The daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who moved to the US following the Vietnam War, singer-songwriter Ariel Bui grew up immersed in music of the 60s and 70s and later attended Rollins College, where she studied piano and piano pedagogy.
Based in Nashville, she currently spends her time between her own musical endeavors and teaching music lessons out of her school she founded, Melodia Studio.
Though she has a degree in piano, Bui is also an established guitar player and her Fender Jaguar Japanese reissue and acoustic Flinthill guitars are her instrument of choice on the self-titled album she released in September. “As a female artist, there is often a great deal of focus on my singing and songwriting, while less is usually said about the fact that I write and perform everything on the guitar. Since the age of thirteen I’ve spent countless hours learning covers and figuring out what kinds of picking patterns, strumming patterns, chord progressions, and song forms move me to create” she says.
Produced on all analog equipment with Andrija Tokic at The Bomb Shelter, 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.
With her album out, Bui set out to create a video for its track, “Appraisal,” one of the record’s more upbeat tracks that is set to a 1920s poem celebrating independent women by Sara Teasdale. To carry on the analog vibe from the album she enlisted the help of VHS Video Artist Mike Kluge (MKAV Arts) to create a psychedelic, retro look using video projections. “I had a blast filming at Queen Ave Art Collective and getting dressed up by stylist Poni Silver (Black By Maria Silver, drummer of The Ettes),” says Bui. “This song and video are a great example of the collaborative East Nashville art and music scene, and I hope everyone enjoys the video as much as I do.”
Check out the video for “Appraisal” now. Ariel Bui’s self-titled album is available for purchase here.