sit, it's a lot of wait, wait, wait, go, go, go, and so you would do all your interviews, allkind of like your bee roles. Things like that, and then your rehearsal, you would have arehearsal you work with the music team...

...and you'd have a rehearsal if you're asinger or a musician and then kind of run through that kind of stuff, andthen, when it came down to the time of the actual audition, I think I was the I for sure was the last person onstage when it came down to the filming, and then I I think I was like the second or third tolast person to audition for the entire season, so leading up to that you just I am-was super nervous. When I kind of came out and my partnerLi o was with me, and so you know I, it was very unsure because my wholefamily was there and they got rid of the crowd. So they were like nobody isable to come back stage, so it was just myself and I had. I thought I was goingto have no support from the side stage and they allowed my partner to comeback with me. So it was a big hug going out for him and just kind of taking adeep breath, and I think you know looking back in myaudition little bit. I might have had a little bit of nerves in there, but I mean the people you're, seeing infront of or just normal that mean there. There are other people there are otherhumans. There's no reason I look back at it. There's no reason for you to benervous. You just need to go out there and kind of do your thing. I don'tthink Simon cow is human. I don't know he has some big pool andthese reality TV shows in the industry out in La for sure, but yeah. It's kind of nerve, rackinggoing out there and seeing them like Sophia is stunning. Heidi wasn't there for my auditionbecause she was sick, and this was like the peak of Ovid and everythingshutting down, so they she wasn't there for the shooting, but for my auditionand then Terry cruize is so nice and like superpumped all the time, so he's a super cool guy and then Simon yeah, I, likethe one person I wanted to impress with Sin Mon and it kind of really workedpretty well with my audition. So I'm very very happy with how out come there.I definitely would say you impress them now. What did you learn about yourself,the most from going through that reality, TV experience the most, I would say the reality TV like it,definitely isn't what a lot of people would think it was just looking fromall to looking at it from TV. You know watching the show. You think you knowyou kind of get casted and you walk on stage and you go to audition, there'sso much that goes into it. Your go through multiple editions prior to making the actual TV part of it and kind of you know. If you, you could goto audition, but you might not be broadcasted on TV things like that, sothere's so many decisions that are going on and if I had to give it kindof advice- and the one thing I learned is, I would definitely stick with yourguns when it comes down to who you are so like, if you're really feelingpassionate about a song that you want to do, and you feel like this is a homerun. Then that is something that you need tolike. It's just that gut feeling that you know that this is right, thenthat's something that you need to push for, because you have a million peopletrying to give their opinions, as so, especially if you're a singer what youshould be singing- and I think that you know if I had anotherchance going back to reality, TV that I would really push for what I believe inwhen it comes down to the audition song and the music and stuff like that Cameron. We've really seen a boom incountry, music, singers, coming out as part of the LGBTQ community. Do youthink country music fans? Do you think that fan base t is more progressive intheir acceptance of the community, or...

...do you think now? Their fan base hasshifted to the LGBTQ and the LGBTQ country music fan base kind of like just with like the like country, music in general, withtheir acceptance of it or yes, yeah. You know, I definitely feel like we'reon the right direction. We're going down the right path and I think peopleare noticing that they're more comfortable with it now that it's beinga little bit more accepted, but we have like a lot of work, especially in thecountry, music industry. With that acceptance, I think we stillhave a long ways to go with it, but it's one of those things that I thinkpeople are finding out that they'd rather be happy with who they are anddo what they love to do versus looking back ten years from now and regrettingnot not doing that at all, you know, so I definitely think we're on the goingdown the right direction with everything I look at somebody. I'vebeen following for years, name Brook Eden who came out recently as a lesbian,and you know she has a huge support fromher from like Treshi or wood and Garth Brooks and which, like means the worldto me, to see somebody like Garth Brooks and Trisha would stand behindher, so so sternly. So I think we're heading in the right direction. I thinkpeople just need to really open up their minds becausewe're not different than any other person just because we love somebody ofthe same sex. I have to talk about coming out and being labelled. You know,I talk a lot about labels because I think there's pros and cons to labels-and you know there's like this wild factor when people like me interview oryou know glad or what have you it's like, wow openly gay country, music.You know there's so many dichotomies going on there and it's a fun, not fun.That's the wrong word, it's a very energetic kind of buzz word and topic,because it is kind of unusual as were progressing. But my question is: is that's where thefocus is kind of? Is Your sexuality in terms of your career rather than career,and then sexuality kind of being a part of that? What are some things aboutyour life that you wish people in the media would start asking you or givingan opportunity to talk about that are not necessarily directly related toyour being gay. You know, I definitely understand whatyou're saying like it shouldn't be like a headline of something you know like country, music, openly gay country,music, Singer things like that. You know you would think we you know weseen countries like we're just like any other person. That is straight Hetero.You know that since country music- I I definitely I definitely you know- wouldlove to think that you know within the near future that that wouldn't be such, I guess kind of deal with with headlines and thingslike that. It's you know we're human, like anybody else, I don't know, that's a hard question toask. I haven't really really thought about that too hard and deeply when itcomes down to you know, I see myself as any other person out there and it shouldn't make any anydifference that were gay or that I am Gay, but I definitely you know, fill that you know it shouldn't. I wantto be known as Cameron Ross, that country singer and not came Ross. Thegay country singer because right the INGA shouldn't matter. I think that's always been a big dealto me and I think that was part of my coming out.

Thought process is like I don't want tobe known as, like you know, just a gay singer. I am a gay singer. I am like gay metal. Ising country music, but you know it shouldn't matter. I seen country musicand should have the same opportunities to make radio without that stipulationon me. Let's talk about your creative processwhen writing a song. Are you writing the lyrics down on a Napkin at a bar?Are you writing it out in a journal? What comes for us is? Is it the melody?What what's happening when you start working on a brand new song? Oh it's alittle bit of everything either, sometimes where I've got a melody in my head and I startlike humming it and the second. I start doing that. I know that I have to pullout my phone and start recording it. Otherwise that thought process is kind of gone like, and I want tomake sure that I get it down and then I can work on it from there m and then Iadd kind of lyrics behind that, once I've kind of got that melody thought through, but there's also beentimes where I woken up in the middle of the night and I've written down lyrics,because you know I might have had a dream or thought of something or I'mjust sitting in bed and kind of going. So it just depends. I've been also inthe studio where you know something just felt right to kind of go a certain direction with lyrics once you're building out this song so definitely different creativeprocesses to it. But I've also sat down in a room with other writers and youkind of go in there with the focus, and you know you kind of come in with eachother's ideas and you're like I want to write about this. I have this idea andthen you just kind of hit it off from there trying to come up with lyrics andthen creating a melody on top of that, or vice versa. So it's definitelymultiple creative outlets with it. But if I find a good hook, I run withit and I try to get as much done as I possibly can until that kind of thoughtis out and if we get something good out of it, amazing, if it's something thatI have to sit down and come back to that's also stuff I've done as well. Now you are coming to southernCalifornia October, fourteenth you're, making your Palm Springs, dig Bu atOscar's Palm Springs. It's going to be an evening of music interview of Fan qand a are you nervous that I'll B at all about making your debut for us soCalifornians? I am I've never been to palm springs. Ithink the closest I've been is to La or Vegas,and so I'm super excited. I've heard wonderful things about the city, so I I'm a little bit nervous. I feellike before every show that I do. I have a little bit of nerves out there,but it's like the second that I start singing and that first word comes out.All the nerves are gone and you just kind of relax and go with the flow. So I definitely am super excited super excited to kind of perform andthen also explore the town just a little bit andand kind of really take in everything palm springs. Has I mean it's amazingand I'm going to be there to show you round down. I hope we survive. I hopein I'll get thrown in jail again. I'm if we do we'll have a good story totell and probably a new single twill do what you wet with my Cazan, no real fast. What is your process? Youknow the audience is going to be there and you're going to be backstage.What's happening like, what's your warmup ritual, how do you get yourselfsyce up? What are you doing back stage a half hour before the show? I definitely I try to warm up my voiceahead of time and right now. My allergies are going crazy with thisTexas weather being hot and cold. So...

...it's very important to make sure thatyou know my vocals are right, where they need to be there's a good chance that I might takea shot before I go out just to kind of release those nerves a little bit, but at the same time you know, I'malways always, and I think my partner will back this up- I'm always one to be likeyou know, I just don't forget those lyrics and if I do, then we kind ofmake them up a little bit and we go with it and make sure that we have funwith it. But you know we always ends up working out in the end, but Idefinitely try to talk myself up and hide myself up as much as I possiblycan. My main focus is to make sure that you know I deliver a good concert andeverybody has a good time. Well, I can't wait to be there. I can'twait for your pump springs, debut, tell everybody where you want them to findyou and follow you. You can follow me and find me anywhere on social media atCameron Ross and that's camera with the K and then link. Excuse me, facebookInstagram, I was about to say, link in anywhere on social media can fit mecameron, Ross Youtube, spotify, all that good stuff. Thank you. Thank you. So much, and this has been my chat with CameronRoss. You can read my intent article with him in the latest issue ofMetrosource, available on new stands or cross the nation or at Metrosource, andthat's our episode. I'm your host Alexandra Rodrigues lead rider formetrosource. You can follow me at Instagram at Alexander's on air untilnext time stay true, and do you boo. That has been another metrosource. Manylike share subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latestissue. Metrosource magazine on new stands or online at metacom. Follow uson Facebook, instagram and that resource and on twiner. That's a courseman until next time, a.

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