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Member Since 2001
Band Members Ariel Bui, guitarist/singer-songwriter
Sounds Like Mazzy Star, Elliott Smith, Mirah, Joanna Newsom, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, you tell me
Influences The Beatles, Andres Segovia, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Todd Rundgren, Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Jon Brion, Radiohead, Bjork, Regina Spektor, Jason Choi, Jehovah Chang & more!
Label Love Note Collectables

Press Response Thus Far... 

Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast
Art Fight Podcast
WXNA 101.5 FM - Nashville U



My name is Ariel Bui and I'm a Nashville-based musical artist, music educator, community organizer & activist. When people ask me where I'm from, I'm never sure how to answer. I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana to two Vietnamese immigrant parents. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was a baby, so I grew up with different family members all over the U.S. like NY, CA, TX, LA & FL. After earning a music degree from Rollins College in 2009, I worked and lived off the grid in Taos, New Mexico until landing in Music City, Nashville, TN in 2011.

I have been honored to have some amazing people write about my life and music. If you are interested in learning more, The East Nashvillian's 2017 Year In Music issue has a great bio by Randy Fox. My 2016 self-titled release, produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, received international acclaim. You can also check out premieres and features in American Songwriter, She Shreds MagazineKen Fong Podcast, and more.

On September 16th, 2018, we will celebrate my 32nd birthday and the 10th Anniversary of my first album, Disguised As Fate, noon at Fond Object during Americana Fest. The celebration continues with an intimate house concert tour. I wrote and recorded this album between the ages of 15 and 20 when I was experiencing profound hardships and trauma. Coping through music and the DIY community was what got me through it. Dylan Ethier, a dear friend who helped with recording and releasing Disguised As Fate, helped to remix and remaster the 10th Anniversary Edition.

I hope to honor my past and roots in order to recognize my growth and continual search for a true, authentic self. I hope it helps others to feel more human and less alone. And I can't wait to see old friends and make new ones along the way. 




Ariel Bui

Self-Titled EPK (9.30.16)

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“…the record showcases her guitar skills and knack for combining charming lo-fi experimental pop, folk, country, and blues with dark, observational lyrics about topics ranging from death to student loans.”
– She Shreds Magazine Exclusive Premiere

Moon Over Kentucky

…perfect for an autumn Sunday drive or a Tarantino soundtrack.”
 Do615 Exclusive Premiere

Press Response Thus Far…

Bui’s dusky voice and unusual combination of countrypolitan with a shadowy, somewhat ominous and occasionally skewed approach pushes all sorts of boundaries…The best artists take the kinds of chances Bui displays consistently in these often oblique performances.” 
– American Songwriter Magazine (4 out of 5 stars)

…an Americana songstress with old-school country tones…Ariel Bui is not a one-track artist.”
Elmore Magazine

“…the record showcases her guitar skills and knack for combining charming lo-fi experimental pop, folk, country, and blues with dark, observational lyrics about topics ranging from death to student loans.” 
– She Shreds Magazine  

…reminiscent of the spark that Courtney Barnett has produced over the past few years.”
– No Country For New Nashville

American Songwriter Magazine – Exclusive Album Premiere

…she brings nearly jazzy elegance to songs that echo the measured control of fellow challenging Americana-related artistes like Calexico and Angel Olsen.” 
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

…it lands right in the sweet spot of contemporary Americana. The first half, which includes these two tracks, leans more towards trad country and R&B, while the second side stretches out into jazz and vintage pop — all expertly played by a boss crop of locals.” 
 Nashville Scene

The Bluegrass Situation 3×3 Feature

She Shreds Magazine Ear Training Feature

Lonesome Highway Feature

Radio & Podcasts

Folk School Parlor, Ludlow, KY - The Jerry Springer Podcast
Lightning 100, Nashville, TN – Local Artist Of The Week
WXNA 101.5 FM, Nashville, TN – “Peter Rodman Goes Off!”
Double J, Australia – Henry Wagons’ Tower of Song
Double J, Australia – Henry Wagon’s Tower of Song
POSTA, Argentina – Todos Potus: South America’s #1 iTunes Podcast
Catalunya Radio, Spain – DeliCatessen – “Ariel Bui, Des De Nashville Amb Amor


Formally trained in classical music, Ariel Bui’s overall sound strives to be classic, yet subtly experimental bridging between a variety of American genres while influenced by artists ranging from Fiona Apple and Angel Olsen to Bjork and Radiohead.

“I consider music a language,” she says, I’ve moved a lot in my life and find that every region has its own overall sound. Having lived in the American South most of my life, moving to Nashville inspired me to explore my southern roots. For a long time, I’ve wanted to explore the idea of modern day slave songs inspired by African American spirituals that evolved into rock’n’roll, jazz and blues. I wanted to honor those artists in a way that felt true and genuine. What ended up happening was I sang a lot about my deepest emotions in the form of short pop songs inspired by rock’n’roll, jazz, blues, folk and country.”

Experimenting with combining deceptively simple pop and dark singer-songwriter undertones, the result on her self-titled LP is an intentional cerebral deception. The album not only features her skills as a singer-songwriter but as a guitarist and lyricist, with lyrics touching on topics of love, death, childhood trauma, feminism, independence, philosophy, fate, the desire to elope and expatriate and even student loan debt.

“Many of the songs are meditations on death,” she says, “How you can feel as though you are dying of a broken heart, how the loss of loved ones sends ripples through our lives, the inevitability that all things pass, how we often live our lives in denial or fear of ugly truths and how facing and accepting the ultimate truth allows us to truly live.”

With the help of Andrija Tokic (Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alabama Shakes) at the Producer helm in his analog studio The Bomb Shelter and the assistance of studio musicians plus various collaborators, Bui created an album that represents a crucial and very personal cosmic shift in her life.

“This album is also a musical coming of age in my life,” she says, “I’ll be turning 30 this September. Societally and astrologically speaking, 30 is a very pivotal year in one’s life. I have been told by different astrologers, tarot readers, palm readers and fortune tellers that I would begin to fulfill my life’s purpose at around this point in my life and I have been waiting for this time for many years now.”

It was something otherworldly that led her to arrive at this point in her musical career . “I believe that there is a dynamic tension between fate and free will,” she says, “I believe that there are an infinite number of circumstances why we end up where we are, where we’ve been, what we choose and where we’ll end up.”

“Growing up with very musical and artistic parents and a mother diagnosed with severe chronic mental illness, music was always a healing force in our lives,” she says. “My parents immigrated to the U.S. as teenagers at the end of the Vietnam War and we had an excellent music collection of mostly analog vinyl from the 60’s and 70’s. In high school, while I was deeply into my dad’s record collection, I started to play guitar, write and perform music.”

Bui’s mother’s terminal illness, heavy medication and hope for recovery is a vital point of inspiration in the songwriting and all-analog process of Ariel Bui.  “In many ways, this album is dedicated to my mother, who dreamt that the child in her womb would become the first Vietnamese female composer conductor.” “I have found that listening to the honest emotions of others through the medium of music has profoundly redeeming and healing qualities,” she says, “so that is what I try to convey through my own music.”

“I nearly wrote an honors thesis on Music and Transcendence, theorizing that our brains function similarly when we are composing music as when we are experiencing deeply spiritual trances through meditation, chant, or other similar states.  This is when I was introduced to the field of psychoacoustics, the study of how sound waves affect the neurological processes of the brain.” “Now I want the quality of the sound waves I produce to be in the most healing form possible, and I consider that to be acoustic and analog sound waves.”

Bui attended Rollins College, where she studied voice and majored in Piano with a focus on Piano Pedagogy, the art and business of teaching piano. Through the power of music, Bui transcends the classic singer-songwriter formula, becoming a vessel to expand the education of music beyond herself. In a collaborative effort, she formed Melodia Studio that currently acts as a sole project for Bui, servicing over 20 students with lessons out of East Nashville and Germantown. Ultimately, she plans to launch an infant & toddler music class to educate youth as early as possible while continuing to establish herself as a musical artist in her own right.

Through the 11 self-penned songs on Ariel Bui, she has truly defined herself as an artist unafraid of transparency and the commonality of humanism that connects us all. Bui effortlessly tackles autobiographical songwriting with little fear. She simply writes in her truest form of self, weaving her own stories into the fabric of her songs.  In a sultry, smoky voice, she bewitches with despair on a truly authentic, cathartic effort. Perhaps it’s why on her fourth release she has arrived at her self-titled record, her most intimate and ambitious album to date.

Official EPK by Echo Ave