Monday, December 21, 2009

Interview With Kim Cameron

After working in the corporate world for many years, Kim Cameron decided to give her dream of becoming a musician a shot. Cameron said, “I didn’t want to be laying on my death bed wondering, ‘ I wonder what would have happened if I actually pursued music?’” Cameron went on to form a band called Side FX using the Bon Jovi model. Now with the success of their first CD and a new CD, “Turning Point”, on the way, Cameron has many exiting things in store for the future. Below is a selection of questions and answers from a recent interview with Kim Cameron.

Ashley: How did you get started in the music industry?

Kim: I have always been in music one way or another. I was in cover bands, but before cover bands I did marching band and choir. When I jumped out of cover bands I started getting involved in production and developing an entire music product. I also learned how to sell and market the product. So now I guess I am officially in the music business but I was always on the outskirts of it for as long as I can remember.

Ashley: How did you get your start with the band you are in now, Side FX?

Kim: I formed the band a couple years ago. The members came together by word of mouth - I said I was looking for top-notch drummers, etc. I knew I wanted to be the band leader and create something close to the Bon Jovi model. That model is basically where he, Jon Bon Jovi did all the hiring of the musicians himself. The end result was a band that was hand-picked and have stuck together for many years. So as I started hiring I said look here is the deal, I take all the risks and I’m happy to pay you guys and your welcome to be part of the band but this is the model I would like to follow. Getting people to agree under the best circumstances is challenging but this is the model I chose and I think the band likes it better too because there is only one person to get irritated with (laughs).

Ashley: I read in a magazine interview that your brother-in-law had cancer and that pushed you to pull away from the corporate world and pursue music. What exactly clicked to make you want to pursue music?

Kim: Well it was a touch and go weekend. It was liver cancer and if they didn’t get it in time he was going to die within weeks and the survival rate of that cancer is only like 30 percent. He is lucky enough to be part of that 30 percent which is what is so great about it. So the reflection I had wasn’t that he was going to die because I knew he would live. The experience made me think ‘ why am I doing something I hate.’ Hate is a strong word but when you come home everyday and you feel like crap because you are doing something you don’t want to do I realized I needed to make a change. I didn’t want to be laying on my death bed wondering, ‘ I wonder what would have happened if I actually pursued music?” I didn’t want to be in that place and have regrets. So, I just figured life is too short and I needed to graduate from the dredge I was in of waking up every morning and working for someone who doesn’t care if I work for them.

Ashley: Did your experience in the corporate world prepare you for the music industry in any way?

Kim: Absolutely! The music industry is insane and its filled with a lot of business and non-business people. I think my experience with the business side has allowed me to accelerate what I'm creating in the music industry. What I have been able to accomplish in two short years, if you compare me to other artists, just isn’t done. There are a lot of talented people and I don’t think my talent is any better then anyone else’s but it’s the business background that has allowed me to 180 miles per hour when everyone is trying to get up to 30 miles per hour because they don’t know how to take the next step and do the next thing. The music industry is like a traditional business model, you know, you have to develop a product, market the product, reach out to consumers, change your tactic if something doesn’t work and that’s my background. I understood all the parts it takes to do what you want to do and sell products.

Ashley: Why is performing music live more challenging than in a studio?

Kim: You have all the factors going against you at every show. Sound always works a different way depending on the venue and we are usually setting it up for the first time. Everyone has their own way of hearing the sound when they are up on stage. The mix that the sound guys put in my monitor has to be a certain way to give me the confidence to perform how I want to. Its all about working through the mistakes and covering them up when performing live. There are just too many factors that you have to accommodate every time you perform live, including the audience. In a studio things are controlled and if they don’t work out well one day then you come back (laughs) and do it differently the next day. It’s a lot easier in the studio because I have never gotten nervous going into a studio and I cant say that for a live performance.

Ashley: What other artists inspire you?

Kim: Oh my gosh there are so many. The first one is probably Dave Matthews. If I could be him in a live performance with his big fat lovable sound on stage I would love that! I love his big bold sound and he is just a great performer. The artists that I have seen live inspire me much more than on a CD because performing live is much more challenging then being in a studio. I saw Alicia Keys and I loved how she worked her vocal magic on stage. As a performer, Cher is great. She knows how to make a performance look good and she sings and lights up the stage. You always feel very connected to her regardless of how big the auditorium is and that’s really magical. The most enjoyable show I have been to and influenced by is Bare Naked Ladies because they are so funny. You laugh and enjoy the music. So those are probably the biggest influences all for different reasons.

Ashley: How would you describe your music to someone who may not have heard you before?

Kim: Probably like a female doors or a Carly Simon with some edge combined with a little bit ofcowboy junkies, those are probably what I can compare SideFX to. I do have some big sounds that people say reminded them of Fleetwood Mac, but that would be more on the first album than the second.

Ashley: What has been your most memorable experience that has come along with your music?

Kim: The one that is probably the most humorous to me was last March I was performing at the Cherry Blossom Festival and I was trying to look “springy”. I was wearing spring colors and the clothes were on the lighter side and it just happened to be super cold that day. I had my gloves on but I was extremely cold and the wind was so bad and you could see your breath. By the middle of my performance, my legs started shaking and then my teeth started shaking. When you are on stage you usually walk around and look comfortable, but my legs were shaking so bad I was walking just to keep them warmed up. I was trying to figure out if people could see just how uncomfortable I was. So that was my most memorable experience and it taught me that if I am going to performing outside I need to dress appropriately.

Ashley: Have you heard your songs on the radio and if so what was the first time hearing a song on the radio like?

Kim: I have and it was weird, really weird! It was like oh that’s me. It was weird in a good way but shocking.

Ashley: What is the best part about the industry

Kim: You get to do what you want to do.

Ashley: What is the hardest part?

Kim: Getting people to decide that you are worth listening to.

Ashley: How do you overcome that obstacle?

Kim: I’m still overcoming it (laughs). There are so many people out there trying to get people to listen to their music that just getting in front of that pure volume is challenging. Someone on Sony gets on average 200 CDs a day. So picture walking into these rooms with CDs piled up and you have to try and get him to listen to you. Even if he does listen to you, how will he remember what you sounded like compared to all the others. It’s the volume that you are competing against and trying to get people attention. I feel like I’m in a family of 100 and I am number 19 or something. Its like “mom please pay attention to me” and its really hard to get that.

Ashley: What is your biggest piece of advice for upcoming artists?

Kim: Be very very patient and keep working it. It’s very easy to get frustrated and its really easy to just say “you know what, I will just do something else.” With every two steps you take you will take at least one step backward and I am still getting that and I have had a lot of success. People who write music or play music, they are very touchy -feely people and it’s very easy to hurt their feelings. You just have to push your feelings aside and trudge forward.

Ashley: Do you have any major goals or future plans?

Kim: Well, major goal is to sell this second album like it’s nobody’s business. Major plans include a world tour that starts right after the Grammys.

Check out the Side FX at:

Check out Kim Cameron at:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Joe Theismann Interview

If you are a long time Redskin’s fan, have seen the recent movie Blindside or have been to the restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia bearing the name “Theismann's”, then you most likely know of whom I was privileged to speak with the other day. Known for having the NFL’s “Most Shocking Moment in History”, Joe Theismann has accomplished and conquered many goals and obstacles in his life. From an amazing football career which included a single tackle that ended it, to owning a restaurant and working for NFL.TV and hosting his own Sunday morning sports show in the DC area, Joe Theismann is definitely someone to be admired and respected. Below is a selection of questions from my phone interview with Joe Theismann.

Ashley: What was your favorite sport to play in high school?

Theismann: My Favorite sport was actually baseball. I grew up doing it before I played football. I started playing organized baseball before I was 7 years old and I aspired to become a professional Baseball player.

Ashley: What were your top choices for colleges to play football?

Theismann: I had 5 that I narrowed it down to. Penn State, UNC, NC State, Wakeforest. I originally signed at University of North Carolina. It has always been a great mystery to me as to why I chose that school. But then I took a trip to Notre Dame and I can't really give you a specific reason other then I felt like that’s where I belonged. It was a gloomy Indiana day when I went to visit to the school but it just felt that’s where I decided to go.

Ashley: Why did you decide to turn down a major league baseball offer to pursue a career in the Canadian Football League?

Theismann: In baseball you have A, AA, AAA ball and all the different graduating grades of being able to play at the professional level. Where as, in football you are either in or you are out. I felt that if things didn’t work out in a year or so, I could fall back on baseball but you cant go the other way around. But it turned out football was ok and worked for me.

Ashley: How did the CFL prepare you to play for the Redskins?

Theismann: It allowed me to continue to work on my physical skills. The games are a little different; In Canada you only have 3 downs and the field's bigger. Yet, I was still able to run and throw and think my way through football games and I think that helped me.

Ashley: Can you describe what it is like to play in a Superbowl game.

Theismann: It's indescribable. If anyone could just dream a dream, whatever it is, and all of the sudden the imagine that you dream is coming true, that’s what it feels like. I have wonderful memories from playing in the Superbowl.

Ashley: What do you feel is your greatest football accomplishment?

Theismann: Oh I would say winning the world championship. Its something you dream about as a kid. To be part of a world championship football team is very special. To be apart of any organization that is the best at what it does is very special. So that is my favorite football memory.

Ashley: Do you have a record you are most proud of?

Theismann: Yeah I played in 163 consecutive football games as a professional. I am a big believer in showing up for work no matter what. I say this to young people - if you go to school everyday, you will learn something. So, if you show up for work your going to learn something. If you are an athlete and you show up at practice, you will learn something new everyday.

Ashley: I’m sure you get asked this question all the time, but can you still remember and describe what happened the day that Lawrence Taylor sacked you and broke your leg.

Theismann: I remember it like it was yesterday. As a matter of fact, if you see the Blindside you can see it in the first few seconds of the movie.

Ashley: Have you seen the Blindside?

Theismann: Yes, it’s a great movie. They called me and told me they were going to use that clip and I had no problem with it. I have to tell you I couldn’t watch it, but I closed my eyes and listened to the audience reactions.

Ashley: Did you know at that point that your career would be over?

Theismann: No, not at all. I had broken a number of bones in my body. As a matter of fact, I had broken my right leg in 1972 when I was playing in the CFL. So for me, I thought it would be overcoming another injury.

Ashley: What is your relationship like with Lawrence Taylor now? Did you guys keep in touch after the injury?

Theismann: We are friends and we play golf together. We laugh about it. He always gives me a lot of grief saying, oh I wasn’t very good anyway and because of the insurance policy I owe him 10% because he made me a lot of money.

Ashley: How did you bounce back from the Injury that ended your football career?

Theismann: I just went back to my training as an athlete and dealt with the situation with perseverance. It was like when I went to the University of Notre Dame, I was 152 pounds and they told me I was too small. So when you get hurt you have people telling you that your career is over and you can't accomplish anything. I have always been a person who is very prideful. If you tell me I can’t do something, you are motivating me to do it.

Ashley: What made you want to open up a restaurant while you were playing in the NFL?

Theismann: Some guys came to me about putting my name on a restaurant. I thought about it and it seemed like a fun thing to do. I didn’t have an economic commitment to it. It was sort of neat having your name up on a sign. I would have my teammates come in and they could eat for free the first time but then had to pay for it. I used to go a lot but not so much anymore. Being involved in the restaurant business, really for me, was a great opportunity to learn about people and the world of business. It was a great lesson for me.

Ashley: What did you learn about the Restaurant industry?

Theismann: You learn how to buy, learn how to order food, about people showing up and not showing up to work, keeping a place clean. My whole motto with the restaurant is basically what we want to do is have a home for people. The cleanliness, quality of food, and the way people should be treated are all very important to the restaurant. Those are just some of the things you learn.

Ashley: What is your favorite item on the menu?

Theismann: I do, it’s the Spiral chicken. It’s a Spiral cream-based pasta with chunks of chicken in it. For the 27 odd years I have had the restaurant, the food consistency has been the same. That is actually what I am most proud of for my restaurant; the quality of the food has never changed.

Ashley: How did you get involved working at NFL TV? What is your job like there?

Theismann: They came to me and offered me an opportunity to be on the play book show. I had been out of professional football for three years and so it gave me a chance to get back into the game I loved. We talk about all the football games and the NFL. We break down the games and talk about the concepts and players. You know, football is a very complex game and you can take it a lot deeper then people just doing television.

Ashley: Do you have advice for future football players trying to go to the NFL?

Theismann: Yeah, get your education because it’s a game that requires a lot of intellect. Also, understand your responsibility to society. You’re going to be a role model and treat people like you want to be treated. Respect the game and respect the people that play the game and respect the people that are involved in the game. And finally, there is absolutely no substitute for hard work.

Ashley: Do you have advice for people trying to break into media, especially sports?

Theismann: If you want to get involved in broadcasting, the important thing to do is really find a job with a local television channel. Learn what it's like behind the camera and in front of the camera. Truthfully, if your school offers courses in broadcast journalism, I would advise that. Also, take speaking courses because even though we are in a world of texting and emails, if your going into broadcasting, you still have to open your mouth and something has to come out.

Ashley: Do you have any future plans or goals?

Theismann: Oh yeah, I think life is all about goals. I would like to help more people enjoy their life. I would like to be able to spend time with my grandchildren and I would like to be able to put a smile on someone’s face at least everyday.