She was attending Whitworth College, a private Christian school in Spokane, Wash. Her first coach had left and a “pretty conservative” one replaced her. A clash of values led to Bloom being benched, so she quit the team, had to give up her scholarship and transfer schools.
“I wasn’t a ‘Christian kid,’ ” Bloom said in a phone interview last week. “It was heartbreaking. There’s more to the story, maybe someday I’ll tell it.”
Since she couldn’t bear to touch a basketball, Bloom found something else to channel her feelings: a guitar. She had grown up around music and had written poetry for a long time, so purging her emotions through song would seem like a natural fit, though it took her a while.
“I was sitting in biology class when I wrote my first song,” she said. “It was such an embarrassing first attempt I swore I’d never share it.”
Bloom plowed through that painful initial effort and through some severe stage fright to build her career as a performer. Today, she will perform a free show for a Bon Fete Events free community concert in advance of the Nov. 8 release of her new album “Never Out of Time,” her first record with a consistent theme.
“I don’t even attempt to write a theme album but this album does have a theme,” she said. “I realized after we recorded that it has one.
“I did a lot of personal work the last few years as I was writing the album, letting go of those people and things did not benefit me,” she explained. “People who didn’t serve me energetically that weren’t really friends, that sort of thing. I went through that purging process and found I needed to let some things go.”
Among the songs on the album that resulted from this purgation is “Top of My Game?” The song deals with the self-doubt of wondering if you have gone as far as you can in life, Bloom said. The title of the track stops the listener in their tracks by combining a confident phrase and bringing it to a screeching halt with a question mark.
“Is this the Top of My Game, For Today – Or for Always” the song begins. “I feel I’m losing my Aim, Who’s to blame – but me.”
Another song, called “Running Out of Time,” seemingly contradicts the theme of the new album. However, Bloom explained, it is about a friend who has hit rock bottom with addiction and that she had to step away from the person for both of their benefits.
After her basketball career ended and she graduated college, Bloom went on to teach high school English and coach basketball for about four years. During that time, however, she migrated from being a teacher who played music to being a musician who happened to be teaching. It was during her early performing days that she discovered she had almost debilitating stage fright, something that never hit her when she played in front of crowds on the basketball court.
“I think the difference was I was very confident in basketball,” she said. “From the time I was 5 I was told I was a great player so I had level of confidence. ...Singing is so vulnerable, especially singing solo (I am) singing my own words, my own heart’s truth.”
In 2004, however, something clicked in the middle of performing and she thought, “This is fun,” marking the end of her stage fright. Today, she talks to the audience from the stage, telling listeners where her songs came from. And on her current tour to promote the forthcoming album, she hopes to express where the music came from to give audiences a fuller experience.
“That’s kind of part of my thing: connecting with the audience,” she said.
Camille Bloom performs a free concert today at 7 p.m. at 909 Sbragia Way in Sparks. For more information about the show, call 315-5168 or email email@example.com. For more about Bloom’s music, visit www.camillebloom.com.