Cam Maclean

Things to know about Cam Maclean

Photos by Ariana Molly

Cam Maclean lived in his youth between Detroit and Toronto and throughout the Great Lakes region, with stints in New Brunswick and Cape Breton, NS; before finally settling in Montreal where he has lived for over a decade. His work is defined by lyrical and musical breadth; narrative lyrics draw from interests in philosophy and contemporary poetry. Maclean’s songs are structured around musical arrangements that emerge from his work as a multifaceted guitarist, beginning with Classical and folk guitar studies as a child, as well as from his collaborations with some of Canada’s most notable contemporary artists and producers. 

Cam Maclean entered the milieu of Montreal’s Mile End just as the neighborhood’s era of globally successful indie bands was approaching its apex. Playing early on with Pat Jordache and later with notable acts such as Braids, Cam cut his teeth on a long collaboration with Thom Gillies (TOPS, Blue Material) with whom he formed Vesuvio Solo. Nominated for the Polaris Music Prize both for their debut album Favors, (2014) and their sophomore LP Don’t Leave Me in the Dark, (2016) Vesuvio Solo toured broadly and played notable festivals in North America and Europe. Cam released his debut solo LP, Wait for Love (Atelier Ciseaux), in 2018. The record was well-received for its blend of singer-songwriter traditions, contemporary indie-rock, and psychedelic pop. Nylon Magazine touted Cam as one of “five Montreal-based musicians you need to know,” and similar praise came from outlets such as Gorilla vs. Bear, Le Devoir and ET Canada.

Following up his 2018 LP, Wait For Love, Maclean releasing a second solo record, Secret Verses, on May 13th, 2022, produced by 2021 Polaris Music Prize-winner Rollie Pemberton (Cadence Weapon), with additional production by Alex Crow. Recordings were engineered by Calvin Hartwick at Dream House Studios in Toronto, with additional recordings completed at Crow Studios in Montreal. Secret Verses further develops Maclean’s unique songwriting, with nods to 70s folk music, 80s New Wave, Yacht Rock, and contemporary Classical music. Encouraged by Pemberton as producer, Maclean embraced eclecticism and honest personal expression in putting together the record. Almost all instrumental and vocal performances on the record were performed by Maclean himself, and the songs feature arrangements that unashamedly seek to explore the broad musical territory.

Most recently, Maclean has released singles such as Sunday Driver as well as releasing (after a long hiatus) new music in 2024 with Vesuvio Solo with more soon to come. 

Bio by Patrick Leonard

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