Gay country music icon Cameron Hawthorn’s single “To Break Hers” tells the story of the artist’s relationship with a woman before coming out and the pain he caused for both of them. The Nashville-based artist garnered acclaim from People Magazine, The Advocate, Country Music Television and Huffington Post. He went viral with the release of “Dancing in the Living Room” when he came out publicly in the video.
“I’ve been wanting to write a song for quite some time now about a particular relationship I had with a girl before I came out,” he said. “I brought up the idea in my co-write with fellow Nashville artist Lena Stone, and she really liked it, so we decided to write it.”
Hawthorn hopes that others will better understand his experience of how much hurt can be caused to yourself and another person when you stay in a relationship that is not meant to be.
“It definitely was bittersweet after hearing it. The song takes me right back to that time in my life, but after hearing the final version, I knew we had captured the emotion of the story I wanted to tell,” he said.
Hawthorn continued, “I particularly remember writing the first line of the chorus: ‘Back then, I knew it wasn’t love, kept hoping that it was.’ Lena and I both went, ‘Oh my gosh, yes.’”
That kept happening when both of them were writing the chorus lines. The verses were also so vivid that they brought about real emotion when they were writing and singing “To Break Hers.”
“There are so many lines that are gut-wrenching for me, but one of the big ones is, ‘Why’d I go and shake her Daddy’s hand?’ To me, that’s one of the ultimate things I shouldn’t have done when I knew the relationship wouldn’t last,” Hawthorn confessed.
The artist believes that “To Break Hers” connects with the current generation because everyone is yearning for authenticity and the truth. He hopes people will connect with his track in that way.
“I brought in the piano part to the co-write, and we started with that and the concept of the song. Once we realized the song would be based around the idea of breaking her heart, we built the chorus and the verses,” Hawthorn revealed.
They established the hook first, then wrote the first verse, which helped them paint the setting and be more specific with their story.
“Lena really pushed me to paint the picture of the relationship. That’s how the lines in the verses really became so vivid,” Hawthorn mentioned.
The artists said that the title of Hawthorn’s track is a little ambiguous, but after listening to the song, it will make sense. Hawthorn also hopes that the song was able to take into account his ex-girlfriend’s feelings as well.
“It was really important for me that she wasn’t overlooked in this. In fact, she is the reason I wanted to write this song because of the hurt I know I caused her,” Hawthorn said.
The singer thinks there isn’t any one central message in his track. Instead, he envisions it as a story about a journey he was on and how that caused pain in more ways than one.
Hawthorn’s profound passion for music began when he was very young. One of the first things he remembers is sitting in front of the television as a little kid and singing along with Dorothy to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“I grew up doing a lot of musical theater and playing piano. When we would go to my Momma and Papa’s house in Oklahoma, the radio was always playing with country music oldies. I began songwriting in high school, and that’s really when my passion for music took off,” he said.
Hawthorn has had quite a few memorable gigs. In one of the shows he played in Santa Monica, his mom surprised him by flying all the way from Dallas with her best friend.
“That was really special. Another show that meant a lot to me was when I started the journey of country music. I did an intimate concert with some of my closest friends in Los Angeles. I’ll never forget that night and how encouraging it was,” he expressed.
Hawthorn advises aspiring singers to be themselves to the core no matter what situation they face.
“Find a way to fund what you do, because it’s going to cost money and you can’t let that obstacle get in your way,” he said. “Don’t forget to have fun while you’re chasing the dream because it shows when you do, and after all, it’s about the journey.”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.