Angel with an Attitude: Nini Camps
by Olivia Flores Alvarez
Chances are you’ve already heard Nini Camps. If you’re a fan of MTV’s Real World, the WB’s Felicity, or (shame on you!) The Mary Kate and Ashley Show, you’ve most likely heard Camps’s smooth, bluesy tunes playing in the background of all the on-screen drama. The singer-songwriter has also gotten airplay on NPR, and cuts from her two CDs made the soundtracks of the indie films Motorcycle Diaries and Amy’s Orgasm. Now you have the chance to see her perform live at Chances, March 13.
Fresh off the success of her second release, So Long, Camps will be in Houston during a Texas mini-tour that includes a stop at South by Southwest and a few dates where she’ll open for Los Lonely Boys, one of the hottest alternative rock groups around. This isn’t Camps’s first Houston visit. She was here during the 2003 Houston Women’s Festival.
Originally from Miami, Camps now lives in New York City where she’s an integral part of the “girls with guitars” scene. She recorded her first CD, Lovepie, in co-producer Marilyn D’Amato’s living room, and a solo tour of the Northeast followed. When she came in off the road, Camps had a newly sophisticated, mature sound and a renewed thirst to record. She went into the studio with producer David Seitz, crafting a stylish and passionate So Long.
Rock, alternative, country, blues, salsa, it’s all in there. And it’s all well done. With a pure, silky voice that seduces and challenges at the same time, Camps is an angel with a guitar … and an attitude. Camps sprinkles what she calls “Spanish-y” songs in her show and recordings, and So Long featured a rock-tinged, very hip version of the Cuban classic “Guantanamera.” “Latin music’s not what I listen to most of the time, but it’s in my blood, and I love being able to reach back to my heritage and include a couple of [Spanish] songs in my show. And even the people who don’t understand the lyrics, they still get the feeling of the song, they still get the message. Plus once everybody gets dancing, nobody cares what language I’m singing in!” she laughs.
Expect a bit of witty banter during Camps’s stage show. It’s a skill she polished as part of the Acoustic Girl Circle, a 1998 tour with Marilyn D’Amato, Trina Hamlin, and Leslie Nuchow, where playful tête-à-tête was as much of the show as music. And there’s also a lot of sizzle to her live performances, thanks to her dark, sultry good looks. But ha-ha’s and eye candy aside, Nini Camps is all about the music.
Nini Camps appears at Chances, 1100 Westheimer, on March 13. For more information, call 713/523-7217 or visit www.chancesbar.com.