Briana Buckmaster wields her wayward voice on debut album

Briana Buckmaster wields her wayward voice on debut album

Briana Buckmaster is already an actress, an entrepreneur, an advocate for women’s empowerment, a singer, and a mama, and this Friday, she’ll add another label to her ever-growing list of descriptors: recording artist.

On July 13, Buckmaster releases Begin, her debut full-length album of bluesy covers and original songs that she describes as an empowering love album in a recent phone interview.

“I want [listeners] to feel empowered,” she says. “It’s largely a love album, but it’s also, ‘Hey man, this is who I am, this is what I have, this is what I’m good at, this is what I’m not good at’ – and those themes travel over into the theme of love as well. Love can be very confusing and wonderful and tricky.”

 Briana Buckmaster. Photo by Mandi Lea Photography

Briana Buckmaster. Photo by Mandi Lea Photography

Buckmaster might be a new recording artist, but she’s no novice singer: the prairie-raised, Vancouver-based multi-hyphenate – who’s garnered a globe-spanning fan base for playing feisty Sheriff Donna Hanscum on Supernatural – cut her teeth in the musical theatre world before making the leap to the screen.

(Buckmaster recently returned to the stage, albeit in a non-musical capacity, in the Arts Club’s well-received production of The Humans. Read our interview with Buckmaster about that project here)

Buckmaster is a regular on the Supernatural convention circuit, and regularly sings at conventions with the band Louden Swain.

Her experiences singing with Louden Swain transformed her voice and her approach to music, she says.

“I felt that music was going to be a thing of the past for me, and singing with the band, I found a new voice, which is more my authentic voice,” says Buckmaster. With encouragement from the band and fans – not to mention singer-songwriter Jason Manns, who ultimately produced Begin – she decided to go where she’d never gone before: into an LA studio to record an album. Says Buckmaster: “My favourite thing is to do things that I have no fucking clue what I’m doing, because how do you learn how to do them otherwise?”

And so, just over a year ago, Buckmaster launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $20,000 to make an album. She reached her goal in 20 hours and doubled it by the end of the campaign.

“That’s a testament to the fan base, and what they wanted, and what they’re ready to support, and they really are ready to support women on the circuit, and seeing women achieve their goals, and hopefully I’m giving them something that they’re wanting as well,” says Buckmaster. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that they as consumers are getting something worthwhile.”

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Begin features bluesy covers of songs made famous by artists like Whitney Houston, Miranda Lambert, and Nina Simone (“My voice tends to lend itself naturally to the blues genre, because I have what they call a ‘whiskey voice,’” she says) – while the new songs were written by Rob Benedict, Aaron Beaumont, Emma Fitzpatrick, Jason Manns, Billy Moran, Mike Borja, and Steven Norton.

Begin is an apt title for Buckmaster’s debut album, because it really is only the beginning: plans are already underway for a follow-up. Buckmaster surmises that future albums will likely feature songs from additional songwriters, including from the wayward songstress herself.

Begin arrives during a reset moment in Buckmaster’s year. In May, The CW officially passed on Wayward Sisters, the highly anticipated Supernatural spin-off that would have prominently featured Sheriff Donna, Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes), and Jody’s adopted “wayward” daughters. The concept was explored in a January 2018 episode of Supernatural that served as a backdoor pilot for the series.

“The CW decided not to pick up our series, which really bummed us and a lot of people out, but once we took a step back from it, we kind of felt okay about it,” says Buckmaster. “We felt, ‘Okay, now we get to have Wayward back, we get to have this thing that we’d built with the fan base that we had kind of loaned to the network with the idea that it was going to be a spin-off, and now it’s ours again.”

The team recently launched an official Wayward shop via Stands. Find it here.

“We have a lot of plans for that brand,” adds Buckmaster. “Wayward lives on.”

Begin will be available on Stands, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify beginning on Friday, July 13. Follow @OfficialBrianaB for more.

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