Clark Kent has Superman, and Cameron Kinghorn has Nooky Jones, yet in between the men and the alter-egos, the real person really exists. With a few years and many performances under his belt, Kinghorn is creating music that stems from the soul and captures the ambidextrousness of songs that are carefully constructed, and then allowed to crumble around the edges during a performance.
Find Kinghorn and his band at the MSP Airport with Arts@MSP for his performance on June 12 from 3:00 PM-4:30 PM.
A@M – What’s the difference between the work you do as Cameron Kinghorn and Nooky Jones?
CK – Nooky Jones is a specific project. That’s the band I front as a main vocalist, but it’s more collaborative. During AFTA we’ll be performing as a 3-piece versus a 6-piece that we usually do with Nooky Jones. The 3-piece is more intimate, but it’s still soulful and funky.
A@M – Why not just perform as Cameron Kinghorn if you’re singing in both projects?
CK – When we orginally set out to do the project, it felt like it was a band thing and more collaborative as opposed to one person’s project. That was the main reason I’ve recently started to do some solo work, which is exciting. I was able to save solo work for this other project that is going to be my own. That band thing needed to live on its own.
The band is super supportive; the solo stuff will be tandem with Nooky Jones. It’s an opportunity for me to do something creatively that I’ve wanted to do for a long time that’s different from Nooky Jones, and it has its own flavor and style. Everyone in the band has their hands in a million other things, so there’s no resentment in trying out a new project. We’re all supportive of each other doing our own thing.
A@M – How long have you been writing music?
CK – I probably started writing songs in middle and high school. I was actually in a rock band in high school. My first time performing was with that rock band/garage band. We’d rehearse in my buddy’s basement. That’s when I first started writing songs. I didn’t get serious about it until I was in college.
A@M – What changed?
CK – Music’s always been a passion of mine, but once it turned into a career, I realized this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That’s when the change happened. I knew I had to get serious with it. I had been writing some stuff and then I started Nooky Jones while in college. I met Reid Kennedy and Adam Meckler and started working with them. That’s when I started to write more.
A@M – It’s like how they say, “You get better by playing with better people.”
CK – Yes, that was it. Reid and Adam were people I seriously looked up to. Adam’s a trumpet player. He was getting his masters, and I was getting my undergrad at the U of M. I had never worked with Reid before, but I knew of him and knew he was an amazing drummer. I didn’t know he was an incredible piano player and composer, as well. When we got together there was a moment of feeling like, “This is so cool.” It clicked.
AAM – What were you going to school for?
CK – I studied music education at the U of M – instrumental music education, actually. I initially went thinking I would become a band teacher. I love teaching, and I do still get to teach a little bit through some private lessons. I really love working with kids and helping them grow and inspiring them. It’s something I always want to have be a part of my life and being able to be a mentor, but once I started to perform professionally, I realized that was what I needed to do.
A@M – What do you draw from performing?
CK – Being on stage in front of an audience and being the one that’s in charge of the vibe and the ambience is really thrilling to me. Once you get up there, you transcend. When you come back down and offstage, it’s like, “Whoa, that was crazy.” You become something else for a little while. The feeling of helping other people feel comfortable and enjoy themselves, that’s one of the best feelings that there is.
A@M – Aren’t you the same person onstage as you are in normal life?
CK – It’s the same person, but it’s an extension of me. For some people, their stage presence is similar to who they generally are, but for me, it’s me, but on a bigger scale.
A@M – Where do you see yourself in a few years with this career?
CK – The biggest thing I want is to bring what I’m doing to more parts of the world with my own stuff and with the Nooky Jones stuff.
It’s impossible, as an artist, to not think about where you are in your career. That comes with the territory. It’s important to remind yourself of what you have been able to do. For myself, there’s things I want to accomplish that I haven’t accomplished, but you can see the path to those things. You need to remind yourself what’s important, reminding yourself that we’re so lucky we get to do this. This is how I get to spend my time. Anything I get to do is special and fun. It’s a unique life.
Arts@MSP 2019 AFTACON Schedule
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM – David Gerald Sutton
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Annie Mack
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM – Cameron Kinghorn
North Mall Performance Space
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Holly Nelson (Live Illustrations)