WILDWOOD, N.J. — For singer-songwriter Camille Peruto, performing songs isn’t just about the music, it’s also about the story being told.
In her song “Dear Charlie” from her 2013 debut album, Sparrow, Peruto creates a narrative voice who addresses a former lover and the woman he is with now: “Annabelle I have to ask you something/ Annabelle does he smile/ When comes the moment when he can finally see you/ Together do you make is all worthwhile?/ Dear Charlie, Dear Charlie/ I gotta know…/What makes you want to kiss her?” Peruto gives just enough detail to allow listeners to feel the tension, the angst, the longing through her melodic, lilting voice.
“I love story-telling,” Peruto said. “I’ve been writing songs since 2012 when I first started playing guitar. Before that, I’d write short stories and lyrics, but it wasn’t until I picked up my instrument that I really found my knack.”
Peruto, whose music she says has influences from The Beatles and Tom Petty to Kacey Musgraves and John Mayer, explains that her songs start off from very different places.
“Sometimes I think of a melody while I’m on a long car ride and start there” Peruto said. “Other times I sit down with my guitar and start from scratch.”
If her name sounds familiar, then you might have been a fan of the Fox television show American Idol. Peruto appeared as a contestant on the show during their 14th season in 2015 and made it through to “Hollywood Week.”
Peruto discusses her American Idol experience in detail on a video she posted on YouTube explaining how the show was as much of a reality television show as it was a musical competition.
“It was very enlightening,” Peruto said of the experience. “But I don’t know if I would do it again.”
The singer-songwriter, originally from Stratford, N.J. but now calls the Jersey Shore her home, had her first stage performance at a local open-mic night.
“It was at Coffeeworks in Voorhees, N.J.,” she said. “Every musician that lived anywhere near Coffeeworks knew about the place. It was and remains to this day the best open mic experience I ever had.”
Peruto talks about another early performing experience that helped make her into the songwriter she is today.
“I recall my first time singing for my school,” she said. “It was for a Christmas concert and I sang an original song for the whole student body and staff. Afterwards my teachers, principal, and new friends all told me they had no idea that I even sang.”
After those foundational events, Peruto says her confidence for performing and songwriting grew.
“I gained the courage to write songs and perform them night after night at open mic nights and my first shows,” she said. “I was very lucky to have so many supporters in my early stages of performing.”
Peruto’s music, which she characterizes as “pop with just a hint of country lately,” has been heard on Philadelphia radio stations such as WSTW, 104.5, WMMR and WXPN. Listeners can find her albums Sparrow and From The Sea To The Sky as well as her most recent release, the single “Silver Lining” on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and other digital outlets or by visiting her website at www.camilleperuto.com.
The guitarist and vocalist can be found performing regularly and has a full upcoming schedule including Saxbys Haddonfield on Jan. 17, The Village Pub in Swedesboro on Jan. 22, and The Cinder Bar in Williamstown on Jan. 30. A full schedule can also be found on her website.
“I do gigs for a living,” she said. “Best job ever! I never feel like I am working.”