With issues of gender equality increasingly highlighted in the media, Byron Bay songwriter and producer Sam Buckingham is adding her voice to the growing chorus of women around the world saying “enough is enough”. Despite opening shows for the likes Kasey Chambers, Katie Noonan, Matt Corby, Angus & Julia Stone and selling out her own headline tours Buckingham has, for the most part, flown under the music industry radar. Taking a DIY approach to her career, Buckingham has activated fans through house concerts, two album crowdfunding campaigns and ongoing membership platform Patreon to fund her creative work.
In 2020, she launched the ‘Song Baker’ podcast – sharing unscripted, frank conversations with women in music – and worked tirelessly on writing and recording what would become her forthcoming album Dear John. Something More is the first single lifted from the album and sees Buckingham step into the role of co-producer, with long time collaborator Kent Eastwood. 2021 has already seen Buckingham tour alongside Tim Freedman and Ben Lee, and her Something More tour will kick off in June. Sam answers a few questions about the single and upcoming tour.
How has the build up been to the new single Something More?
I felt unusually calm before releasing this song. Usually I get anxious and wonder if anyone will like it / listen etc… but this time I felt sure I had made something that at least some people would resonate with. I thought I’d gotten away stress free but, this time, the stress set in a day after the release. The song means so much to me and seeing peoples (positive) responses made me really emotional!
What is the background behind the single?
I wrote Something More after realising that I’d been told – for many years – that I was asking for too much, that I was too ambitious, that I was wrong for wanting what I want and caring about the things I care about etc. These messages came from a few different places, but mostly from (ex) boyfriends. I wrote this song as a reminder to myself not to accept the status quo. I’d never asked for too much – I’d just been asking the wrong people.
Love the film clip, do you get hands on with the production side of that?
Yeah – I came up with the concept, direct & produced the clip. A music video is so important for helping tell the story of a song – so it feels natural to lead the video’s creative process just like I lead the process of creating the songs.
Do you think your sound has changed much?
I think, at the core, I’m still a storyteller who cares most about the lyrical and emotional message of songs. But my ideas of how to share that message has definitely changed. I used to feel tied to being a guitar playing, folk singer-songwriter, but I’ve recently been experimenting with a more alternative pop sound, live looping and sampling at my live shows. I feel a lot more freedom doing things this way.
Are working towards a new album or EP?
I co-produced a new album during lockdown with my good friend and long time collaborator Kent Eastwood. I don’t know yet when the album will be released but Something More is the first single from the album, and there’s definitely more songs coming soon.
Who are some of your musical heroes?
Dolly Parton is number one for me. Her skills, her ability to connect with so many different types of people and the way she’s always stood up for her rights as a songwriter has always been really inspiring to me.
Did you have a lot of fun putting together the “Song Baker” podcast?
Yes! And it’s not over yet. Season One is out now on all podcast apps and I’m recording Season Two. It’s become a really important project to me. Women’s voices, in general, aren’t heard enough and women’s voices in music are still not as loud as men’s. So bringing these open and wise conversations with my favourite female songwriters is a way to help elevate those voices.
Are you looking forward to finally being able to get back out on the road?
Counting down the days!
Any plans for little ‘ole Adelaide?
Yep, I’ll be in Adelaide later this year. No dates announced yet but I’m definitely coming
What’s next for Sam Buckingham?
The new album is my main focus right now. Sharing singles from that and connecting with my fans online and in real life again, finally. It became really clear when we were all locked down that musicians are vital for connection, mental health and quality of life. So I just want to do my job the best way I can, and enjoy the fact that I get to make music for a living. I’m so grateful for that.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Sam Buckingham on the following tour dates…