Nashville-based Grammy-winning musician and writer Buick Audra presents her new single/music video, “The Melody”, a track from her upcoming album, Conversations with my other voicewhich is scheduled for release on September 23.
The album, which will be accompanied by memoir-style essays, was written and produced by Buick and marks his first solo release with no other writers or co-producers.
Speaking of the song, Buick shares, “I wrote ‘The Melody‘ about how we try to adapt to what we think other people want – something I struggled with when I I was younger. I wish I had known that you can’t make anyone care about you, and that’s okay.
“The Melody” opens with gleaming guitars over a delicious, understated country-rock beat as Buick’s luxe, evocative vocals imbue the lyrics with vibrant, haunting timbres. It’s one of those expressive vocals, dripping with subtle nuances and hints of aching textures.
“I think about how I’ve been and where I’ve been wrong / It often comes back to you / Never had the words but I still said too much / And none of it rang true. “
The video, directed and edited by Jerry Roe, was shot by Jerry Roe and Roger Pistole and features Buick Audra, Kris Donegan, Lex Price and Jerry Roe.
Intrigued and impressed, Guitar Girl Magazine sat down with Buick Audra to learn more about the inspiration for the song, her guitars and her definition of sound.
What inspired your new single/music video, “The Melody?”
The song was written about how I felt about myself in relation to a certain person in my life. We met when we were children (thirteen) when I was going through a difficult time in my personal life. My mother had moved me out of her house in the Boston area and sent me to live with another family member in Miami. I stayed there almost three years. This other child and I became friends during this time of transition and developed an unbalanced dynamic that will continue for years to come. We grew up together and became collaborators, but there was always this thing between us, that I wasn’t good enough.
So, the song is about how I thought my language had failed me, my voice had failed me, and I was going to try to prove my worth through my songwriting – through the strength of the melody:
I was not your first love; I won’t be your last
I won’t be thanked in your memoirs like the one who made you laugh
I won’t be there when your chapters end, I won’t be there when your new ones begin
no, but I will write you the melody that will break your heart
Looking back on it now, it’s crazy that I put myself through it, but I did, and this song lives to say it.
The video is me and the band from my album playing it live, having fun making noise.
Tell us about your state of mind as you approach the recording of the song.
The song is the opening title of my next album, Conversations with My Other Voice, which was recorded in a single day at the Sound Emporium in Nashville, except for one song which was followed later. The album is made up of five songs written in a previous chapter of life, and five songs written in response to those, from here. They are served in pairs like that, mini conversations. I produced the album because I wanted a rhythm to the narration. I chose to record the songs in the order they appear on the album, to capture the progression.
Because “The Melody” is the first song on the record, I wanted it to have a big bold energy. My band and I recorded everything at the same time, live (instead of overlapping our performances). I think the recording captures that energy live. I played rhythm guitar, Kris Donegan played the other guitar, Lex Price played bass, and Jerry Roe played drums. I wanted my guitar to be the main structure for the instrumental performances, and I wanted the lead guitar to be soaring and non-repetitive. I didn’t want a riff or a hook. I loved the band performance we had, and then I sang it. I wanted strong and powerful voices. I strongly believe in giving a confident voice to those stories I’ve waited so long to tell.
How did you start music?
I was raised around a lot of music. Both of my biological parents are songwriters and there were always other musicians around. Music is really my first language. I knew I was a singer, but I didn’t start playing guitar and writing songs until I was about twenty; hasn’t stopped since. I literally bought a guitar (a Fender Mustang), started a band and wrote my first song one day. My first band was with my brother, who played drums. I just knew it was where I belonged, so I sat down and did it. Sometimes you just have to start.
Which singers/musicians have influenced your sound?
Rickie Lee Jones, Shawn Colvin, Ann Wilson, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Petty, Patty Griffin, Mariah Carey, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley. I’m everywhere with influences. I love music so much. But those artists definitely influenced the sounds that I’m making right now in this project.
What kind of guitar do you play?
On this album, I played three: a 1960 Fender Duo-Sonic named “Dignity”, a 1969 Gibson SG named “Boundary” and a 1995 Gibson Nighthawk named “King”. I played SG on “The Melody” and seven of the other tracks on the album! It has a super slim and playful neck, P90s and a sound that I love.
In my heavy duo, Friendship Commanders, I mainly play two Gibson Nighthawks, but sometimes my Fender Jazzmaster is in the mix, and our next album also features Gibson Les Pauls.
What is your definition of tone? And does your tone change or has it stayed about the same?
My tone is changing, but I think you can still tell it’s me. As stated above, I play a bunch of different electric guitars from project to project. My tones are certainly shaped in part by the instruments I play, my amps that I love, and the pedals that I use. But I believe my tone also lives in my hands and the way I play. And maybe my intentions when I play. Tone is as much who you are as what you play. The tone is the voice.
What inspires your writing? Are you inspired by poems, music, television or other media?
Above all, I draw on my own experience. I write from a very personal place. I call this album a memoir in songs because these stories are all things that I have experienced. I am inspired by observation, societal and cultural patterns, brave people who think outside the box and injustice.
“The Melody” actually has a few lines inspired by listening to a famous music producer talk about how he thought the human voice was shaped by formative experiences in our childhood; as if you had to speak for yourself as a child, you ended up having a more distinctive singing voice as an adult. Because this song is about communication that never reached the other person, I included this idea:
I heard that the voice we receive is based on our past, and if we defended ourselves
I know mine was bitterly earned by being the last, with no one else
What can you share about your writing process?
I write music and sing together. I play guitar when I write. The songs come to me quite quickly. I usually hear part of a song in my head and sit down to figure it out on guitar and wait for the rest to come through. I believe in letting everything go at the beginning, without judging anything or trying to change it from the start. Things can be changed later. If I let the raw work through, it tends to be more authentic to who I am, and less like I’m trying to write a certain way. My favorite songs I’ve written are the ones I’ve allowed to appear as is.
how do you define success?
That’s such a good question for me right now – and so hard to answer. It’s tempting to define it by what other people think, and I certainly believe we’re encouraged to do so, but I try to stay focused on better truths.
Success for me today is about staying on my side while I work. It’s hard for me, I’m not going to lie. I’ve had difficult experiences around my music that made me jump ship before. But seeing the ideas through, from start to finish, and connecting myself throughout the process is the goal. If I can do that, I’ve won.