Sophie Buskin is a bright new addition to the music scene. Sophie has an exquisite voice – it’s powerfully delicate yet exquisitely strong at the same time if that’s possible. She has a most engaging presence on stage and plays the guitar like no one’s business. Her new CD Sweet Creature gives us a hint about what’s to come in what will hopefully be a long and lasting career in the music business.
To learn more about Sophie, check out her website.
Here’s a video of Sophie singing the title cut of her recording at the Fox Run Studio.
Sophie will be appearing at the me&thee in Marblehead, MA on Friday, February 15, 2019.
As the daughter of two musicians, I imagine that music has been a part of your consciousness since before you were born. What are your earliest memories of being exposed to recorded and live music?
Music has definitely been a part of my consciousness in utero, as I’ve heard stories of my father putting a pair of headphones on my mom’s belly. There’s another story of me going to a gig of my father’s at around age 4. I remember I had drunk an entire Snapple in about 30 seconds and proceeded to sit on the floor right in front of the action. After a song or two, the combination of the bass vibrations through the floor and the sugary drink was just too much, and I puked during one of his songs, all over the floor in front of me. Thankfully, I was too young to be embarrassed or traumatized enough to get away from the folk world. (My dad continues to joke that it was the song that drove me to illness, but I’m not going to comment on that one.)
What do you feel that you learned about music and the music business by living in a house with musicians?
I learned a lot about music and nothing about business. What I mean is, I came into the music industry at a very different stage of the business than either of my parents and though they do the best they can to impart their knowledge, it, unfortunately, doesn’t always translate into the current times. They did teach me the power of persistence, the pitfalls of procrastination, and the importance of patience. One thing my mother always stressed to me was to sing with my own voice and not try to imitate anyone else, which I think about a lot.
Apparently, while you did play the piano when you were young, you chose to concentrate on the visual arts. Do you still spend time drawing and painting or does music take up most of your time?
Funny you should ask, I actually just signed up for a Landscape Watercolor class at the New York Art Academy. Music and work have been taking up most of my time as of late, but art is a really important part of who I am. It’s therapy for me, and while there’s a lot of that feeling in music as well, art is something I can completely shut off and fully immerse myself into. I was fortunate enough to go to a specialized high school for visual art where I got a lot of formal training at a very young age and that’s stayed with me into my adult life.
Tell us about your experience at Berklee College of Music. What did you study there? What were the most valuable lessons you learned there?
I really loved a lot of parts of my Berklee experience. I’d say my favorite parts, aside from the friends I’ve been able to make into my family, was the Berklee Gospel Choir. I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual, and this was the closest I think I’ve ever felt to any sort of God. All those voices in one place is one of the most special things on earth. I’d say the best thing I learned was to trust my musical gut. I had never had the courage to write a real, full song until about 2009, and my time around my peers at Berklee really helped open me up to being more vulnerable. I also learned that death-metal heads are actually some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
Care to describe your songwriting process?
I would if I knew what it was! I use the voice memo and notes apps on the iPhone a lot, as my ideas usually come to me at strange times when I’m not near a guitar. Usually, I’ll get a melody or a phrase running through my head on the subway and then start rolling with it. For every finished song I have, I have 45 unfinished ideas brewing. I’ll usually go back and finish something when I feel inspired to. I don’t rush the songs, because I want them to be done right, not quickly. I will say I have felt the time crunch recently, as I am playing a lot more and want to keep the material fresh.
Your CD Sweet Creature is your first solo venture. What was it like to record your own songs?
A lot of singer-songwriters feel that the stage is their comfort zone and they don’t know what to do in the studio. For me, it’s the complete opposite. I’ve been singing jingles since I was a toddler and I’ve done some voice-over work, so it’s a comfortable place for me. Honestly, if I had the money, I’d love to just record all the time. I feel like both of my producers, Jagoda and Neale (Eckstein), taught me a lot while making Sweet Creature, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio this year. I’ve already started the collection of songs for the next one!
You’ve been playing some shows with your father, David Buskin. I suspect that you’ve gotten even closer to some of his compositions while playing with him and thus chose to record “When I Need You Most of All.” (a gorgeous song, by the way).
Yes, I fell in love with that song a long time ago and accidentally started playing the first few chords one day. I begged my dad to show me how he plays it, and he tried, but he’s too darn good! One day, I’ll learn how to solo like he can.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m in the midst of a radio campaign so there hasn’t been a lot of that lately, but, as Richard Cuccaro wrote, I am “compulsively creative”. I love hanging out with my friends, my parents, my cats, but I also value my solo-time and try to fill it with art or music