Cammy Enaharo is easily filling a large role in Rochester's indie music scene. The 25-year-old, ukulele-strumming, singer-songwriter performs solo acoustic shows on a regular basis and plays with several local bands, including Pleistocene and Ben Morey and The Eyes. She also recently got involved in a new project, Gold Koa, with Matt Battle and Kamara Robideau of Oh Manitou.
Enaharo performs with a maturity that's beyond her years. Her voice has a rich, soulful tone that creates an emotional connection to whatever she's singing, while her baritone ukulele adds a nice, warm touch, feeling like sunshine coming through on a cloudy day.
CITY reached out to Enaharo — who has a concert with The Young Couples, Total Yuppies, and Long Movers at the Bug Jar on December 2 — by phone and posed a few questions to the troubadour. An edited transcript follows.
CITY: What are some songs you enjoyed listening to while growing up?
Cammy Enaharo: Growing up, my mom played a lot of Lauryn Hill and also Diana Ross. I'm a huge fan of Regina Spektor — she's one of my biggest influences — and there's an artist named Lady Lamb, who I love.
What do you like most about Spektor's music?
I love how relatable she is. She's smart and funny, and besides having a beautiful voice and being so talented on the piano, I can visualize things and get really lost when I'm listening to Regina. I love her music so much that I have some of her lyrics tattooed on my arm from the song "Lady."
Where did you learn to sing?
I went to School of the Arts before I went to School Without Walls and I was in a few musicals. Mostly I learned to sing by listening to other people; I got onto YouTube and picked up sounds that I liked and tried to do those by myself.
How long did it take you to become proficient on ukulele?
It didn't take too long; the ukulele is such a great instrument that you can just pick it up and start playing. I went pretty hard at it and felt comfortable after 6 or 8 months. I watched Danielle Ate The Sandwich and Julia Nunes online and picked up things from them. My mom ended up getting me a ukulele for Christmas when I was in high school because of that.
Do you play any other instruments?
I also enjoy playing bass in Pleistocene. It's new for me, but I'm learning.
What's the difference for you between playing in a band and going solo?
Collaborating is incredible, and I feel like I've grown so much from being in Pleistocene with Katie Preston, Cam Dean, and Erick Perrine — the three of them are such good friends to me now. It's nice when you have an idea to be able to bounce it off of someone else and they're like, "That's great, but what if we add this to it," and I would have never have thought about doing that.
By collaborating with other people my confidence is coming up more. I'm learning how to be more assertive at shows. I'm very shy when performing by myself whereas with a group I feel like we've all created something together and it feels a little bit better than playing solo.
How have you seen your music progress since you started out?
When the music started at first, it was kind of goofy. I was just writing songs about friends and high school and nothing that was too personal. And now I'm able to be more vulnerable and I feel more comfortable talking about my feelings and relationships with people.
My close relationships are very important to me. Growing up, my mom has always been very supportive and willing to talk about anything. I've been able to open up to my mom and be vulnerable with her, through that I've been able to be vulnerable through music as well.
What are your songs about?
A lot of the songs are about being confused in life and not knowing exactly what you're doing, but finding little things to appreciate and being able to laugh at yourself. Most of the themes are like, "It's going to be okay overall."
Do you have a sense of optimism?
I think so, for the most part.
What's the most Rochester thing about you?
The most Rochester thing about me is that I went to School Without Walls. I had a supportive group of friends and teachers who let me roam the halls between classes in my socks to play my ukulele.