ReverbNation Winner ~ Celeste Buckingham

Celeste Buckingham

Celeste Buckingham

We selected Celeste Buckingham as our ReverbNation contest winner because we absolutely love her hit single and video for Run Run Run. Of course, I had to know the inside scoop about the song. Did you know Celeste Buckingham wrote the song when she was 16?

Celeste told me: “I decided to get up at 2 am in the morning. I couldn’t sleep. I sat in my room with my out of tune guitar and wrote this song. The next morning, I played it for my younger sister, who’s also a singer-songwriter and my biggest critic. She said that she liked it, so I took it to the studio and recorded it. I honestly did not believe in that record very much, and it blew up in my face overnight. It gave me the opportunity to be played on the radio in Europe; I toured with that song; and it was endorsed by different companies. This song was a magical accident.”

This month, Celeste Buckingham released her new single Unpredictable, so I just had to know more about that song too: “I’ve been in the studio for the last six months with my producer Earl Cohen in New York. I’ve been working on a new album and this is the first song of that new material. It reminds some people of Run Run Run, which is great. I would love it if people could find themselves in that song. We’re faced with a lot of unpredictable situations, good and bad. I feel that if I can help people find themselves in a song, then I’ve achieved what I wanted to do as a songwriter.”

Unpredictable was recently released online and through PopCrush. The song will be played exclusively on Radio Disney for two weeks and the music video will release soon too.

Celeste Buckingham has been singing her entire life: “I’ve always been singing. I took classes from the age of 6 to 15. I never missed a class. My mom wouldn’t allow it. I trained in opera, musical singing, pop and folk music. I started writing songs when I was eleven or twelve years old. I’ve been surrounded and engulfed in music for most of my life.”

Celeste Buckingham singingCeleste told me about her first album: “I released my official debut album Don’t Look Back when I was 16. That album had three successful songs, the first of which was Blue Guitar. I wrote it when I was 12 or 13. That song got me some attention. Then, I released Nobody Knows, a song written for children with autism and their parents. The third successful song off that album was Run Run Run, which we just talked about. One of the songs I recorded with my sister Carmel called Gone. I also did another song called I Was Wrong with a European rapper. The album has a lot of stories behind the songs as well.”

By age 19, Celeste Buckingham had already conquered the European music scene: “I’ve won a few awards, but I feel like my fans have won those for me. I won an MTV European Music Award. I’ve won our regional equivalent of TV personality awards. It’s been a blessing and I’d like to thank the fans. They wrote and asked for who should get nominated and who should win.”

Celeste Buckingham has only been in the United States since 2013. Why the big move? “I graduated high school at 16. Because I’d been working, I sped up my schooling and took my exams early. I applied to colleges both in Europe and the United States. I came to Nashville to visit my cousin, who was getting married. I had a few meetings in town with publishers and songwriters and other people in the industry. I had applied to Belmont University. Magically, before I even left Nashville, I found out that I’d been accepted to Belmont and I was offered a specific deal. I went home, consulted with the family, and we decided it was a good idea to move back to the US. I love it here in Nashville. It’s a magical, musical city, and I think it was an ideal choice.”

In Celeste Buckingham’s bio, she writes that she never follows a specific genre of music and that keeps her sound raw and organic. She’s also written music for such charitable pursuits as autism and discrimination against women. I asked Celeste to share her songwriting philosophy: “I like to write about things that matter. I’m a young human being in a world that can get very crazy. My way of expressing how I feel and telling people what I think should be done is through my music. I think songs can sometimes convey messages better than books or speeches or talks, because a lot of times, we tune out what people are saying. My generation has short attention spans. Being able to squeeze an important point about something or someone or some feeling or ideal into a song that is three minutes and thirty seconds long, which is the standard for a pop record, in a way that is entertaining or enticing or interesting is one of the best ways to communicate.”

Celeste Buckingham in makeupI’m impressed. Celeste Buckingham makes it seem easy, but she works very hard: “I am constantly on the phone. I am constantly running around. I spend more time in my car than in my bed. I live in airports. It takes a lot of hard work to achieve something where you want to make a difference. I feel like it’s worth it, and I feel blessed that whatever I try to achieve has been achieved or has gotten me to a point where I feel fulfilled and confident in my abilities.”

What advice does Celeste Buckingham have for other young artists who are trying to make it in the music business? “Everyone says it’s hard, and I didn’t want to be one of those people, but it is really hard to get into this business. I didn’t really think of it as a business when I started. I had an aversion to it. I didn’t like that it has to be all about success, the companies that you work with, money and budgets. I think the most important thing for an artist to recognize is their own talent and really work on it. Find your niche. An artist in any genre needs to know what they possess and to know how good they are at what they do.”

According to Celeste, you can’t fool yourself into thinking you’re the best: “There is always going to be somebody better. There has to be somebody out there who’s 20X better than me. But, I know what I can do and what I have, I know that if I work a certain way and I work really hard and I’m careful about where I choose to go, I can do well for myself and also contribute to others.”

For younger artists, who aren’t working or recording yet, Celeste Buckingham has one last piece of advice: “Sing everywhere you possibly can. Get on your parent’s nerves. Sing in the shower, when you’re washing the dishes, sing in the car. Get your hands on new music. If you can, take classes in piano and guitar, do it. I didn’t have a lot of time for that, and I regret it to this day. Self-improvement is the best advice I can give to any aspiring artist.”

What’s up next for Celeste Buckingham? “I hope a lot. I’ve spent the last six or seven months in the studio writing and recording new songs. I’m creating a whole new sound for myself, an evolution from what I’ve done. I have an album that is almost complete. Before we release it, we have a couple of singles that we want to release one by one. The first one is the new record Unpredictable. I will be touring in the United States within the next few months. I have some obligations in Europe that I need to take care of. For example, I am a regional ambassador for the cosmetics company L’Oréal Paris. I do commercials and events for them and some of their charity work as well. I go back every few months.”

In addition, Celeste Buckingham wants to get back to the human level, to stop thinking about people as fans or listeners. “I think the best way to do that is through charity work. Charity work does not mean dumping a whole bunch of money at some charity organization. It means getting hands on and involved and seeing the world from somebody else’s perspective. It’s amazing and inspiring to see the strength of people. It’s what inspires me to continue writing, because that’s what I write about: overcoming obstacles.”

Celeste Buckingham, you’ve inspired me to be a little bit better too.

Amused Now ReverbNation Contest Winners

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Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now
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