Nashville music artist, educator, and boundary pusher Ariel Bui talks the struggle of being an authentic artist while time jumping, genre shifting, finding her voice, and using it to having conversations with herself from 10 years ago.
Singer/songwriter Ariel Bui talks about her music, upbringing, and life experiences. Ariel also discusses her life “off the grid” constructing earthships, her love for writing sad songs, and her struggle to make this world a better place. (Intro: The Race Myth)
Jessi Zazu was planning to host an Arts & Activism class out of her basement and screen-printing studio for youth in her North Nashville neighborhood when she received a cervical cancer diagnosis, forcing her to postpone starting the class. She expressed this to me when we were spending time together, organizing her art studio as she was preparing for her family’s Relativity Art Show at Art & Soul last year. After Jessi passed away September 12, 2017, it became my mission to see a class like this happen. Her mom, Kathy Wariner, loved the idea, especially as she was deciding to form a non-profit in Jessi’s honor.
Chị Ariel Bùi, một nhạc sĩ gốc Việt tham gia nhiều các hoạt động vì cộng đồng ở Nashville, tiểu bang Tennessee, nói rằng chị “thực sự tự hào và được các bạn trẻ truyền cảm hứng vì các em đã tự mình nắm lấy cơ hội”.
“Khác với các nhóm khác, các bạn trẻ không có cơ hội ngoài việc sử dụng quyền Tu chính án Thứ nhất [về việc tự do biểu đạt và hội họp] vì các em chưa đến tuổi bầu cử”, chị Ariel nói.
“Tôi hy vọng rằng các sự kiện hiện nay sẽ truyền cảm hứng cho các em tiếp tục đòi hỏi thay đổi khi các em trưởng thành, gia nhập chính trường, đấu tranh vì những gì các em tin tưởng và cho chúng ta thấy một tương lai tốt đẹp hơn”.
Although she’s breaking out of Nashville, Ariel Bui is through and through a product of the Central Florida music scene, having graduated with a music degree from Rollins College where she was a particularly active mover at WPRK 91.5-FM. Now, she returns as a budding artist of some accomplishment. Produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff), Bui’s 2016 eponymous debut album has garnered some legitimate press with its indie-noir take on classic countrypolitan sounds.
Last Friday our musical guest was Nashville-based artist Ariel Bui. Her self tilted album was produced by Grammy nominated Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff) and is receiving excellent reviews from American Songwriter and others. NPR’s Ann Powers calls Ariel Bui “a psychedelic cowgirl rockabilly queen.”
On a personal note, Ariel grew up in Brevard County, attending Delaura Middle School and Cocoa Beach H.S. She studied music at Rollins College and became station director at WPRK in Winter Park. Currently Ariel is a DJ at community radio station WXNA-LP in Nashville.
I haven’t been this excited about a show in a long time. Two of my favorite local bands are supporting a terrific Nashville-based artist, and it’s hard to decide who I should talk about, so I’m just going to pick at random.
Bui’s cabaret country is a modern, torchlit abstraction of vintage countrypolitan sounds. Led by her long, suspended voice, the music unfolds like Mazzy Star channeling Patsy Cline. Purposefully minimal, sonorous and full of atmosphere, it’s a vision that dovetails with the luminous class of artists like Angel Olsen.
When Ariel Bui was in Orlando last decade as a Rollins student, she was perhaps known more for her active but behind-the-scenes work in the city's music community. But it's good to see this homegrown, now-Nashville talent return as a feature artist herself, one of both cultivation and achievement…
Six years after choosing the road to Nashville, Bui is a successful small business owner, a local radio personality, and a wellknown member of Nashville’s indie music scene, with her 2016 self-released album garnering praise from many national media outlets.
When it comes to the stripped down style of Nashville’s Ariel Bui, less is definitely more. Her 2016 self-titled LP is a look into who she is as an artist, offering edgy folk-twinged tracks driven by the haunting vocals of the singer-songwriter. Her mesmerizing alto is unique for the Nashville scene; she doesn’t belt out soulful choruses or sing with an exaggerated country twang (despite having track titles like “To All the Cowboys” and “Moon Over Kentucky.”) There is a relaxed quality to this album, but emotionally it still progresses with the honesty of a country album. Ariel Bui isn’t trying to prove she’s the best or brightest star. She’s just bearing her soul and hoping it’s enough. (Spoiler alert: it is.)
On Sunday, Folk Fights Back sticks up for LGBTQ+ rights with an all-star folk lineup featuring locals Little Bandit, Kyshona Armstrong, Poly, Ariel Bui, Justin Hiltner and Marlene Twitty Fango. Sam Palladio, who at least plays a Nashvillian on TV’s Nashville, headlines the show, which benefits Oasis Center, a local organization that helps at-risk youth. LANCE CONZETT
None of it could keep her down. On Feb. 11, Jessi went to She’s a Rebel, a ’60s girl-group tribute show she co-founded three years ago with Adia Victoria’s drummer, Tiffany Minton, and other women musicians in Nashville. She planned to play it by ear and get up and sing if she felt good enough. After several acts, local singer Ariel Bui introduced Jessi Zazu, and the crowd lost their minds. Backstage, she ripped off her headscarf. She stormed out and hit the spotlight like a fury. She had one bloodshot eye and wore a plunging black velvet dress. She sang “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind but Me)” by The Chiffons. She radiated strength and grit and love. She shone otherworldly. The crowd threw arms into the air, leaned back and yelled when she was done.
As an Asian Female, my flesh has been dangerously defined by society. My “demographic” is largely excluded from media such as television, film, music, and news, except as a token symbol of diversity or an entire genre of pornography – “Asian.” My personhood is often defined by either model minority or hypersexualized stereotypes, constantly threatening my well-being and safety and resulting in a life of constant trauma, coping, and healing from trauma. To give meaning to my suffering, I find refuge in music and community, hoping to help others feel less alone in their own silenced traumas and struggles…
We listen in to amazing live tracks by both Neil Young and Ryan Adams to pave the way for their respective returns to Oz. Also, in a fantastic cross-genre pollination, All Our Exes Live in Texas cover Tame Impala. Plus, we deconstruct what we know about the immanent release of the Rolling Stones new blues record Lonesome and blue. All this and more shoved into the bursting suitcase, as we also hear new music by Lost Ragas, Paul Kelly, Ariel Bui and Emma Swift!
"...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."
"Bui’s dusky voice and unusual combination of countrypolitan with a shadowy, somewhat ominous and occasionally skewed approach pushes all sorts of boundaries." - Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter Magazine
"She’s a formally trained classical musician, but on this self-titled full-length she brings nearly jazzy elegance to songs that echo the measured control of fellow challenging Americana-related artistes like Calexico and Angel Olsen."
Bui's self-titled LP...lands right in the sweet spot of contemporary Americana. The first half...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...(Bonus: If you buy the vinyl copy, it will have never touched a computer, having been recorded to tape with Andrija Tokic at his all-analog studio The Bomb Shelter.)"