Ebony Buckle is a London-based singer/songwriter, originally from the tropical seaside town of Townsville, Australia. Taking listeners on a whimsical leftfield-pop journey with her complex harmonies and imaginative storytelling lyricism, Buckle sings about universal themes of romance and broken hearts to more poetic themes of disgruntled mermaids, lonely whales and joyous, hypothetical alien invasions.
Over the last couple of years, Buckle has realised that in order to create an authentic narrative and preserve her unique creative style, she had to make her own music. She confides, "I am a naturally shy person and sometimes find it hard to be myself in front of other people, but music has really helped me connect to my true self. I feel like the songs I write come straight from my inner dialogue and they are a true expression of who I am". She writes and performs with her husband, musician Nick Burns, who also produces her music.
Her latest single "Ghost" details the heart-wrenching experience that Buckle and her English husband Nick endured during their fight to renew her visa after their marriage. Despite her specific experience, Ghost is a universal song of love, loss, commitment and pain of feeling utterly helpless. "Ghost" was written over Skype between her and her newly-wed husband, as they were kept apart for nearly two years. It was a time in their lives when normality was turned upside down, and they were put in limbo.
Developing an immeasurable sense of depression due to the separation, the couple couldn't plan for any future and during this time had no end date to look forward to together. It was in this difficult time, Buckle and Nick wrote "Ghost". The song acted as not only a healing mechanism, for their pain and loss; but allowed them to move forward together - with something beautiful that they had created during their separation. Sonically, "Ghost" builds from delicate, sweeping soundscapes into a dramatically haunting release, soaring with atmospheric harmonies and organic instrumentation.
The stunning visuals for "Ghost" showcase the debilitating feeling of being completely alone and empty of anything except heartache. Buckle explains how the video is a way of finally letting go of those traumatic days, revealing, "It's a very raw video and for a while, I felt too embarrassed to put it out. We do not talk openly about mental health issues in society, and it made me feel very vulnerable. I have come to believe that having these conversations and allowing yourself to be vulnerable only makes you stronger in the long run. I think it shows a different side of me. We are all made up of light and dark and I think perhaps we need to know that everyone has their own unique dark moments, worth expressing." Hoping to represent the feeling of endless monotony, the video depicts waking up, feeling numb, being caught in a cycle of pain and allowing the day to carry on without you being truly present.
Reminiscent of Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap and Kate Bush, Buckle is inspired by strong female artists who have forged their own path into the music industry. Aspiring to create music which will help others realise their most authentic self and encouraging people to always take life with a strong sense of optimism but also to develop that confidence to face reality when it may not be what you have planned. Buckle confides "I hope it inspires people to be true to who they are. To not be afraid of being different and to know it's ok to express themselves and how they feel". The singer come actress has performed in The West End and on screen for the BBC. Her role in George Gently as a Geordie folk singer gave her the platform to perform her vocal talents and her music from the show reached number 1 in the iTunes World Music Charts. Buckle continues to have her original music receive extensive airplay from numerous BBC stations across the nation, garnering her considerable blog attention. Every day, through her lyricism, music and poetry, Buckle continues to feed our imagination with her beautifully kaleidoscopic music. Come along for the ride - her unique world is completely enchanting.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Ebony Buckle : I would describe my music as whimsical, left-field pop.
Question: Can you tell us about Ghost?
Ebony Buckle : This is my most serious song yet! Which is actually quite easy as my last song was about an imaginary best friend called Susan the Raptor. Ghost has been a long time in the making. My husband Nick and I wrote this over skype when we were separated for nearly two years due to visa difficulties. At the time I was really struggling and this was the first time I had created anything for over a year. We have been doing a lot of reflecting about how far we have come since then and it feels like this is our way to finally let go of the experience.
Question: Is there a particular message you hope listeners take from your music?
Ebony Buckle : I hope people are able to put their own stories into our music. I use music to help me deal with my emotions and I would love to think that this might be helping someone else. Someone recently told me that my music made them feel like they had been transported to a made-up universe called Ebony Buckle World and I really love that idea!
Question: How has London influenced your music?
Ebony Buckle : London is my home and I love it. It is a melting pot of people and stories and I think my songs are similar. There is so much creativity and culture here, from theatre to museums to music nights to just the way people dress. You feel as though you can be anyone you want to be and perhaps this has helped me make my music the way I do.
Question: Do you prefer singing or acting?
Ebony Buckle : I don't think I can prefer one over the other. They are both different parts of me. I think music for me is something that I am able to make whenever I want, whereas with acting it is not so easy to do unless you have other people involved. Writing my own music is a really important outlet for me to express myself. It's the truest version of me.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Ebony Buckle : I love performing all my songs but a really fun one is my last single SUSAN! It's upbeat and the lyrics make me really happy.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Ebony Buckle : It really depends on what mood I am in. I often write poetry and so I will look back through my poems and see if anything stands out. Sometimes I just start singing at the piano and see what comes out, they tend to be my more personal songs. Other times I will read a really fascinating story, like the mystery of the 52hz Whale, or a new advancement in space exploration and I will write something about that. I am very inspired by fairytales and myths as well.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Ebony Buckle : I have actually been having a little nostalgic trip so lots of The Cardigans, Regina Spektor, the Shins and The Decemberists. I also really love Aurora. We have this great app called Fip which plays a random selection of music from French radio stations and it has become the accompaniment to most of my daily activities!
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Ebony Buckle : In a twisted way, having my visa refused was the thing that started this whole Ebony Buckle music journey. I was working as a singer and an actor in London and then suddenly my visa was refused and my entire life was put on hold. It was really hard and I don't know that I coped very well. But when I finally got my visa (thanks to Nick, my immigration lawyer and some very special friends) and was able to resume my life, I had a fire inside me that made me want to fight for who I was. And to fight to make a life that I could call my own. Sorry if this is sounding incredibly corny. It's true though. Nick has been so supportive of my music, he reads all my poems, we write songs together and he also produces my music. I think it is so important to have someone in your corner, who understands you and doesn't try to mould you into whatever the music industry thinks you should be.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Ebony Buckle : My dream would be to meet Imogen Heap and maybe write a Fantastical Space Musical set in an alternate dimension.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Ebony Buckle : I would say the biggest challenge is getting out of my own way and trusting myself. This is an ongoing issue for many artists, but I think I am getting better at trusting my instincts.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Ebony Buckle : At the moment, a typical day is writing as soon as I wake up (I do morning pages, which is a great way to clear anything out of your mind and make way for creativity) and coffee in bed. Then I do some exercise (yoga or ballet barre) and then brunch/lunch and then gardening. I have only just discovered the joy of growing vegetables so I have become a little obsessed. I can often be found whispering words of encouragement to the beetroot! Then I do emails and anything that is on my to do list (making artwork for posts, filming any content for my Patreon Page and other music-related tasks). I also teach singing online so I will sometimes have a lesson or two. Then I do some rehearsing and maybe work on a new song. Nick and I have to book recording days every few weeks where we work on a new song from the album. I have also been going to loads of online workshops about the music industry which has been so helpful. So I normally go to one of those in the evening and then probably watch a few episodes of The Office for the gazillionth time.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Ebony Buckle : I think it is discovering that childish feeling of joy again. You get to experience the world in hyper colour. It has made me more curious and more open to growing and learning. It's not always easy to own your own creativity but I think I am getting there!
Question: What's next, for you?
Ebony Buckle : Nick and I are in the process of recording my first album and I am so excited and nervous about it! I have also started my own Patreon Page so that I can grow a community around my music. You can check it out at www.patreon.com/ebonybuckle
I share all my poems and new music and we have monthly concerts and early access to all my new releases.
Question: Can you share your socials? (links please)
Ebony Buckle : Instagram
Interview by Gwen van Montfort