Sam Buckingham is an alternative pop, folk singer songwriter based in Byron Bay, Australia. In May 2020, after receiving a Resilience Fund grant from the Australia Council, Sam Buckingham setup up a makeshift studio in her living room to start pre-production on her new album Dear John.
Co-produced with long time collaborator Kent Eastwood, the album was originally going to be mostly acoustic and stripped back – a very traditional “singer-songwriter” creation. A week after pre-production began, Buckingham woke in the middle of the night and wrote a song that would completely change the course of the album.
The album stemmed from the breakdown of a relationship but, at its core, Buckingham insists that Dear John is anything but a break-up record.
“The relationship itself was emotionally and psychologically abusive. It was so toxic, but I didn’t know that while I was in it. I thought I was just doing something wrong” says Buckingham. “This album isn’t about the relationship though, it’s about me. I had to unlearn so much of what I thought I knew about myself, about love, and about being a woman in this world. These songs document my process of healing, learning and rising up to be the woman I want to be.”
With Kate Bush, Solange, Coldplay, Cyndi Lauper and Phil Collins all serving as reference points for the sound on what would become Dear John, Buckingham studied hip hop, soul, rock, pop and feminist literature to create this stunning body of work.
The album’s first single Something More, released April 2021, slapped fans in the face with a captivating one-take video that saw Buckingham marching down a Byron Bay laneway commanding and demanding respect. She launched the indie-pop anthem with a six-date sold-out tour last year (no small feat in the height of the pandemic). This was followed by invitations to tour alongside Kate Miller-Heidke, Paul Kelly, Tim Freedman, The Whitlams and Ben Lee.
The next single, Let It Burn, was shared exclusively with hundreds of fans that signed up to a five day online experience, where Buckingham invited the select group into her process of grieving, healing and rising up.
Dear John was released 8th April, 2022 and debuted at #2 on the AIR Independent Album Charts.
1800 Respect – confidential counselling and support: 1800respect.org.au
Beyond Blue – support for anxiety, depression and suicide prevention: beyondblue.org.au
PANDA – support for recovery from perinatal anxiety and depression: panda.org.au
05:18 Start of Interview
18:59 Rich Girl: Getting Back to Who You Are
26:22 Dear John: The Story of Sam’s Relationship (tw: domestic violence)
46:44 Something More: Fighting For The Truth
52:16 Untamed by Glennon Doyle
01:21:42 Choosing Self Love
For more from Sam Buckingham you can head to www.sambuckingham.com
For more from Claire Tonti you can head to www.clairetonti.com or instagram @clairetonti
Editing – RAW Collings, Claire Tonti
Music – Avocado Junkie