Kamille: ‘All I Wanted Growing Up Was To Be Represented And Seen, Now This Generation Will Get That From Highlife.’

As Channel 4’s Highlife continues, co-star and singer-songwriter Kamille talks to Aaliyah Harry about empowerment for women, Little Mix and taking control of your life.

Kamille

by Aaliyah Harry |

It is impossible to turn on the radio and not hear Kamille’s influence. From Mabel’s "Don’t Call Me Up", Little Mix’s "Black Magic" to Headie One, AJ Tracey & Stormzy’s "Ain’t it Different". They all come from the masterful mind of Kamille.

As I entered the Zoom call I felt an instant rush of joyful energy and was met with Kamille’s infectious smile, ‘ I love your earrings babe.’ she exclaimed. 'Thank you, They’re from Zara,' I replied; it instantly felt like catching up with one of my girlfriends.

Songwriters have a unique talent that can often go overlooked. ‘You have to have a special ability to find the magic in a song, but you also have to hustle and not be afraid to embarrass yourself,’ she reveals when I ask the secret to her song writing success. Over the last year, music has been a massive escape for so many of us. Despite Kamille’s humble nature, the world can still feel the power her pen holds.

Kamille tells me that she fell into song writing through her love of music - and to leave her previous job. ‘I used to be a Stockbroker, I hated it so much it just wasn’t me,' she laughs. Her curiosity encouraged her to visit studios after work to learn her craft, which led to her first number one song with the Saturday’s for ‘What about Us’. What followed was a Grammy award for Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia album, a Brit Award for Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex, an Ivor Novello nomination and five number one songs. She also has her own record label, Pure Cut.

Kamille
©Channel 4

Now the Grammy winning songwriter is stepping into her spotlight; through her own music and featuring on Channel 4’s Docu-ality series Highlife. Highlife follows a group of ambitious British West Africans, and although Kamille is the only Caribbean member in the cast, her light shines just as bright.

On the show we follow her journey down the aisle to her husband Tomi. As soon as I mentioned him there is a slight twinkle in her eye,’ He is unbelievably attractive' she says. 'I soon saw that he was very open, vulnerable and he was able to laugh at himself; these are qualities that I love in a man.’ Whilst watching Highlife Twitter was filled with admiration when it was revealed Kamille made the first move on Instagram. ‘Oh Lord, yeah he [Tomi] painted it out like I was really sliding in the Instagram DM’s - all I said was “Happy birthday”, she said playfully.

‘I think women have to go for it - if you see someone you like put yourself out there. I don't understand the rules that say we shouldn’t approach a guy first.’

The incredible response to the all-black cast and crew of Highlife made her proud and proved that ‘black talent is there’. Her hope is that other television channels will follow suit. All Kamille wanted when she was younger was to be represented on screen, and now this generation will have just that. On the show we also we also get an insight into Kamille’s journey as an artist in her own right. ‘I started feeling more confident about my music and I just felt ready to do my own thing.’ She continues, ‘I remember when I heard my song "Emotional" with Kranium on the radio. Hearing your own song on the radio is an addictive feeling and I want that to continue.' She exclusively reveals a new song will be dropping during Highlife, and in the meantime you can listen to her recent release "Sad Party" ft Haile and Ivorian Doll. ‘ I don't want to be boxed into this world of urban, I want to cross over as an artist,’ she concludes.

High Life
©Channel 4

Kamille has a unique insight into the music industry, ‘I've learnt from so many artists, I'm like a sponge I just soak it in.’ This Includes learning from multi-award-winning girl band Little Mix - who she feels more like an annoying sister to now. ‘It’s family at this point, I’ve written 24 songs with them.’

They all hit it off from first meeting, ‘We just got on so well. Instinctively, I knew what they needed to say in their songs because I felt like I was one of them.’ On the girl’s pregnancy reveal she said, ‘We were all in the studio together, and Perrie [Edwards] and Leigh-Anne [Pinnock] were pregnant, and I had no idea. They both Facetimed me and said, "So we are pregnant, sorry we had to hide it from you." I was like, "No you’re not!”. ‘I’m so happy for them and I love that they are showing everyone that you can stop, have kids, get married and still have your career.'

'I don't know why there's this stereotype that says women can’t have children and still have a flourishing career - I hate that. Watching them makes me feel like I can do the same.’

Kamille
©Kamille

The music industry remains a white, male dominated field. While Kamille reveals there is movement, there is a long way to go to make lasting change. She admitted, ‘It’s been really difficult.'

'I got used to it and assumed that was how the music industry was - as a black woman I haven’t felt seen or represented.’

She recalled, 'I remember being up for an award for Songwriter of the Year at the Music Week Awards and I was the only female and the only black person in the award category – the same typically goes for songwriting sessions.' Many would wait on the side-lines for change to come – but not Kamille, ‘I'm doing something about it,’ she said with a grin. 'I'm currently working on a project called ‘She’s The Music’ to help female producers. We send their demos to record labels and pitch songs to artists.’ Kamille is a force to be reckoned with both behind the scenes and in front.

Before our interview came to a close we had a special moment where we both told each other how proud we were of each other's successes. As I left the zoom call I was left with a lingering feeling of joy, and realised that the rush of energy I felt at the start was at the sight of us instantly understanding each other before even a word was uttered.

Highlife airs on Channel 4, Thursdays at 10pm

READ MORE: Bolu Babalola: ‘Big Age Is A Celebration Of Community, Hope And Joy.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us