Growing up, Camilla remembers being enamored with entertainers – of all genres. Whether it was listening to her favorite Country Music performers such as Dottie West and Marty Robbins or watching such variety series on television as The Lawrence Welk Show or Sonny and Cher, she was hooked. However, music was just a natural part of her life – not something that she ever thought about pursuing a career in. As time went on, however, that would change.
Camilla would wind up marrying Daniel Kleindienst, who played mandolin for his family’s bluegrass band. The couple would soon start chasing musical dreams together. “My husband had an opportunity to move to Shelbyville, TN, and by that point he had been writing songs. I went with him to all his appointments with the performance rights’ organizations, and when we went to SESAC, the lady that we met with was named Rebecca Brown. She signed him as a writer, and told me that I had the right personality to pitch songs. She encouraged me to get involved in the music industry. I remember her showing me what a lyric sheet and a pitch sheet looked like, and she made a phone call or two on my behalf to go in and pitch his songs,” she mentions of those days in the early 90s, when the pitches were commonly made on cassette rather than CD.
As she proceeded to help her husband with his songs, she realized that she had a passion for what she was doing. “I began to realize that I had a very analytical mind as far as critiquing went. A lot of songwriters would seek me out to look at their songs. So I started signing songs to our catalog and becoming a publisher.” Custom productions and managing artists came later after the publishing was well established. It goes with the territory that once you dig into the music industry, your network grows so knowing which recording studios, engineers, musicians and vocalists to use was a natural bridge to recording custom projects. Managing artists and record label services evolved from working with fantastic songwriters who needed artist development.
In the time that has elapsed since she and Daniel started Banner Music, she admits that the scope of what they do has changed as much as the music business model itself. “My company has evolved from just a publishing company to a point where we are also a production company, as well as an artist management company.” She says the challenges of what she does gives her adrenaline from the moment she hits the floor. “It gets me up and pushes me to drive an hour to Nashville every day. If you talk to anybody I work with, you’ll find out that I have a desire to exceed expectations, and not let the people who believe in me down. There’s so many people that will try to take advantage of you – in our industry and other industries too – that I just want to go above and beyond for myself as well as for those who believe in me.”
As mentioned earlier, Nashville and the industry have changed several times over since she began her career, but some things have remained steadfast. “The business model has changed so much – but one thing that hasn’t is the human connection. That is one thing I feel I am really good at, and I feel is important for people to understand – the human connection will never be replaced, but you do have to have the right kind of personality to be a human connector. Not everybody can do it or understand it. I like my relationships to run wide and deep. In other words, I like to know about people and love them – and a lot of them – not for just the reason of them being in my industry and seeing what they can do for me or to see what I can do for them. I love that just for the genuine reason of caring about people and who they are, and getting to know them as people.”
And, that search for “The Next Big Thing” is something that drives her to this day. “With songwriting, it still comes down to that three minutes of magic. You still have to have something be special about the song in order for it to be magic. And working with performing artists I have found, not everyone who is talented is going to have that “it” factor or that spark that is necessary to be a legendary artist. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for – that special whatever that isn’t manufactured through training and development – They have that charismatic “it” factor which is just who they are.”