Like their name sake, Calamity Jane is a fierce duo set on redefining country music. Lead by violinist Lucy Cantley along with the sultry vocals of Camille Rae, it is so surprise that these ladies are helping pave the way for themselves. Calamity Jane’s first single, a cover of “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” got “thumbs up” from Charlie Daniels himself. Passionate about their storytelling and instramintation, Lucy and Camille are catching the attention of country fans across the country. Their heart, sprit and comradery are infectious! These girls, like the historical lady herself, are in the business of turning heads and making change in country music!
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I feel like the name calamity Jane is so bold. So how are you guys like calamity Jane?
It's such a good question off the bat. The reason the name even is what it is stemmed from spiraling, trying to figure out what I envisioned for the duo. This was before Camille and I were even officially working together. I just knew that I wanted to start this project. Plus, I wanted to have a name that was going to sort of embody the spirit of who I am, but also fit the brand of country music. Something that kind of be versatile. We don't like to be boxed in.
It's funny because when I pitched the name I just liked it. I loved the story of like the historical figure, Calamity Jane and everything that she kind of stood for. She was this really bold, crazy cowgirl who drank too much and wore men's clothes, which back to that of course was extreme. I loved the idea of naming the group after a spirited fiery female figure.
Over time it's been crazy. The band name keeps evolving and being so fitting for the time. This year, for instance, it was one calamity after another. It sort of felt more real. We're just like everybody else. We're a total mess, just trying to find our way in the world. Dealing with like all these random stresses we didn't expect. I was like, well, that's sounds about right.
Funny thing is that people will message us on social media and think that both of our names are Jane! We kind of have a little shtick about like I'm Calamity, she's Jane and little comedy things. So it's been fun.
What has been a high moment for your duo and then a moment that you girls really had to band together to get through.
I mean a high note is happening all the time. The thing about being an artist is that you are in the you're in the pilot seat. There's all these things happening around you that you might not necessarily even realize is happening. You have fans all over the world which is what social media and digital distributing does. It gets you all these people from across the world. We can be famous in a country. We don't even know.
The other day, for instance, I was back home in Virginia. One of the neighbors in our neighborhood stopped us and was like, “Oh my gosh, I just tell you a crazy story.” The neighbor said that she was on a flight to Dallas last week. She got to talking to the woman next to her about Nashville. She said that she mentioned that she was neighbors with a country artists mom. The duo is called Calamity Jane. I guess the the lady was like, Oh my gosh, I know them. I love them. They started playing the music and sh said everyone on the airplane knew who we were and they were like singing along. I was floored. It was one of those moments where you realize, Oh my gosh, there are fans out there, there are people listening and you just don't know who they are.
I would say our first biggest moment was when our single “The Chase” was on a syndicated playlist. We had been pushing, pushing, pushing. We were so happy that it finally happened! I happened to be in Virginia Beach with Lucy and we got to celebrate. It was a cool moment.
Our low moment would probably be the whole viral video that happened on Tik Tok. I mean it was a high and a low. about just the high end alone. It was good, but it was just kind of hitting on abuse in non non-romantic relationships.
I shared a bit of my experience and we didn't expect it to go viral. It was just emotional and became overwhelming. We both really had to work through all of those emotions. Things that came back out for me in that situation. It was a positive yet, it was a very serious thing. It was something that we didn't want people to misunderstand. We wanted to make it an awareness moment, a learning moment, and to reach out to people. be able to help people in that unique situation. That's probably been the craziest thing that's happened so far that we've had to overcome and navigate to the next step.
What does each other bring to the table that you guys are grateful for in the duo?
I've been doing this whole music thing since I was three.I might cry cause I'm really emotional. I've done so many things by myself. I was never a loner. I was so focused on things. I really didn't have many close friends. Then when I moved to Nashville, I did the solo thing. I was on the road by myself and dealt with really crappy people. I had to navigate through so many scam artists. I wanted to go home a thousand times and, and decided to stay.
Our duo shows camaraderie and the friendship. Our music is amazing, we are on the same page. That is great and all, but it's just having someone in my corner and finding a true best friend after all these years. I'm getting up there in age and I finally found a best friend. That's been the true positive for me. Lucy is a great person. You don't find many people that go out of their way for you, and Lucy definitely does on every level.
There's a million things that I could say about Camille. I would just echo what she said. It's amazing to have a working relationship with somebody that you're also best friends with, that almost never happens. When it does, even after a certain period of time, there seems to be an expiration date. Things end and there's some sort of falling out and it can get really messy.
We work like the perfect yin and yang. We're similar in a lot of ways, but we're also really different. I'm extremely type A! That's why I'm the Jane in “Calamity Jane”. I’m very organized and scheduled and it can come across as demanding to some people. But Camille never takes anything personally. She never throws it in my face.
Camille is always there. She's so reliable, she’s consistent. This is the first time I've ever worked with someone where I actually feel like the load is even everything we do is balanced. I'm not just writing all the music myself or scheduling everything myself. She's doing an equal amount of work and contribution!
Do you think because of the strong foundation you both have personally, makes the music better?
Definitely. I remember our first time on stage together, it was at a long time ago. It was a different group with a different name and long story. I was singing, and she had her or violin solo coming up. I stepped back and gave her the stage. I remember she looked at me, she went like, “What do you, what I can have the stage now?” There was this moment of, okay, you're not going to like knock me in the corner. I've always felt that everyone contributes equally in a group. That everyone should be heard!
I think what makes the music authentic. We're biased because it's our music. What I love about our music, is that it really does feel like this group effort. It's not just the lead singer and her band. It is two voices, which you can hear pretty clearly. We also this string element, like the violin. I also play Viola a lot too. In some of our songs the violin is a voice on its own. A little solo voice cutting through.
For example, eighties rock. Bands had these crazy cool guitar, solos, everything wasn't about the lead singer back then. We're not anything close to eighties rock music. But, I do love that idea of there's more to music, especially mainstream music, then just the singer.
What other advice would you guys have for indie acts in Nashville?
It's crazy how many scam artists are just running rampant everywhere. People say these things, you hear it, but you don't really understand what it means until you experience it. Then you realize, Oh wow. I just paid 1500 bucks for a radio campaign. And my song didn't get on radio. What were they doing with that money? Things like that happen all the time so much. There's actually really an underground business side of Nashville, that you have to work really hard to get to know. Those are the people you want to work with. The people you want to work with will never going to be the people that approach you off the bat. A lot of times they don’t have these big, like fancy high tech websites. Some of the partners that we work with literally have private websites. You have to get an invite in.
And fortunately, and unfortunately I have been through all of these scam artists and with my solo career. So coming into the duo, I already had a long list of who to work with and who to stay away from! We've worked through the rest of the web of craziness together which this year has been a little different. It's been very digital.
Why do you feel like social media is so important for independent country artists?
There is no other way to get to the decision makers right now. That's just the time that we live in. There's no other way. It is a complete myth that random label executives show up at a dive bar in Nashville, see somebody play and then tell them they want to sign. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Especially with COVID now it's even more amplified. Social media is the only way to really get heard. People ask us about touring, to be honest, I'm more focused on going viral. When you tour nowadays, you go to a bar and typically there are like 12 to 25 people in that bar. Maybe two of them are actually listening. Maybe one of them actually becomes a fan and follows you on social media.
On Tik Tok, you can get a couple thousand views, or you're getting a couple hundred fans right off the bat. They’re downloading your music right away. And they're commenting. They're engaging. You actually know who they are and you can interact with them.
I'm not going to say how old I am, but I'm a little older than most in Nashville. The whole touring thing, that’s all I've done for the past decade. It's definitely been a learning curve. Putting it in the hands of social media more so this year. But it does give fans the opportunity to choose. And it's such a bigger spectrum, then going out and touring every weekend.
But it's, it's a blessing and a curse too. Sometimes it does get frustrating. For instance, our videos that have done really well on Tik Tok aren't necessarily for neither of them are videos of us playing or singing. They are not actually showcasing our real talent. It's some sort of like skit or parody that people think is funny. However, it caters to a broader audience, which is great. In the end that draws them into our music. That is something that gets frustrating. We just want to get our music out there!
Have the two of you had a favorite stage moment?
Being on stage at Whiskey Jam is such an iconic stage for so many people in Nashville. I always get really nervous of Whiskey Jams. It is an iconic thing.
The funny thing about Nashville though is what we were talking about before. Performing in Nashville does not benefit you other than getting more street cred for your brand. There aren't executives walking in and being like, “Ooh, they're good. I'm going to sign them.” There aren't potential fans walking in and being like,” Oh, they're good. I'm going to listen to them.” The entire crowd is your competition. So the entire crowd is other artists who are judging you.
Or fully drunk tourists that have no idea where they are.
Oh I know! Lucy’s wedding. We played “Devil Went Down To Georgia.” My band played at Lucy's wedding, which was so much fun. She got up in her big, beautiful wedding ball down and walked up on stage. She was very graceful. I would've knocked everything off that stage by the way. She played her violin with the band. It was just this magical moment. It was really cool.
It was spontaneous. I didn't think I'd have time at my own wedding to do this. There was only 50 people. Because you know, COVID. I got up there and like spontaneous plate spontaneously played “Devil Went Down To Georgia.,” and it like the band nailed it. There were people from the hotel that weren't even at the wedding, crowding around the tent outside to listen. I've never seen a room so happy in my life. Everyone was jumping and dancing. It was just like so joyous.
What can we expect from you girls this year?
Well I guess we will just tell you! We’re actually going to be in the studio tomorrow for another new single. I guess we'll give a little teaser. It's a very nostalgic, lost love summer kind of song. We are very excited for what is in store for this year!