They say Absence makes the heart grow fonder. For Charlotte singer/songwriter Cameron Floyd, absence fuels an entire album of material. Floyd and his girlfriend had only been dating for about half a year when she went to Spain for two months. Ahh, young love. The 21-year-old musician rode a roller coaster of emotions during that time — from heartache to hope.
Those emotions found their way into songs that appear on Floyd's debut full-length album, Dancing the Distance. He's previously released three EPs, but he feels this is his strongest work to date. An album release party will be held at Amos' Southend on Nov. 14.
"There were times when I needed to pick up the guitar — we got in an argument or I missed her too much ... wow, that sounds cheesy," Floyd says with a laugh. "Music is an escape. A lot of songs are happy and positive because I got away from the pain I was feeling. I'm thankful that I can go to it as a way to get emotions out. I'm not scared to put that kind of stuff out, because I know there's plenty of people who have experienced the same thing and can relate to it."
When it comes to his lyrics, Floyd's mother Marlene is his biggest sounding board — she's a longtime songwriter for her husband, Derek, who is a Christian music vocalist.
"I get a lot of direction, encouragement and input from them," Floyd says. "My mom is always the first person I call. I can ask her if a line makes sense. They've put me on the right path to make music that connects with people."
"As love is shaking, my heart is breaking, could this be it? Or will we hold on to our promise now, and we will get through this," Floyd sings on "Change," a song he says defines what the album is about.
"'Change' was written in the middle of the summer and my feelings were so intense and honest about how I was feeling at that time," he says. "My mom loved the initial version of it. We recorded it differently when we went to the studio and she bluntly said, 'I absolutely hated it and can't believe you changed it.' It's good to know that she doesn't sugarcoat things."
Floyd plays acoustic pop-rock that leans toward the vein of John Mayer or Dave Matthews with lyrics that read more like diary entries.
Given his parents' involvement in the industry, it's no surprise that Floyd became a musician. When he was 13 or 14, he had dreams of being in the NBA, but his father steered him away from that.
"He told me I had no future in it, but that I would start playing music. I blew off the idea, but before I knew it, I was picking up a guitar and playing," he says. "I hate to admit it, but he was right."
Now, Floyd has the music bug he can't quite get rid of. Most of Dancing was written late at night over the past six months, when Floyd wasn't in school at UNC Charlotte — he's set to graduate in May with a degree in public relations — or working one of his two jobs at Applebees and GameStop. Finding time to write or play music isn't tough, though, when it's almost born out of necessity.
"It's all late nights in my room around 12:30 or 1 a.m.," he says. "Music is a drug for most musicians. There are days when I don't touch a guitar — I feel off-balance. When I'm playing though, I'm glad to get my dose."
So what does his girlfriend of 10 months think of all those songs Floyd has written about her? "She does give me some feedback," Floyd says. "Sometimes I only get 'that's good' or 'that's sweet.' I don't get intense criticism, maybe just 'that wasn't so good.' I appreciate her honesty though from someone outside my family."