[Feature] Looking Into The Eye of The Storm

Amidst the ever-prevalent Soul/R&B revival we often face, there are very few takeaways that actually stick in one’s craw rather than flirtatiously passing through. For Troy Cameron (nee Ambroff), creating a sound that embodies the hallows of jazz, R&B, soul and everything in between was paramount to his success on the track “Eye of the Storm” off his record Sex On Wax.

Ditching the conventional hallmarks of a placid “retro sound” the track is a nouveau realization of the genres Cameron drew upon while elegantly nuanced by a feeling of rushing into the hardships of personal acceptance. Now featured in the Ben Stiller film
Brad’s Status, Cameron has made a name for himself as an artist and producer whose visions are nothing short of true musical fusion.

Combining a unique approach to a style that combines several different tiers of tastemaking, “Eye of the Storm” finds itself in tandem with the film on many levels.

Released in 2016, the Cameron said that the song came to him over the course of many years, with several stages of evolution occurring in the process.

“This song in its origins has seen a few different incarnations,” said Cameron. “I wrote the initial guitar lick when I was in high school. That was me when I found myself exploring the different niches of my musical taste and my comfort zone as a guitarist. At the time I was listening to quite a bit of metal and pop-punk – this was new territory for me. A lot of this came out of me devoting time to play my instrument at the highest level that I could, which ultimately led me into jazz-related sounds.”
Cameron said that in learning to communicate through a jazz setting, he had returned from a summer at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he found a great deal of inspiration in the artistic expressions of others, prompting him to want to discover a new language, musically.
Over the course of the next few years, Cameron began to delve into the soundscapes and ideas associated with funk, soul, R&B and several niches in between, laying down the foundation for “Eye Of The Storm” with a perspective that looked at more than simply a garden variety of musical taste.

“Looking at a group like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Funkadelic helped me look more at the jazz elements of music rather than just the rhythmic intricacies that metal or pop-punk bring to the table,” said Cameron. “I was listening to a lot of more of artists like Herbie Hancock and Wes Montgomery, who was especially important to me as a guitarist. Snarky Puppy was also a big influence for me – looking at artists who clearly defined an era and genre with their virtuosity and their own wildly unique elements was essential to nailing down a sound.”
One of Cameron’s unique tactics in coming up with ideas for new ideas is something that he and his friends and collaborators call a “progression.” A guerilla style of approaching new ideas, Cameron and the artistic collective surrounding him often find an organic route to discovery.
“The idea for a progression came up from my collaborator and President of Steezy Society Jonathan Bonner,” said Cameron. “We’ll get a room and mic it up and bring in as many people to jam as possible in order to create on the spot. I don’t like to bring in anything pre-rehearsed. I just go off the cues and inspiration of other people. For my evolution as an artist is wasn’t simply going through the ‘greatest of all time,’ it was going off those around me who were equally as learned and just as creative.”

As an artist on his own, Cameron realized that while his musical horizons were expanding, he needed to enlist a voice that invoked the same stylistic tendencies of Sex On Wax as well as someone who could put their own indelible lyricism into key tracks on Cameron’s debut record.

Cameron said that enlisting the help of fellow musician and visual artist Keihla Rivera was a natural choice. Rivera and Cameron have roots leading back to early adulthood and frequently found themselves running in the same musical circles as collaborators in the Southern California music scene.

“Keihla didn’t have a choice to sing on the track since she wrote the lyrics (laughs.) Her voice exudes the feeling of confidence despite disarray on that song,” said Cameron. “It makes ‘Eye of the Storm’ sentimental. There are certain vocal qualities that you just can’t teach someone. The actual timbre and tonal qualities of Keihla’s voice is such a powerhouse that it’s almost difficult to describe.”

thumbnailCameron went on to mention that one of the most important qualities of Eye of the Storm was Rivera’s vocal track. In providing a narrative for the song Rivera is both a steward of the oncoming storm as mentioned throughout the piece, but she is also a veritable refuge throughout the track.

Musically, “Eye Of The Storm” fits the narrative of Brad’s Status, a tumultuous yet condensed look at the flurry of natural occurrences that life may throw an individual’s way. However, perception plays a big key in both the song and the film, lending one another to intimately intertwine.

“Lyrically Keihla brought the sentiment that Brad’s Status was trying to convey to a head – it’s a melancholy sentiment but one that ultimately ends on a positive note,” said Cameron. “That’s what the film does as well –  as viewers we relate to Brad more because we’re looking at success and the perception of individual success. There will always be someone who you can perceive is better than you.”

Musically, “Eye of Storm” conjures up the feeling of instilling a feeling of confidence despite how unconfident one may be. Though initially playful and representing a Motown groove, the track is anything but some retro-glazed capsule – it’s an incredibly prescient reminder of our own internal affairs.
“The track speaks to the younger generation in having a viewpoint that being passive about you life is the correct route,” said Cameron. “As much as this modern generation is one that says its going to change the world, there’s a need to define what success means for our vision of the world and the active steps to take in order to achieve that. It’s not necessarily going to come from acceptance alone, there’s going to be more of a struggle and an effort involved. I’m confident we can do it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *