Since the success of his 2019 single, the oh-so-romantic “Dancing in the Living Room,” out singer/songwriter Cameron Hawthorn has continued to release a string of top-shelf country music hits.
While the country music scene hasn’t traditionally been all that welcoming to LGBTQ artists, in recent years we have seen some make the transition out of the closet (Ty Herndon, Brandi Carlile, Lil Nas X, Billy Gilman) although many did so after major success.
Hawthorn, who basically came out in his “Dancing in the Living Room” video, went viral as major entertainment outlets like People, Rolling Stone Country, CMT News, and American Songwriter all chimed in with praise for his richly melodic and deeply heartfelt musical talent.
From his most recent single, “To Break Hers,” an aching tribute to an early relationship before he came out (“That was a song I’d wanted to write for a while”), to the sexually-charged dance floor filler “Oh Hot Damn!,” Hawthorn has delivered mainstream country songs that range from classic to contemporary.
Now, the handsome country crooner has released his new EP Mustang – curating those previous hits alongside two new tracks: a robust, Roy Orbison-flavored Boys and the title track that celebrates opening the gate to personal independence, freedom, and empowerment.
Chatting with Hawthorn, he sees the new collection as “celebrating a chapter of my life all about opening the gate, letting go of the reins, and allowing the mustang to finally run free.”
He says the title track, “Mustang,” came to him after the word rolled around in his head, “knocking on the door,” for a while. After some research, he discovered an obvious metaphor for where he is in his life.
“While most people think mustangs are wild horses, I found that they’re actually descended from once-domesticated horses,” says Hawthorn. “The idea that domesticated horses transformed into mustangs fascinated me. Because for the first time in my life, I too, feel like I’m finally free.”
“I kind of avoided writing about relationships,” he adds. “I mean, in my 2017 EP there are songs about road trips, my happy place being the water/ the lake, and then there’s a song about my mom – but no relationships. Today, it feels so incredible to have that wall come down and write and sing about what I want.”
The upbeat, rough and ready “Boys” is all about his friends in Los Angeles who were there in tough times as well as nights of rowdy fun. “The weekend before I moved to Nashville, I went out one last time with my boys in LA, and I thought about that night when writing this song.”
“Each song on Mustang, in its own way, is a declaration of how happy I am to be where I’m at in life.”
With an obvious knowledge and appreciation for classic country, Cameron brings a fresh, current flavor to his music that ranges from authentic emotional ballads to swaggering up-tempos. Country music fans will hear the influences of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison as well as contemporary hitmakers like Shania Twain and Eric Church.
You can check out my full chat with the charming Cameron Hawthorn below.