By: Craig Claro
Cage Riot: We reached out to the team of CerVon Campbell about this artist’s recent releases and career and we found out so much; it went like this:
CR: Hello Cervon, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We first came to hear you when your songs were submitted to us for playlisting. We immediately enjoyed your sound and we took a look at your bio and Instagram. We learned you are from South Carolina, that you started as a stand-up comic, and have transitioned into singing, rapping, screenwriting, songwriting, and acting. This makes us want to learn so much more about you!
CR: Let’s start with the comedy, what was the extent of your involvement in this career? Did you do any clubs? How old were you when you started comedy?
CerVon: I started in comedy first, I started at around 16 and would sneak out or pretend to be at a friend's house or even work and would be traveling doing gigs.
CR: Ok, JIC there are kids at home, DON’T do this! But, full disclosure at 15 I told my parents I was sleeping at “Kenny’s house” and I went from NY to FL - yes of course I got busted especially since I didn’t have 6 more days worth of excuses for my whereabouts! Anyway, as far as you are concerned that’s a pretty good thing to be lying about. Working and trying to advance your career! Most kids are lying about things that won’t improve their lives, so you get an A for effort CerVon.
CR: What is your favorite comedy movie of all time?
CerVon: Game night, it's a movie with Jason Bateman I think comedy-wise that's my favorite that or We're the Millers.
CR: I have seen neither of those and I love Bateman, so I need to check that out.
CR: What made you change from comedy to singing and songwriting? Was it a slow blend or did you have a “moment” it all kicked in and you said I want to be a singer?
CerVon: I started comedy to help with depression. I loved making people laugh, but I also needed a way to vent. so I started with poetry and even won a couple of awards in school then I became a childish gambino Stan and wanted to be just like him so I moved into rapping.
CR: I’m glad you found something to deal with that. I’m always happy to share a person’s story where they turn a negative into a positive, especially since so many young people out there will idolize someone with your abilities.
CR: Your new release, “kickback”, is a great song and nicely written. The opening guitars of this song tricked me into expecting a more soft rock song and then you used the comedian in you to go with a drop of an “Animal House” quote, and then a blend into your vocal opening combined with a switch up to the heavy beat. That’s the longest explanation I’ve ever made for the first 18 seconds of a song, and I have to say I really liked it. I want to dissect this song and to ask how did you decide on the acoustic guitar intro to this song? Do you also play instruments?
CerVon: Thank you I don't play anything well I just dabble by getting random instruments I think would be great to slide into songs occasionally so I played a few things in kickback but I found this producer Mist3r that just really had a strong vibe and it fit so well so I added a piano a bass and a few other things
CR: So, another question I came up with was because of the track’s message in “kickback”. Most of the lyrics in the song refer to you hanging out and it’s actually kind of simple and to the point. But when I read, “tomorrow isn’t promised”, It made me feel like your song is telling us something more. The “stop and smell the roses” sensation is there and I wonder if there is something in your life that has taught you the wisdom to slip in this quote? What is the deeper message I suspect you are alluding to and was that the reason you chose to write this song?
CerVon: I thought about a relationship I was in and I didn't stop and smell the roses like I should of I was too worried about how many people liked this or how many people are listening to me so now with kickback it's me saying I really appreciate this adventure we're on in this moment we don't know if we'll be anything or if we'll see each other again but for right now at this moment let's enjoy it second by second. The whole song really was inspired by the office the last episode I think it is or second to last - Andy says something like I wish there was a way to know you're in the good ol days while you're still in them.
CR: Wow, that is what makes me fall in love with something like this. I love a backstory and your Andy quote is a bomb to the brain, I never heard that one before. The one I always heard was “Youth is wasted on the young” and it sounds so negative, nobody is trying to mess up! I believe we become attached to art, music, a toy…. anything really, because of its meaning to us, and this will always make me think of your story, and probably tell someone else while it's playing.
CR: Who is the co-writer and co-performer of “kickback” Chandler Matkins? Tell us about how you came to this duo performance.
CerVon: I saw him on Tiktok rapping about having cheese in his jeans and fell in love with him. He's a great guy. I love his energy. I had kickback done ready to go but I felt like it was something else I could do so I reached out to him and I was lucky enough for him to say yes.
CR: Well, I would be worried about any guy with cheese in his jeans! JK, that's actually awesome.
CR: Who are some of your musical influences? (I am going to ask you for 3 from music and 3 from movies, particularly comedies because I already know that you have many of those)
CerVon: With music, Childish Gambino, Labrinth, & Frank Ocean. I love how they all are so to themselves they are able to be introverted yet rule the world. They are all so charming and cool but most importantly I love how they really make their music on their own terms exactly how they want it to be. With comedy, I'm inspired by different comedians all the time. You have the greats like Dave Chappelle, but it's so many great comedians that go unnoticed like Maronzio Vance, Mark Norman, and I have lately been obsessed with Andrew Schultz.
CR: What influence did growing up in South Carolina have on your careers?
CerVon: It influenced me to work harder because South Carolina doesn't have a big sense of music community. It felt more like a competition. Nobody worked together or seemed like they wanted to and I couldn't find support so I was influenced and inspired to work 24/7 on making sure everybody else would pay me attention if my home wouldn't so that maybe at some point they would
CR: Again, negative to positive!
CR: Tell me about your screenwriting and acting. Is this something you have done in the past or do you see yourself doing this in the future as well?
CerVon: I always forget to try and take the screenwriting add on down, I had 2 screenplays that I was close to getting made into something, but both at some point failed but it's definitely something I want later in life I still have a ton of screenplays wrote but at the moment they are on the back burner. As far as acting I have a few little spots here and there but I'm chasing it.
CR: Your song DND is a standout track obviously because of the team of people who wanted to work with you, and I’m of course talking about the legendary John Oates. I have been listening to him my whole life and when I saw the collaboration I was excited to ask you how this came to be? (I want to say your expression in the cover art speaks volumes - biggest smile ever!)
CerVon: It was absolutely random. I'm not sure if I liked something of his or how I got on his wife's radar but she pointed him in my direction and he followed me and liked a few posts then said he liked a song of mine. I didn't buy it at all. I thought it was a fan account that snuck its way into being verified. so when he said hey I like this song I said ok then make one with me and he said ok and inboxed me his information.
CR: What a great story thanks to some really great people. Aimee Oates found you, John Oates reached out to you, and the whole team including David Kalmusky and Spose worked with you. I have always told my partner I want to have big bands choose smaller bands that they admire, or they see have promise, and mentor them. Kind of exactly the way this happened that a legend of the music industry reached out to you! You had the opportunity of a lifetime, and we can only hope more people who are as accomplished as this group of people would do what they did for you. Big Ups to them!
CR: The vocal performance you exhibit in this song is stellar. It’s a mix of spoken, sung and rapped lyrics that carry the song so well. Can you tell us about the team of writers who you collaborated with and maybe a little of how you as a team decided on this “method” of writing to support this vocal delivery?
CerVon: I haven't had any help writing. It's the only 2 songs I've had in put with, but never for my words. I'm proud of it, but still would love to work with other writers. So far though it’s just been me. The method I use which makes all my songs sound a little weird because I mix genres a lot is how I write maybe 1 line or 2 or maybe a verse or a hook sometimes the whole song at once, but I just take a piece from the 1 liners or the verses and just kind of mix and mash lyrics together.
I'm always reaching or trying. I recently of course had John's help with DND along with David Kalmusky making DND and also Spose, a rapper I have looked up to for a long time working with them helped push the songs but also taught me a lot of lessons. I'm really fortunate to have finally gotten help for the first time with these people John and his wife David Kalmusky and Spose, me a nobody jumped up and got these superstars to pay me any attention. I learned a lot of different recording techniques, but above everything John taught me without even trying to carry myself different. I'm always open to more help, but I haven't had much. I set time aside multiple times a day and write down or push out ways to move to the next level.
CR: The Song’s message is a bit of sadness, happiness and overcoming life’s obstacles but one lyric stood out. “My mama said speak life”. I really would like you to expand on this and it’s meaning to you.
CerVon: People don't always understand the value of speaking things into existence. my mom at one point told me about speaking life which is from the Bible - the power of tongue which is basically like how people do the words of affirmation. So I spent half my career in music being sad and talking about my depression then I realized how many people listened to me and who could be singing along and if they are singing my sad words they could become theirs as well. So dnd was made as a way for me and others to speak positive things over ourselves so "I’m not depressed" "I won't have these thoughts" and stuff like that so they can speak positivity into existence.
CR: This is absolutely true. My wife always says use the “vibe” and what she means essentially is you get out of the universe what you summon. You are lucky to have a mother like you do.
CR: Do you have any plans to perform live?
CerVon: I want to so bad. I've been doing shows on and off, but I would love to tour again. I have a few more lined up, but I definitely more than anything want more performances.
CR: Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans that is a sneak peek into the future career you are embarking on?
CerVon: Now that I don't feel so icky from being depressed, I feel more relaxed recording, and I feel more ok as myself - I'm testing out so many new genres I'm going for the wild stuff I'm trying and mixing everything I'm in the most creative mindset I've ever been in so hopefully it's a lot more to come.
CR: I’m mostly glad to hear your mental state has improved, that is the key element. I can tell from everything about you that you will have whatever you strive for. You have proven that no obstacle holds you back. I am looking forward to seeing you excel.
(FYI, after this interview was completed CerVon dropped another single, Sarah Lynn see Top tracks below)
So now it’s your turn to go check out CerVon Campbell’s music on all major platforms.
Watch & Subscribe - CerVon Campell - on YouTube
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