Tony Camm is Writing His Own Artistic Story
Photos by Ashlee Glen
Local influencer, musician, and creative Tony Camm has nothing more to prove when it comes to how he impacts the Lynchburg community. All know him for his funk band FunkAllStars but he is much more than that. Calling himself an “entertainer-prenuer,” Camm is a jack-of-all-trades. Starting his creative journey around the age of twelve, while making home films with his younger brother, allowed him to learn the importance of creativity and its impact. Starting off with silent films he began to realize the value of being creative, leading him to become a well-versed artist, entrepreneur, and influential leader, whose goal is to entertain, impact, and exude positivity.
The entertainer-prenuer works in many facets such as painting, music, cartoon producing, and much more. He is a father, actor, leader, and community member who believes that entertainment is his way of impact. He also manages the Lynchburg Grand Hotel across from the Academy Center of the Arts in downtown Lynchburg.
“I think my creative imagination was always there, you know… when you get into the school system they always want to put you in the box,” Camm said, remembering that school only encouraged students to learn certain subjects. “What about the creative side of things?”
Likewise, Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” That thought further validates that the need for arts and innovative programs not only adds value to learning but enhances intelligence.
Camm understands the importance of the arts in that they help youth determine who and what they want to be—understanding the value of education but emphasizing the importance of creativity in schools.
“When I was younger they defunded a lot of the arts stuff, [but] that’s the key stuff because kids at their young age need to know at that age what they really want to do,” he said.
In addition, it is clear that math, reading, and other subjects are valuable, but Camm believes it is not what everyone uses every day.
“We use our reactive minds all the time,” he shared.
Moreover, it is creative sensibility that influences our society and Camm truly believes that all ideas can be completed if there are two things. First is “being able to come up with an idea,” and the second thing is to “have the [support] and people to help you make it happen.”
Realizing that the things he does make an impact on the people that watch, he ensures that he thinks of every individual in his following when doing a project, program, or event. Being an entertainer-prenuer has given Camm the space to create community everywhere he goes, though he is well aware of the impact he makes and does not take it lightly.
“With everything I do, I make sure I think of how it can impact someone because it can impact someone positively or negatively,” Camm explained. “And if you think it will impact someone negatively then you have a choice. You can still do it, if it will benefit you or you could say, ‘Well that would be cool but I don’t want it to [impact others like that]’. That option is always right there.”
He cares about what he provides to his community to certify that the arts can truly help change the atmosphere and connection among individuals within a community. Hoping that his impact has youth saying, “Well if he [Camm] did it let’s see if we can do it.”
Despite the possible mental obstacles such as self-doubt, Camm continues to muster the courage to act on an idea.
“It’s not why, it’s a why not?” said Camm, as to say, the only thing stopping an individual from making all of their ideas possible is based on the resources and support they have. If the individual has all of the above, then is it the individual getting in the way of one’s own dreams and aspirations?
It can be believed that he is an amazing person who all can learn from. Teaching those who come in contact with him the principles of positive thinking and overcoming self-doubt.
Recently, Camm launched a Jazz Club in the shared space at 720 Commerce Street—something he didn’t even know the community wanted until he started to do it.
“Everybody wants to be entertained and sometimes people don’t even know they want it…,” he shared, yet again reinforcing that it’s all about acting on your ideas and having confidence that it will all work out.
Tony Camm has various ideas he has pursued—his jazz club, comic book series, radio show, and even his own clothing line—and yet he still continues to grow and dream up new ideas. His motto is, “Live everyday like it’s your first…” and every day he says to himself, “I’m brand new to the world…so what can I do today?” Ultimately showing how profound his wisdom is and why he is so successful at what he does.
Entertainment is one thing he does well and will continue to do because, “Everything we do daily, involves some form of entertainment… Entertainment to me equates to fun. So, if you wipe away all forms of entertainment and there is nothing but work, there is no art, no music, there’s no culture—all that stuff, in my opinion, is more important than anything else. I don’t think anyone is born to work a job… the arts and the culture, which doesn’t get enough credit for anything, needs to be different.”
To see Camm’s current projects, visit his website at cammentertainment.com.