The ceremony, which took place at Grosvenor House on May 18 and marked the 68th year of The Ivors, celebrated 30 songwriters and composers across its 14 categories. Kamille was among winners such as Raye, Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, Charli XCX, Sault and The Ivors's latest Fellow, Sting, to name a few.
“Songwriters deserve more credit and respect,” she says, over the phone to Music Week while looking after her newborn baby and reflecting on why The Ivors are still important. “That issue is something that is only coming to the forefront every time we speak about it, which I love.”
Kamille, otherwise known as Camille Purcell, has been behind some of this century’s biggest hits. The Grammy and BRIT Award-winning songwriter has co-written songs such as Dua Lipa’s Cool, Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex and Mabel’s Don’t Call Me Up. She was also the recipient of the Music Creative honour at the Music Week Women In Music Awards in 2019.
An artist in her own right, Kamille also released her latest single, Muscle Memory featuring Nile Rodgers, in May and has an album on the way soon.
With that being said, Music Week settles into a conversation with Kamille to celebrate her Ivors win, talk recognition for Black women in the industry and self-producing her new album...
First of all, how does it feel to receive the Outstanding Song Collection award at The Ivors this year?
“Honestly, it's just such an honour and it’ll be a moment in time I'll never forget. I think my imposter syndrome always makes me question things, I don't feel like I ever deserve anything, so it was really a special moment for me to be able to go up on stage and receive such an incredible award. I've written a lot of songs and whilst I was on stage I just realised how much I have done in my career, so I am just so grateful.”
In your opinion, how important is it that every year the wider industry comes together to celebrate songwriters and hear what they have to say?
“The songwriters, producers and music makers are the ones creating our music, and they're so important, so I think it’s [The Ivors] an amazing moment for everyone to be honoured in that way. A lot of what we do is behind the scenes and people don't always realise who is making the music behind the hits that they love, so it’s a beautiful day that I love. I get to see all my peers and everyone having a really good time and feeling special.”
Did you learn anything new from listening to the other songwriters’ speeches at the ceremony this year?
“I'm learning how brave we are. Songwriters are the people in this industry who typically haven’t been seen as an important part, and I think that's definitely changing. People also use their moments to highlight the issue [of recognising songwriters’ work], like Raye who made such an incredible speech emphasising the fact that she felt songwriters deserve more equality in terms of how much they're paid.”
Have you experienced inequality or a lack of recognition throughout your career as a songwriter?
“Definitely, it's something that will always be the hard part about being a songwriter, typically we are in the background and that’s really sad, because it's such an incredible job. If you’re making music and hits that travel across the world, you would think that the songwriter would be treasured a bit more. But I think for me, I just tend to work harder and I am just inspired to do and show more [of my work]. It's not easy, but it's about us all just coming together and making the change.”
When you spoke to Music Week in 2019, you said one of the important ways the industry can support songwriters is to build face to face relationships with them as people. What is the biggest thing the business can be doing now?
“It's just about making sure that everyone is kind of rallying together to make sure that songwriters are paid properly. There’s no other industry where you do a full day's work and you're not paid for what you do. Songwriting and music making is the engine of the industry, without songs there's no music, so we need to make sure that songwriters are properly paid. For me, that’s the most important thing.”
In your Ivors speech, you also spoke about the lack of recognition for Black female songwriters in the industry. In your opinion, what can the industry be doing better to support Black women in the business?
“I think the problem we have is that because there aren't many Black female songwriters seen, a lot of young Black women might not feel encouraged. One thing that can be done is just highlighting more Black women in the industry. Since I went up to receive that award, I've had so many messages and comments from other Black girls saying how inspired they are and how it's really driven them to want to go for it. I think that's a clear example of what can be done to help. I think it's just about highlighting what we do more and making sure that we're seen. I celebrated other Black women that I know in my speech, like Jin Jin, Dyo and Raye, who are all friends of mine. It’s about starting a theme of celebrating Black women, and I think that that will definitely inspire others to come to the forefront.”
Alongside being a songwriter, you're also an artist. How have you found that journey of managing your own creativity between yourself and others that you write for?
“Managing my creativity will always be easy for me, because I love being creative and anything where I can make a song will give me a lot of happiness. I think the hard bit has been finding my place, finding out what kind of artist I want to be and my position in the industry. I think that's typically quite difficult for any songwriter who is trying to show that they're an artist too, people will always see me as a writer and just a writer.
“But I'm all about breaking boundaries and I think I'm finally at a place now where people are starting to really respect me as an artist and hear my story. I'm always talking about it on TikTok, and I just think my love of music will allow me to keep doing it, I can't help but make music and be inspired by music, so I’ve just got to keep going.”
On your latest single, Muscle Memory, you worked with Nile Rodgers. How did that come about and how was that experience?
“Well, I’ve worked with him before and he’s incredible, a legend. I basically wrote and produced the song in my first trimester when I was pregnant, and I was just at home on my own feeling super inspired because I couldn't be in a studio. I then sent the song to my management and they were like, ‘This is incredible, you have to finish it.’ I felt like it needed someone on there to really solidify it and I thought of Nile Rodgers, although then I thought “He's just done Cuff It with Beyonce, for crying out loud, he’s probably going to say no!”
“But they [management] sent it to him, he said he loved it and the next thing you know I was at Abbey Road with him in the studio making the song! It was an incredible experience, especially as a woman. Being in that room as a producer, I had my laptop out and was on Logic making the beat and he was doing the guitar. He was so encouraging and kept telling me just to make sure to keep going, and he always texts me and says he’s proud of me. Having Nile Rodgers in your corner, that’s a different level of flex!”
What was the decision behind wanting to self-produce your new album?
“It was kind of out of force, if anything. I was pregnant, at home, I had really bad morning sickness and I couldn't get to work with people in the studio [at the time]. I’d been producing for a while on a lot of other projects, and I was just wanting to be self-sufficient. As women, it’s so important to remember that we can do all the things that we might think we can’t do, and so on my own at home I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this.’ I went on to produce the whole album, and now on Spotify it will be just my name under songwriter and producer credits! I'm doing more stuff on my own all the time which is really cool, and I think that's what I can do to really inspire others as well. I feel like I've unlocked a new level in my career.”
Your album is coming out on an unannounced date soon. Looking forward as an artist, what direction are you taking your music in?
“With my music, I am going to be doing lots of mini albums, where I'm essentially just exploring and finding out what I love, because the music world can be really rigid in terms of how we release music, and I don't want to do that anymore. This first project that I'm putting out is an ode to the music that I grew up with, it's super nostalgic and it’s the stuff my parents brought me up on. The next record might be completely different, I don't know, it's just going to be what mood or vibe I'm in. Music should be fun and free, you shouldn’t have to put out [a certain] style of music because it might be who we think you are. It should be up to the artist to find enough in themselves, which is definitely what I'm trying to do more now. I just want to put out consistent music and have fun with it.”