Rising Country Artist Kameron Marlowe Talks About His New Album, Keepin’ The Lights On, And His Duet Single “Strangers” with Ella Langley

Kameron Marlowe
Kameron Marlowe
(photo credit: Trea Allen)

Over the past few years, Kameron Marlowe has emerged as a talented country artist who has a powerful, soulful voice. In 2022, the singer/songwriter signed with Columbia Nashville Records and released his debut album, We Were Cowboys. In addition, he’s had platinum success with his breakthrough single “Giving You Up,” and he made the Billboard country chart with his single, “Steady Heart.”

As a result of his growing impact, Marlowe was recently nominated for New Male Artist Of The Year at the ACM Awards. He has also launched a new headlining tour, and he has opened for such major stars as Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen and Lainey Wilson.

This week (on May 31), Marlowe will be releasing his second album, Keepin’ The Lights On. This is an impressive work that should take his artist career to the next level. Notably, Marlowe is releasing an excellent new single called “Strangers,” which is a duet with rising artist, Ella Langley. Marlowe & Langley wrote “Strangers” (with Chase McGill & Will Bundy). It’s a powerful song that has a clever lyric idea. The duo also filmed a compelling video, which shows Marlowe & Langley having a heated, intense discussion in a restaurant, that ultimately leads to the place going up in flames.

Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Kameron Marlowe, who talks about his new duet single “Strangers” with Ella Langley.


Another key song on Marlowe’s new album is the title cut “Keepin’ The Lights On,” which he wrote about keeping the faith after his family experienced a financial crisis. Other highlights are the thoughtul, reflective song “On My Way Out” (written by Hardy, Bobby Pinson, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson & Taylor Phillips) and the tender, romantic ballad “Quit You” (by Marlowe, James McNair & John Pierce).

Marlowe, who is 26, was born and raised in the city of Kannapolis, North Carolina, where he started singing in church when he was 10. When he was a teenager, he formed a band that performed live during his high school years.

Here’s the video of Kameron Marlowe & Ella Langley’s single,

Marlowe then attended college, but he needed to drop out to help support his mother, who was diagnosed with a degenerative disc injury. While working as a car parts salesman, Marlowe received a call from a talent recruiter for the TV show, The Voice. The recruiter had seen his live performance videos on YouTube, and it led to Marlowe appearing on the show’s Blind Auditions premiere in 2018. Although Marlowe did not win The Voice, his TV appearances helped him gain exposure and created an opportunity for him to pursue his career in Nashville.

Then in 2019, Marlowe independently released his debut song, “Giving You Up,” which amassed 15 million streams and helped him secure a management deal and a publishing deal (with Sony Music Publishing). A year later, Marlowe signed a label deal with Columbia Nashville Records.

We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Kameron Marlowe. He discusses his early hit ‘Giving You Up,” his single “Strangers” (with Ella Langley), and his new album, Keepin’ The Lights On.

DK: I read that you’re from North Carolina. How did you get started with singing and writing songs?

Kameron Marlowe: I grew up in church singing…it’s what you do in a small town Baptist church. I found out that I really enjoyed music, and I started listening to a lot of music, anything from early country to new rock and other styles. I’m a big advocate for all genres, so I try to listen to as much as I can.

In high school, I start dabbling with writing songs. Then fast forward a bit…I ended up going on the show, The Voice. And the best part about it, was I got to meet songwriters and they were awesome. I was blown away that it was a real job, and people did that everyday for work. So once the show ended, I found myself going to Nashville as much as I could, getting in the songwriting community and writing more songs. And I think that’s where it all started for me. It was making the move to Nashville and learning the songwriting process.

Here’s the video of Kameron Marlowe’s song, “Keepin’ The
Lights On.”

DK: Early on, you wrote & released a song called “Giving You Up,” which became a viral hit. Can you tell the story behind writing that song?

Marlowe: That was a very true song to me. It’s about a girl that I was going to marry, but it ended up not working out. So I went home one night and I was a little torn down…I didn’t know what to do. I picked up my guitar and started saying thoughts off the top of my head, and I jotted down words. One of the first things I wrote down was,
“I’m giving you up.” And I thought…I can work my way around that. So I started writing down lines of different things I needed to get off my chest, and I wrote five or six verses of that song. Then I narrowed down the verses, and I put it out. And fans really seemed to attach themselves to it, because a lot of them told me they connected to the song on a deeper level because they’ve been through similar situations. So I think it’s special when your music connects with the audience.

DK: Two years ago, you released your first album, We Were Cowboys. Can you talk about the making of this album?

Marlowe: Most of the songs were written in Wyoming with my buddy Wyatt McCubbin, who’s a very special songwriter. He’s so good at bringing ideas to life. So I wrote a lot of that out there, and then we got together in the studio to record it. We spent 6-7 days in the studio cutting all the songs, and then we later recorded other songs. And it rounded out as a good first project. It taught me a lot about that process of making an album, and it gave me a launching pad to know what I was getting into for my next record.

DK: I like your new single, “Strangers,” which is a duet with Ella Langley. How did you and Ella write this song?

Marlowe: I met Ella in Maui. We were doing a songwriters’ festival there, and we became fast friends. She’s such a sweet girl…she’s great and she’s hilarious. Then later on, we were playing a show in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she was opening up for me. And we were talking before her set and she says, “What haven’t we ever written before?” And I was like, “You’re right.” So we booked a day, and sat down with a couple of our songwriting buddies. We didn’t really know what we were getting into, and I think Ella was like, “Why don’t we try to write a duet?’ I said, “Well I hadn’t really done a duet before…we’ll give it our best shot and see what happens.”

Here’s the video of Kameron Marlowe’s hit, “Giving You Up.”

So we sat down and started creating these two characters, and creating this story that we both connected to. And it turned into this beautiful song that has a lot of emotion, and a lot of harmonies and melodies. To be honest with you (laughs), there’s a lot to that song to sing.

DK: I like the video you did with “Strangers,” where you and Ella are sitting at a table in a restaurant, and then the place eventually goes on fire. So what it fun making that video?

Marlowe: It was. Spoiler alert—it wasn’t a real fire. It was weird to film that way, because the fire was all done in a post situation. We had somebody from L.A. who does special effects for TV shows and movies, do this video, and he crushed it. It looks very real, and I’ve never that done before, where I’m acting like there’s a fire around. So it’s a weird concept to do, but when you see the finished product it really comes together.

DK: On May 31, you’ll be releasing your new album, Keepin’ The Lights On. Can you talk about the making of the album?

Marlowe: This album has been a journey for me. I took two years to write this album, because there was mentally a lot of growing up I needed to do, and learning about myself as a writer and as a person. So this album feels a lot more mature to me in my writing. And even the outside songs that I didn’t write, they are more mature than I feel like I’ve done before. I’m very proud of the way these songs came together, because every song on there, even if I didn’t write it, I feel like I lived it.

DK: I like your new songs “On My Way Out” and “Quit You.” Can you talk about these songs?

Marlowe: “On My Way Out” is actually an outside cut; it was written by Hardy (and other writers). When that song was sent to me, it was a feeling that I know I’ve felt before, because the world is moving so fast around me right now. I don’t think I’ve had so much go on in the last couple years. I feel like that song brings me down to earth, and it makes me think about these moments that are flying by that I need to appreciate more. It sets up this thought of…When I go, I want to make sure that I’ve done everything to live this life as best as I possibly could.

Here’s the video of Kameron Marlowe’s new song, “On My Way Out.”

And “Quit You” is a very special song to me. I wrote that one about my fiance, because she is an incredible human being, and I’m very lucky to have her in my life. When we were sitting down and writing this song, it gives a call back to my first song that we talked about, “Giving You Up.” The first words of “Quit You” is the chorus almost of “Giving You Up,” and it’s because I feel like it’s closing a chapter in that world of my love story. So this song means a lot to me because it’s about my fiance.

DK: On your new album, besides the songs we’ve discussed, what are your favorite songs?

Marlowe: The title track (“Keepin’ The Lights On”) is probably my favorite song on that record. It’s a very personal song to me. It’s about my family and growing up the way that I did. When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot. We were poor, but my parents never made us feel like we were poor. They did everything they could to give us what we needed and more. And last year, my dad actually lost his job, and when he lost his job they were down really bad. It put a wrench in things…in a lot of their plans and what they wanted to do.

I went home one weekend because they were down…they needed to spend some family time together, And me and Pops, we sat on the back porch and we were talking about life over a glass of bourbon. Then he looked at me and said, “Man, for the first time I don’t know if I’m going to keep the lights on.” And that really struck me, because he’s done so much, and that was the first time I’ve seen my father that vulnerable to me, in a financial situation like that. So this song wraps up in a sense of…I made a promise to myself and my family, to always do the best that I can and try to keep the lights on for them. They’re my rock…I love them so much and I’m very thankful for them.

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima