FLINT, Michigan -- With blond curled hair, an excited demeanor, and a vibe that’s reminiscent of California surfer boys, Flint artist Cam Howe is different. There’s a colorful flair to his persona that sets him apart from his peers, as seen through his sense of fashion, his multi-colored Jordan sneakers, and bright music videos. But underneath the persona sits a young man looking beyond past circumstances and utilizing music to do it.
“Right now, I am an artist like no other,” he says, sitting in the dining room of his two-bedroom apartment. “I have a different story, and I feel like that’s what’s singling me out in the area.”
His statement isn’t farfetched. Howe is multiracial—African-American, Irish, Dutch, Polish, and Italian. He was born in Flint but spent most of his life in Connecticut, a place he calls “New York’s little brother,” and “grew up playing hockey.”
Initially, Howe held plans to pursue a football career reminiscent of his father, who played for Michigan State University. All that fell through when he tore his ACL right before starting the season, ending all his dreams of playing football, hockey, and baseball. Debating whether or not to return to Connecticut, Howe tapped into another talent, one he’d done for years but never told anyone, music, and rapping.
With a mixtape and a handful of singles to his name, Howe’s built an impressive fanbase following his 2016 win on Club 93.7’s #60secondchallenge. But trouble followed him, and the events, captured through various tattoos, a scar, and his trademark blond hair, are reminders. After winning the #60secondchallenge, Howe had a run-in with the law. Unable to afford a lawyer, he stayed out of trouble for years and dyed his hair before ultimately serving his time.
“(Those years were) really what changed me and made me who I am. You can’t go out there, you gotta stay right here, so what are you gonna do to maintain your time?” His tattoos tell other stories. On his right arm holds his mother’s name—a solemn reminder of the turbulent relationship they have. “Fear no evil” on his left tells the story of the artist being robbed and pistol-whipped in Flint—a moment that left a permanent scar.
“I feared no evil at that second. I told him, 'you gon’ have to shoot me,'" Howe remembers with a pensive look. "If evil’s coming my way, I have no reason to fear it if I have a God looking over me.”
Those moments made him question life, but music gave him a second opportunity and a new direction. Over the last five years, Howe has spent time “bouncing couch to couch at friends’ houses,” perfecting his craft and giving love back to the city that gave him so much. All of this has birthed a spiritual side to him—one he takes very seriously and allows him to connect with and make music in unique ways.
“I’m very spiritual. I sit here and see numbers every day. When it comes to music and when I’m writing, I don’t have a typical flow,” he says. “When the beat goes, what energy am I picking up. How can I connect with the listener? There’s a whole different frequency, a vibe."
With the attunement of listening to frequencies, catching the words in between cadences, and manipulating sounds, it’s no wonder that he met two of the city’s rising stars: Ace Gabbana and Jeff Skigh. The trio connected last September to release Skigh’s single, 2 You, produced by ProdByDet with Julien York of York X Production on videography. For the release of his November single, Like Me, Howe tapped on Skigh and York again. Recently, Howe’s connected with local artist Cameron Tyler and Flint icon Jon Connor, an experience he recalls that was like “watching history.”
“That had me like wow. When I came there, I knew what I was coming to do. I was coming ready for the fight,” Howe says with a laugh. “I bit my tongue, but I was very chill, and like a sponge. Being around somebody like Jon Connor, I sat there and took things as confirmation.”
Confirmation that this new path Howe was on was indeed the right one. Now, in 2021, there’s nothing holding him back from achieving his dreams and attaining success. For him, Flint is home, and it’s because “the first radio station [to interview me] was 93.7. The first stage I grabbed the mic on was at Flint Local 432.” With his past as his motivator and brighter future, he intends to continue spreading love and positivity.
“I don’t look too far ahead. I told myself 2022 is my year,” Howe says. “2022 is my XXL Magazine. That’s where I’m aiming. We’re doing a hundred thousand dollar features, touring, and three videos over a million views. That’s what 2022 is like.”
You can find Cam Howe on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can listen to his latest single, Like Me on all media platforms.