The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

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5+5: Mariel Buckley

May 15, 2018

Artist: Mariel Buckley
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Latest Album: Driving in the Dark
Personal Nicknames: Bucks

Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?

My influences are always changing, but a cornerstone of my education in songwriting will always be Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. It is one of the most well put-together, genuine, and captivating group of songs I’ve ever heard. The fact that he recorded them to be demos for the E Street band on a four-track is mind blowing. It’s so bare bones and not demanding of anything except your attention to his words, which are near perfectly crafted. I try to take that approach when I’m writing. If it isn’t good enough with none of the bells and whistles, it isn’t good enough for anyone to hear.

How do other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?

I spend a lot of time reading biographies of artists — musicians, actors, writers. The telling is always so honest. And that, to me, is the most important part of creating art. It’s sharing a really vulnerable piece of human existence in a way that not many people feel comfortable doing. So reading those narratives always gives me lots of empathy, which fuels a ton of my writing.

What’s the toughest time you’ve ever had writing a song?

I recently went almost a year without writing a single word on paper. It was excruciating. I was depressed and felt empty of inspiration or any kind of story to tell. “Why is what I’ve got to say so important?”
When I removed my filter of self-deprecation, I realized that my lack of inspiration was due to a lack of confidence, point blank. So I wrote about that, and then I wrote this entire record.

What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?

My pre-show ritual is hard to beat: fear of being late for soundcheck, an hour too early for soundcheck, change my shirt, sweat through that shirt, change into a second shirt, crippling anxiety, self-doubt, burst of confidence, SHOWTIME.

If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?

To never sacrifice authenticity for accessibility.

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