Today, Corrin Campbell is responsible for shining a little light on us in the form of her brand new single, “Sunbeam.” Fortunately, Campbell is in a giving mood and delivering not one, but two vastly different versions of the song—two mixes that illustrate the great breadth of her musicality. Originally off her 2010 album, Game Night, the track can be found on her brand new album, Greatest Hits Dual Disc, which brings together in one collection the best cuts from her dynamic and productive career. While the album is not due out until January 2021, Campbell has already started the hype train, with plans to release singles in pairs leading up to its release.
Thematically, “Sunbeam” is literally about finding the light when times are tough. “Even the strongest women go through times where they need someone to break through the darkness,” Campbell explains. “These sister tracks showed my two sides of that feeling: the remix shows the pensive, intense side while the cello version shows a vulnerable, heartfelt plea. Calling out for help is never easy… and never has only one narrative.”
While most artists’ greatest hits collections are just songs cobbled together from their career and delivered in one neat little package, Campbell aimed much higher with her collection. The two-part album will feature both orchestral and remixed versions of her songs, extending back to her 2008 debut Exhibit A as well as her work in various groups.
Despite the challenges presented by putting a new spin on old songs, Campbell wanted to provide her fans with something special that would at the same time be retrospective and allow her to reinvent her sound to some extent. If you’re a new listener, you’ll quickly discover her knack for creativity and inventiveness, and you’ll be sucked in by her personal touch. Campbell has a natural gift for connecting with people, partially due to her unbelievable past as a member of the Armed Forces. A combat veteran of the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army, Campbell has amassed a dedicated base of support with her fans referring to themselves as members of the Campbell Corps.
With the Campbell Corps set to expand now with the release of Greatest Hits Dual Disc, Corrin Campbell is happy to carry on with her mission; to inspire you to embrace your individuality and to find your place in the world.
Before we talk about the different mixes of the track, where did the lyrical inspiration come from for “Sunbeam?” What was on your mind when you wrote this?
Corrin Campbell: “As someone who has struggled with mental health for a good deal of my adult life, there have been many times where I felt boxed into darkness, stuck behind the walls of a self-made prison. At some point in my young adult life, I had read an old 1954 short story by Ray Bradbury called All Summer in a Day. I think it was also made into a TV adaptation in the early ‘80s. The story is set on Venus, a planet that (in this story) is covered in rain and they see the sun only for one hour every seven years.
The protagonist, Margot, is a child who had moved to Venus from Earth and knew the sun well, but the children on Venus hate her for it and, on the day the Sun is coming, they lock her in a closet. I really identified with Margot, who knew sunlight but then was locked away from it. The lyrics of ‘Sunbeam’ are somewhat centered around that feeling, and the desire that someone or something (even myself) would come break down those barriers and bring me back to the light.”
How involved were you with the two different mixes of “Sunbeam?” Did you mix them yourself or did you offer direction to how you wanted each version to sound?
“I did not mix ‘Sunbeam’ myself, but I worked closely with both producers on their mixes. It was important to me that the cellos on the orchestral version have a very ‘live’ feel, where you can hear the wood of the cello, and the texture of the bow. I wanted it to feel intimate and close while also being able to compete with the vocal. The remix version, though largely instrumental, didn’t originally have all the vocals that are there now. I wanted to make sure that there were highs and lows, to really express the desperation of the narrative within the intense and glitchy instrumentals.”
Both mixes of “Sunbeam” show a lot of versatility with each version sounding very different from the other. Is there a version that you prefer, or do you feel that one of them is more representative of you as an artist than the other?
“‘Sunbeam’ has a bit of a bi-polar nature. There is a lot of hope, but also a lot of intense darkness and frustration. To me, the orchestral version brings out more of the hope and beauty, where the remix has more of the stuck-underground, intense frustration vibe. It was amazing how these both panned out, because I really did feel that each was created to reflect those opposite feelings that were melded into one song.”
“Sunbeam” is off your new Greatest Hits Dual Disc, a double album with orchestral and remix versions of some of your best songs. What made you decide to do such an expansive collection with different versions of every song?
“I see too many ‘Greatest Hits’ albums that are just the original versions of all songs with a new single or two shoved on there. It always felt like a ‘throw-away’ to me when artists did that. Did they owe their label one more release, and this is how they checked the box? Were they just buying time for their next album and the label/management thought they should release something in the meantime? No judgement on those artists, really, but I have always felt that it was a missed opportunity to add a creative element. So, once I started down this different path… I just couldn’t stop.”
It must have taken some time to compile such a collection seeing as it necessitated reworking each of the 20 songs contained on the album. What was the process like to create this album and how far back did you begin working on it?
“Originally, the Greatest Hits album was meant to be a single-disc acoustic collection. I didn’t originally plan for it to go this way. But as I started this project (over three years ago), I was looking over my discography and deciding what songs to include. I realized how so many of the songs were written in lessons learned, how the project was offering an opportunity to reflect on where I was when they were written.
I think there is an assumption that once you write a song, you get the feelings out of your system and you are past them. But more of my songs continued to speak of me at the present, and I felt it was only right to bring them into the present with these new versions.
As a child, I played piano and cello, which inspired the orchestral version, and the remix version was brought out by my favourite kind of music (outside of rock), which is EDM, deep house, etc… Both have an ‘orchestrated’ composition to them, so I was thrilled that the project skewed this way and took on a life of its own.”