Soul singer CAMEN (derived from his real name Pascal Camenzind) began his musical career imitating rock and roll singer Shakin' Stevens, who enjoyed international popularity in the 1980s. At the incredible age of 10, CAMEN was already performing concerts in hotels and festival halls with a professional band.
CAMEN: "Rock and roll was my first big love. But when Terence Trent D'Arby took the global charts by storm in 1987 and was feted as 'the new James Brown,' I was gripped by soul and funk fever and never looked back. I was 12 years old at the time and began to write my own songs. My first youth band came into being shortly afterwards. Stylistically, we moved between soul, funk, pop and rock music."
CAMEN, who comes from a family of classical musicians, became something of a "child star." With his youth band, Mighty Sharp, he enjoyed impressive national and international success between the ages of 13 and 17: he emerged victorious in the largest European music competition at the time for musicians under 18 years of age ("Talent Explosion", organized and broadcast by the German TV channel SAT 1 and Yamaha); his band was named the best band in the Canton of Zurich by the renowned Swiss station Radio 24
at the Kaufleuten venue in Zurich; and the band was soul legend Chaka Khan's supporting act in Germany. At the age of 16, CAMEN played with his Band "Mighy Sharp" in the sold-out renowned
Swiss music club "Albani Music Club". "Mighty Sharp" was at that time the youngest band in the history of the club, which managed to sell out the club. Due to the great demand, an additional
concert followed two weeks later.
Alongside international music journals and major teen magazines like "Bravo" and "Popcorn," even the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" newspaper reported almost euphorically on the extraordinary talent of the teenager. After four successful years with his youth band, CAMEN embarked on a solo career. He first appeared for two years at numerous clubs and bars in Switzerland and nearby countries with renowned Swiss jazz pianist Christian Rösli. The Zurich piano bar "Splendid" contracted the duo to appear every other Friday and Saturday to play their R&B and jazz set.
CAMEN: "As a 17-year-old I was playing in clubs with a minimum age of 18, which I naturally found extremely appealing. This period lived up to the clichéd view of jazz gigs taking place in smoky, dark and dingy bars – I learned a lot. The year that I subsequently spent as a language student and street musician in England was also formative. I had always wanted to perform street music and fulfilled this dream there."
In 1994 CAMEN was awarded in the national music competition "Swiss Top" by Radio DRS together with three other artists. As a result, the album "Swiss Top" was released. CAMEN contributed three self-penned songs ("What am I gonna do", "Almighty Father" and "The way they talk to me").
After completing business studies and military service, "PASCAL CAMEN," as he
called himself at the time, met his fellow countryman DJ Bobo (biggest selling Swiss artist) at the music fair MIDEM in Cannes, handed him a demo tape and provided him with a live sample of his
abilities there and then. CAMEN's exceptional talent as a singer and songwriter impressed DJ Bobo so much that he signed a recording contract with him (Yes Music/EMI Records) and also took
over his management. Bobo removed the first name "Pascal" and took him along on a European tour under the name "CAMEN." With the R&B ballad "5000 Miles Away," which CAMEN co-wrote, he made it
into the official Swiss charts for the first time shortly afterwards, achieving his national breakthrough. The song was one of the most frequently played numbers on Swiss radio stations for
months. It was followed by his debut album "Twelve," which reached number 32 in the charts. Also his self-written song "So many mistakes" made it into the Top 40 of the Swiss Airplay Charts
In the following years, CAMEN rarely played in front of fewer than 10,000 people and saw several chart hits. Another highlight was a European tour as the special guest of US megastars *N SYNC (Justin Timberlake), which CAMEN was fully involved with. During the last show on the tour, the global stars sang a duet with CAMEN at their own volition in recognition of and out of respect for his talent.
At the zenith of his career, for artistic reasons, CAMEN decided not to renew his recording contract despite a lucrative offer.
CAMEN: "Despite an ever-increasing level of recognition, I felt a deep and growing need to become even more authentic as a musician and artist and to enjoy more artistic freedom. I didn't believe that this was possible under the circumstances at the time and so I parted company with my recording firm and management. I remain very grateful to DJ Bobo for our collaboration over the period. Thanks to him I was able to fulfill many of my childhood dreams."
After CAMEN was the
official voice of the Streetparade anthem "Still have a dream" in 2009, he moved more and more back to his soul roots. In 2010 CAMEN played a concert with the over 40-piece symphony orchestra
Camerata Switzerland under the direction of the British star conductor Howard Griffiths. The concert took place outdoors on Zurich's Bürkliplatz in front of thousands of people and opened the
official fireworks of the "Zürifäscht". The concert could be heard throughout the city of Zurich via loudspeakers. In the following years he played hundreds of club gigs internationally and
released another three albums. With his last and most recent release, the soul album "Move On", CAMEN reached the TOP 10 of the Swiss charts. For 6 years now CAMEN has been playing as a resident
at Zurich's prestigious venue "Terrasse".
CAMEN: "The time at Terrasse Zurich was very special. The evenings were always "magical" and with a twinkle in my eye I started to call the place "my Living Room". I am very proud to have been booked six years in a row by changing managers in one of the most renowned venues, right in the heart of the city of Zurich. Zurich is a tough place for a band; they say we were the first to manage to play at the Terrasse for such a long period of time. It took the pandemic to stop us."
In 2021 CAMEN released the single "Wake up next to you" and played a supporting role in the international motion picture "Color of heaven" alongside Carlos Leal. CAMEN played himself in the film and performed as a singer in one scene. He was back in the mainstream media, made various TV appearances such as "Lifestyle" with Patricia Boser or "Lässer - die Talkshow". Magazines like "Gala" or "Schweizer Illustrierte" reported big about the singer. The single "For the women" followed, an homage to the women and mothers of this world. The reggae number received extremely positive feedback and had a lot of airplay. The video clip by Ukrainian director Taras Merenkov supported the song with striking images of women.
In 2022, US songwriter and former guitar player of Michael Jackson Becky Barksdale became aware of CAMEN's voice. She wrote him and the two began a collaboration. A joint release is in the works.