You had better listen when Buick Audra speaks and not only does she say it with her heart and soul but from the gut and through her music, writing, art and creativity that goes beyond just the typical. She is a writer, Grammy award wining musician, activist, feminist, role model, and leader paving her own path to success.
“That I’m standing by several different parts of myself at one time! I’m releasing solo work for the first time in a decade; plus doing my Metal/Sludge/Hardcore project, Friendship Commanders; plus writing a book!”
Audra has been part of the duet Friendship Commanders along with drummer/bassist Joey Rice. “FC has been my primary focus for the last bunch of years, and it’s still a major part of my life/output, but this recent return to my solo music has been momentous for me. I’ve released three solo singles this year: “All My Failures,” “Maybe I’ll Fly Instead,” and most recently, “Lullaby of Loathing.” In these singles, I get into some of the reasons why I walked away from my solo work years ago. It feels good to talk about what happened and to be back in the project. And I’m working on a memoir in essays about all of the above, about being a woman with a voice.”
As a strong woman and leader, being a musician still hits closest to the soul for Buick. “I’m first and foremost a songwriter and musician, always. It’s who I’ve been since I was a kid, and it’s the part I honor today. It’s an interesting question at this moment of my life, though, because I’ve had quite a few people decide that I’m something else and reflect that back to me as my identity. I don’t love that, and it strikes me as a fairly sexist move, to tell a woman who and what she is. People like women to be of service to others, so they prioritize my activism over my music. But I don’t. My activism and feminism exist because of injustice and imbalance in the world; my music exists because it’s who I am. It’s the purest part of me. Sometimes the activism and feminism make it into my work, but I’m always a musician first.”
Lullaby of Loathing is the third single in a series leading up to her new album and hits the nerve of the Nashville music industry head on, which Audra drew her inspiration with vigor. “Misogyny and male dominance, both in the music world and beyond. I live in Nashville, a town that boasts music as one of its primary industries, but much of what happens here is controlled by white men—and frankly, many of those men are unfit to hold those positions of power. When I was making my solo work years ago, I had appalling things said to me, and many boundaries trespassed. I didn’t have the voice to say what I meant back then, so I’m saying it now. And unfortunately, the systems haven’t changed much. There are some cool and positive things about the music scene here, but I do think we need to talk about gender and power dynamics. When I wrote the song last year, I thought I couldn’t possibly release it. But here we are, and I’m glad about it. I’m glad to have said what I meant, even if it took me several years.”
Her new album is Conversations with my Other Voice. “So, this album is really a memoir in songs. It’s an electric album, unlike the singles I released this year, and it’s a back and forth between my former self and who I am today. It was inspired by a handful of songs I wrote years ago but never recorded or released. I wanted to give them a proper release once and for all, but when I got them all out to re-learn and track them, I found that I was no longer the woman who wrote them. So, I sat down and wrote response songs, from my perspective now. The album is a back-and-forth between the two selves, hence the title.”
“The three singles I released this year are a standalone series. They’re mostly acoustic, and they have their own vibe and place in my catalog. I’ll start releasing singles from Conversations early next year.”
The new solo material is the first for Audra in 15 years. “I heard a call from inside myself. It took me a while to answer, as I was busy making records and touring with FC, but it felt important to do it. I’m enjoying having both projects at the same time. I’m enjoying writing for the different outlets.”
And when it comes to inspiring other female artists Buick says, “By doing it anyway, and by not being apologetic about my existence.”
And when it comes to those who inspired her music, she said, “Rickie Lee Jones is a big one. Shawn Colvin is another. I’m also a huge R&B fan; Mariah Carey has been a constant over the years. I love her work. The women of Punk, like Poly Styrene, Viv and Ari of the Slits, Debbie, Chrissie, and Siouxsie. They’ve all made incredible music, but they’ve also all endured all kinds of wild things and kept going, with the exception of Poly, whose absence is forever felt.”
Expect more action from Audra in the upcoming months to support her new releases. “Now that all three of my solo singles are out for the year, I’m playing some solo shows and promoting that work. Friendship Commanders have new music coming out later in the Fall, and we’re also touring. And I’m preparing for Conversations with My Other Voice to come out next year! I’m grateful to be putting all of this work into the world and to finally be able to perform it in front of live audiences. It was wild to be off the road for eighteen months.”
As for her biggest obstacles, Audra says, “Abuse, misogyny, and self-doubt. And they’re connected. I’ve been an abuse survivor all of my life, so my relationship with myself has been spotty at times. I haven’t always been on my own side. When you add the fact that I’m a woman making work in a world run by dudes, it has been hard to hold it all up at times. But I’m out here now. The solo singles I released this year address all three issues, for what it’s worth. “All My Failures” is about my middle-of-the-night panic attacks and what they tell me about my worth. “Maybe I’ll Fly Instead” is about being autonomous and self-supporting in the face of my family’s dysfunctional/abusive patterns, and “Lullaby of Loathing” is about the misogyny I’ve encountered over the years.”
As for advice and leadership for female artists, Audra speaks with solid strength in her words. “Well, we’re all on different paths, and what’s true for me might not apply to others, and I don’t really believe in advice. That said, I wish I hadn’t been made to feel like Some Dude was required to make my work valid when I started out. I wish for women artists and musicians to know that they’re enough on their own. The confidence that cis men in music have is not exactly indicative of anything other than privilege. I say make the work you want to make; the dudes don’t know more than you do. And call me if you need anything.”
“These days, I’m motivated by making sure I say the things I want to have said while I was on earth. I am speaking for all versions of myself, many of which didn’t have the courage at earlier points in my life. So, making sure I’m good with myself is a primary motivation. I am also motivated by wanting survivors to take up space, wanting women to take up space, and by wanting to make work that I don’t hear in the world. And some days, I’m just motivated by the work itself. I hear music in my head all of the time. It’s my job to make sure I share it with everyone else.”
Be sure to find Conversations with My Other Voice and experience all the talent that Buick Audra offers and enjoy first and foremost her music which showcases her many talents and primarily her voice and songwriting that is gold. When Buick speaks she says volumes and you had better listen….you will be more than glad you did!