‘I Need Your Love’ Interview with Walker Kalan and Camille Trust

Making a career in the music industry is not easy. Yes, we have stories like Justin Bieber making it to the big stage after uploading videos on YouTube, but it doesn’t mean that it would happen every other month. A lot of aspiring musicians have to go through a lot of things to achieve success in this field, and the struggles are never shown to us. Aspiring musicians sacrifice a lot as they try to become successful in this field. One such name in the industry is Camille Trust, and even though she has garnered a level of success in what she does, she continues to work hard and make a name for herself.

Trust released her first EP, No Other Way, in May 2018 and didn’t take much time to become a force to be reckoned with. Her music has been praised by several big outlets such as Billboard, TIME Magazine, and more. But Trust hasn’t let fame get to her head and realizes what fame means for her. The musician, along with director Walker Kalan, has come forward with an indie series titled I Need Your Love to make people understand her life and the lives of millions of aspiring musicians.

The series, which had its premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles Camille Trust’s journey to try to make it big in the music industry. However, she has to go through a lot in the process. Performing at weddings where people don’t care about the singer to performing at shitty nightclubs, I Need Your Love beautifully captures the initial phase of a musician. I had the pleasure of talking to Camille Trust and Walker Kalan over Zoom about the series and how they built up a story about struggling musicians in New York.

The Interview with I Need Your Love’s Walker Kalan and Camille Trust

[Editor’s Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.]

Aayush Sharma: What drew you to tell Camille Trust’s story? Were there specific aspects of her struggles that resonated with you the most?

Walker Kalan: So many things are running through my mind right now, I’m trying to pick one approach to answer this. But I would say that I have known Camille and we have known each other since we met about 12 years ago in New York. And, and we’ve been very close friends ever since. We have experienced a lot of the world together. And I’ve just been a huge supporter of her and had a front-row seat to her life in these intervening years. And the amount of material, frankly, is astounding that we could easily stack 10 or 15 seasons of, high-quality, prestige television. So it was a matter of just choosing.

Walker Kalan: I think we had the right sort of idea for the first one, which paints a picture, that both of us think sort of like sets the table, sets the stage for what it’s like to be a working musician in New York, and specifically, one with Camille’s aspirations as a singer, which are big, big aspirations. So we just basically had all these stories floating around. And once it was a go, once we decided we were going to do this thing, we, started to narrow it down. We went back and forth and we had a lot of discussions over dinners and drinks.

Walker Kalan: Then I got to write these things. And once we had drafts, we would share them and we’d read them together. Camille would be very honest with me about what was working and what wasn’t. Then I would take it back, do crazy rewrites. But you know, trying to make it as true because like, frankly, there’s no point if I disagreed with her on something it was, it was always like, well, what’s the point of disagreeing when we could just come up with something that we both think is even better.

Walker Kalan: So that’s generally where we ended up at, you know, it can be tough as a writer sometimes to not always get exactly what you want. But that’s like anything in life, we have to deal with it. So it was a very fruitful and wonderful experience, the writing and all of it, but like the writing is where it begins.

Aayush Sharma The first scene of the pilot shows what up-and-coming singers go through in the initial phases of their career and you must have gone through that as well. Given the series’ basis in reality, what were the aspects of your life that you wanted to show and the aspects you didn’t want to show?

Camille Trust: I think when Walker because this whole idea to me and the project to me in the first place, I came back to him and I was like, you know, I’ve always wanted to start a series how you saw it getting started, and or start a movie or something because I’ve been singing weddings for like, 10 years now. And I’ve seen it all to be honest. But the level of just like, that’s so true, like what you saw in that moment of like the level of just these performers, and these musicians like performing their asses off for people.

Camille Trust: There have been so many countless times in my life where I’m performing for my life and I have to be giving 100% and then I look out and no one’s even paying attention or listening or, you know, they’re talking to their friends or they’re just talking over me. And so I feel like that was just such a perfect kind of depiction of what it’s like, and in terms of aspects that I didn’t want to show. I’m not sure.

Walker Kalan: Yeah, no, I don’t think that there was any like storyline in which I was like, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about this’, like, I think I had a pretty good sense of. Yeah, I think we both were just fairly, like almost perfectly aligned on what works and where we’re, there was nothing. I wasn’t like, oh my god, we got to tell the one about the time you woke up like somewhere that never happened. So I don’t think there’s anywhere we haven’t gone yet. And there’s a lot more places to go.

Aayush Sharma: One of the best scenes in the pilot was how you tried recording a jingle and the voices from the outside kept on disturbing you. It’s so natural and funny. How did you approach the series to ensure humor landed while still conveying the emotional weight of Camille’s journey?

Walker Kalan: She (Camille) was living with me for a period of time during the pandemic. When one of my roommates moved out, she moved in. And I just heard these jingles coming from the bedroom and I just started, it was the funniest thing in the world. To me, I was like recording it outside of the bedroom door just like trying to integrate the same thing over and I was like that stuck in my head, it was just hilarious.

Camille Trust: I was just gonna refer to that as when I was living with Walker. It would be the stupidest thing, you know what I mean? I have to record like 20 takes of it. And I’m like, you know, just having to do like doubles and shout it and like, whatever the word is, and it’s insane. Jingles are just so funny.

Camille Trust: But if you’re not like in the process of doing it like poor Walker’s just like living in the house, and I’m screaming, you know, like, American Family Insurance or something, you know I think he was just inspired by that, again, by a real thing that happened when I was living with him. And I was just recording this jingle over and over and over again. So, yeah, and it’s real, and also just living in New York, like there are sounds and bullshit at all times.

Aayush Sharma: What was the casting process like for I Need Your Love, and how did you determine that the chosen actors, especially for Camille Trust, were the right fit for their roles?

Walker Kalan: Yeah, so I’m just going to talk about everyone. In addition to Camille. The vast majority of people that we had who had speaking roles in the show were either personal friends of ours or others who had very minimal acting experience, at least in this kind of thing. It was entirely up to the right people, for the people that you know, I don’t necessarily like, I don’t think the idea of auditioning for these kinds of things was ever even considered, it was always about like, we know who was right. Just because either we know someone or have spent enough time around them to just know.

Walker Kalan: The number one thing is, can they just be relaxed enough? Or can we get them relaxed enough in front of the camera? That’s the only thing and that’s basically like my job I guess. But besides that, it’s entirely in the individual and the chemistry that they have either with Camille or with the camera, I would say. And, like, I wish we had more time to go into the specific cast, which includes Inès [Nassara], Athan [Chekas], and Willy [Rincón], they’re all friends, either friends prior and continue to be friends or new friends. They’re all wonderful and I just love working with people who are not necessarily coming from acting school or have a big acting career because they bring something more of themselves and less studied. I think that’s just so much more compelling to me.

Aayush Sharma: The entire episode about Taylor Swift talks about a lot of things, but most importantly it says a lot about toxic fandom. You are a part of the industry, how hard it is for someone to understand that people might not like your music or someone copied you and just because they are bigger, it doesn’t mean they don’t do that. Why do we see people behaving like that? 

Camille Trust: I think that it’s really in that whole episode is sort of just a narrative about that and how aggressive fans can be and I think for me, I dealt with that. I’m dealing with that still. And it’s pretty, you just kind of have to mute it because if you suck yourself in And then you’re just gonna, like, absolutely go on a downward spiral that is nowhere near as helpful at all for your mental health and ego. So I sort of just like I don’t read any of the comments and I think like, because you’re putting your art out there.

Camille Trust: And even for this, we’re putting our art out there, right? People are going to talk people are going to talk, there’s going to be negatives, and there’s going to be positives and like, but I think that it’s just like, you just being able to kind of just like, A, be sure and confident of your self and like just being like, I’m doing the best that I can do. I’m not gonna allow these voices to infiltrate my process and my career. And the other side, I think, it’s just very insane how, how protective, you know, the fan groups can be of the artist. So we sort of wanted to do a satiric twist on that.

Walker Kalan: I think, you know, Camille’s response is more powerful than mine could be because she’s lived through that, I think. I think there’s, you know, it’s a very mixed thing, like when it comes because nothing is black and white, we all know that. But like the idea of this super fandom, on the one hand, it’s really cool, because people can form communities, with people, you know, folks from around the world, online, and it’s really cool. And it’s like it can make the world and the human experience less isolating.

Walker Kalan: But then it can become this, like herd mentality, where because I could just turn my screen off here and suddenly, you don’t know who I am, you can’t see my face. That might inspire me to do some mean ass things because I feel less responsible for my behavior. So that can get a little scary. And I don’t, you know, this isn’t about any specific artist. And this really isn’t, like, we had the storyline that we wrote, but it’s not a commentary on a specific artist. It’s a commentary on like, the way things are out there these days, which I think I think there’s a whole series that Donald Glover has about that, so I’m sure he can say it better.

Aayush Sharma: What overarching message do you hope I Need Your Love conveys to viewers, and how do you believe this film contributes to broader conversations about the music industry? 

Camille Trust: In terms of the music industry aspect of it, I think it is just really telling that it’s not easy, and that and this story isn’t necessarily being like, and then she gets the deal. She gets the record deal at the end and look at her go, you know, it’s like, no, I live and I live in this world. I’ve been in this industry and doing the hustle and doing the day-to-day and performing at all the shittiest nightclubs in the tri-state area, hustling for my life. And some so many people have the big dream, and what happens if the dream doesn’t actually go, you know, and how do they? How do you continue to survive?

Camille Trust: And how do you continue to believe in yourself when all the odds are against you, and you don’t have luck on your side once or again, you know, and I would say, I know so many musicians and one of us has made it out, you know, and, they’re probably not even that happy anyways, like, and so it’s just so crazy to just, I think it just is telling the real, the realness of a very difficult industry to break into a very difficult industry to even survive and thrive and flourish in even if you do succeed. What does that even mean? So then it’s sort of having to find the balance of that versus self and happiness and self-love and self-joy and self-fulfillment, you know?

I Need Your Love recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Learn more about the film at the Tribeca website for the title.

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