Erin Buku Overcomes Life's Obstacles By Tuning Into Mystical Energies To Pursue Music

Erin Buku is a neo-soul artist based in Adelaide.
Grace has been singing as long as she can remember. She is passionate about the positive impact live music can have on community and championing artists. She is an avid animal lover, and hopes to one day own a French bulldog.

Very rarely does an artist present work that grabs you so strongly you instantly have to replay the music in full. Enter Erin Buku.

She is described as a lo-fi soul artist, but that hardly contains the length and breadth of the musical realm within which she operates.

The music transcends genre, touching on material from connecting with yourself to protesting corruption. However, the pervasive emotion transferred through her music is the optimism of a brighter tomorrow, a hope so strong it can't help but be addictive, and a calling that Erin knew was hers from a young age and returned to despite the road-bumps.

"I started singing when I was seven, and sung all through school. Then a couple of things made me feel like I'd stuffed up my whole life, so I quit. I had auditioned for the Conservatorium, but I thought I didn't get in.

"I had a big falling out with my parents right after high school and I actually did get in, but they didn't tell me. It was back in the day when you had a home phone, like 2004. No one had mobiles yet, so they'd call your house if you got in.

"So I thought I didn't get in. At the end of school they're drilling into you, 'you need a backup plan, you're not gonna make it in music. It's one in a million'; and it really was back then, you needed a record deal. Self-made artists didn't exist, there wasn't YouTube or Facebook.

"So I gave up for seven years, didn't sing a note. I moved to Melbourne and was working aimlessly in hospitality. I thought, 'I need some direction'. So I saw a psychic and said, 'what am I supposed to do with my life?' She said, 'singing. Everything's coming up music, singing.' I was like, 'ugh, I still don't know how to do that in the real world'.

"In high school, everything gets handed to you, I wasn't prepared, and she gave me two symbols to look out for, one was a treble clef and one was a bass clef. I was like, 'yeah, that's music. Great. Thanks.' And a week later I met Jules, my husband. He had a treble clef tattoo behind one ear and a bass clef tattoo behind the other ear, and he was a music producer.

"We fell madly in love. He already had a pretty formidable career overseas as INKSWEL. So I started dipping my toes in, backup vocals here and playing some instruments there. I never did my own thing until I turned 33.

"It's really funny because I grew up on commercial music like SAFM in the late '90s and 2000s. When I met Jules, he introduced me to underground music, conscious hip hop, neo soul, boogie disco funk, he opened up my world musically. It forced me to write songs to a brokenbeat track or to a disco track.

"It was a really cool foundation, and I think that's why I've got such a mix of genres in my music now. It took another probably seven years of me doing random secret things under weird secret names."

The turning point came via a push from a higher power, something that Buku references in her album track 'Connected', due next month. "When I turned 33, I started meditating daily, which I'd never done before. I tried it and I was hooked and came back into my sole purpose, but with newer information about how to do it and where to take it.

"It was a long time coming, I'm quite an intuitive person. When this all started, I kept hearing this voice in my head to give up something and replace it with meditation. I was like, no way, but I pulled the same card three times in a row, let it die. I was like if I don't listen to this, I am a fool.

"So I got up the next day at six in the morning and ran down to this park near my house. There's this beautiful big, old oak tree that's got such a massive spirit, it's so old and wise. I started sitting under that and meditating.

"I didn't know what I was doing, I was just concentrating on breathing and releasing my thoughts, but I kept doing it every single day, even Sundays, and I started changing and developing and receiving all this intuitive knowledge about everything, amazing guidance and gratitude and connection. I've never looked back, it changed my life for the better."

An exceptional conduit of energies, Buku's new single 'Ley Lines' references the mystical forces she has encountered across the country, what Indigenous Australians have referred to for millennia as song lines.

"Ley lines are the energy grid that runs along the whole planet. The ancients knew about them and had different names and ways in which they'd use the ley lines. The ancient Chinese called them dragon lines, Indigenous Australian ancestors called them song lines.

"Ley lines are a white man name. Around the planet, all the craziest monuments are built on these ley lines and where nothing's built, Mother Earth has made crazy things. Uluru, Mt Fuji, the pyramids of Giza and Machu Picchu are all on a ley line; and when Catholicism came through, they seemed to know about them as well, and rebuilt their own churches in these sacred spots that originally had other things there.

"There's this spot in SA called Ikara, the white man name is Wilpena Pound. On the ley line map, this spot is the only intersection point in Australia, 30 different lines intersect. Ikara is flat, and this mountainous pimple just pops out of the earth right on that intersection. It was a sacred space for Indigenous men and a lot of ceremony happened there.

"I've done a lot of travelling around Australia, using this ley line map. It's funny energy, it's really strong. You need permission, which comes intuitively, to be there. There's been places where I've felt unwelcome, so I don't interact. I'll leave.

"There were some amazing places, and you can literally feel the vibrations under the ground. Ley lines are the lyrics I've used to describe that experience. It felt like electricity and colour and sun and all these amazing things in and around you."

The accompanying music video for 'Ley Lines' is visually stunning and breathtakingly showcases the unique beauty of the Australian landscape.

"The spots that we filmed the music video at are all South Australian spots. The hills and creeks are Peramangk country, the Adelaide Hills, and there's really cool rock formations at Hollow Cove. Australia has all these crazy landscapes that look like they could be from another planet, so I wanted to showcase the variety of landscape in this country. It's all important and sacred."  

Being so intuitive, Buku has always known there was something wrong with the world, but that was always accompanied by the knowledge a revolution is coming. Her optimism for the future is something to look forward to.

"You have to, because if we don't have faith that things will get better then, we would have to give up. When I was a little girl, I remember saying to my mum, 'I feel so strongly there is gonna be a worldwide revolution in my lifetime'. She was like, 'it already happened love, it was in the '70s'. I’m like 'no mum, the whole world'.

"A lot of my anger used to be directed towards the government but they're controlled by corporations. On this planet, the millions are ruled by a few and for money. We have all this beauty around us and we trash the beauty and keep the money. It makes no sense.

"But because of the internet, the truth can't hide anymore. The younger generation are aware of what's going on, I don't think everyone's gonna stand for it much longer. Things are gonna get worse before they get better, because if it gets bad enough, there'll be no choice but to hit the brakes and flip the switch.

"I have so much hope and this innate feeling that things are about to be amazing. The night is darkest just before the dawn. We have to keep spreading love and finding equality amongst ourselves and get rid of separation. We'll get there."

Fans won't have to wait much longer to hear Buku's beautiful tracks live, as she received the nod to perform at this year's WOMADelaide, a simmering selection of international world music.

"I'm totally excited and pooping my pants all at once. They always book around four Australian artists, and the rest are international. I couldn't believe it. You don't apply, you have to be invited.

"It never crossed my mind, because I don't fit in anywhere here in Adelaide. Jules told me Annette, the woman who books WOMAD, had been to my gigs. I was like, 'how does she even know me?' So that's really exciting, I'm so pumped. My smile was from like ear to ear, and also vomit feeling every time anyone says WOMAD."

Erin Buku's self-titled album drops 1 March. Pre-order it.

Erin Baku 2024 Tour Dates

Fri 8 Mar - WOMADelaide (Adelaide)
Sat 23 Mar - Goodness Me Festival (Adelaide)
Sat 20 Apr - Album launch @ Port Elliot

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