If I was asked to describe BOI aka Newcastle performer Anna Buckingham in just a few words, it would likely be determined and lively.
There is no getting around the fact that Buckingham is something else!! When it comes to performing, drama and arts, she is a natural, ever since she started out goofing around in theatre as a kid. (Apparently she is still as zany as ever!) By 15 though she switched her focus to singing and songwriting, which has been something that has kept her busy for a better part of a decade now.
It was with her older brother James that she first experienced modest success in the indie-pop four-piece band Nova & The Experience. But her first band experience would later collapse under the pressure of servicing debts and a creative falling out with her brother. After a short period of soul searching Buckingham decided to use what she had learned from her life experiences to finally venture out on her own. Of interest, is the moniker she chose to celebrate her individuality. Apparently, while growing up around Hamilton and Eleebana, Buckingham was told to act more like a girl, so she imagined the best way to stand out and reclaim those insults was to reinventing herself with the label BOI.
Since taking ownership of BOI, this determined and lively young woman now finds herself in a good place. Already both Imaginary Boys and her current single Sick Of Loving You has signalled her as an artist to watch. Moreover, her stylistic emergence into electro-pop has many of us wanting more!
I caught up briefly with Anna to talk about drama classes, her latest single Sick Of Loving You and what’s installed for BOI in the near future.
Sick Of Loving You is a great track that most of us can relate to. Why do you think love and melancholy for instance work so well in pop music?
Thank you. There’s so many levels of intense emotions when it comes to love. The power of love and what it can do. I always try to keep to a narrative in my songs and melancholy fits so perfectly with love as the two are juxtaposed yet also go hand in hand. Love is bittersweet, it can make or break us and its true some say you can die of a broken heart. I guess the melancholy that surrounds someone who is making themselves sick of loving someone was something I wanted to tell a story about and pop music for me is a such a great simple way to write to somewhat of a structure where the rules are made to be bent and twisted and that’s why I love writing about love and pain especially when it’s accompanied by sassy strings and bold brass bass sounds that both work to pull on the heart strings as we have all experienced loving someone but hating them at the same time. Giving in for love when you know you shouldn’t.
Still on the subject of Sick Of Loving You, did you write the lyrics or did you hear the melody in your head first?
I actually wrote the lyrics and the melody at the same time. Give or take a few words here and there. I wrote it on the second day working with Liam Quinn after being complete strangers prior. He lay down the beat from scratch and I just spat out the first two lines “and you know it hurts, you know you’re not deserving of my love, question myself worth, then you go and stab me in the heart” they came form the heart I guess.
You seem like a very natural performer. How much do you credit your time in weekly drama classes as a kid for the confidence and emerging success you are having right now?
I definitely love performing . I love nothing more than leaving a show of any kind and just being blown away and so satisfied to have seen something that moved you so much to uplift you and leave you with a memory .
I wanted to start drama classes when I was 9 and continued to do weekly classes and every school holidays perform in a season of various musical theatre shows.
I started out acting and went to high school where I got in for drama but also studied music and was surrounded by lovers of the performing arts and I do give credit to all the above for my confidence and love for the arts.
I would say that the years I spent in my band – Nova and The Experience – with my brother and two other guys (who were also personal friends) really taught me a lot about never giving up, determination, mistakes and lessons and the dedication and commitment it takes to survive in this industry and I would say this has equipped me with the experience, and mind set needed to pursue this as a career cause it’s a tough industry and you have to know you deserve it to survive I think. Because I have worked very hard to never give up on my dreams and have come close to giving up. I’ve felt all sorts of pain and been through heart ache but when I finish a song that is created out of that darkness, there the Phoenix rises.
My mum was a single mother but we had a very colourful, loud household and there was always nights we got together and practiced performance games like speaking for a minute about a topic you’re given just before and you have to go a minute and talk about the topic like you were presenting without saying “um” or “er” it stopping. I used to spend time in my room blasting No Doubt, Killing Heidi, Bachelor Girl, hair brush in hand watching myself in the mirror screaming at the top of my lungs imagining being up there in front of people under the lights .
I’d force my mum and whoever was in the house at the time to come and watch a dance I’d made up to perform.
Anna, can you tell us something suprising about yourself?
The white patch on my fore head is natural and so is the white hair. I wasn’t born with it either, it appeared on my head when I was 14 years old and apparently is a condition called vitiligo where it causes your natural pigment in the skin to die in certain parts of the body and mine turned out to be in my hair line so I have a naturally white streak of hair the front of my forehead as well as white eye lashes only left eye too.
Who did you listen to growing up? What is your favourite album and why?
I grew up listening to a lot of Tina Arena and Celine Dion cause my mum would always play that around the house and I would always try and reach the big notes running down the hallways screaming at the top of my lungs but personally I was listening to the sounds of No Doubt, Killing Heidi, Bachelor Girl with a hair brush in hand dancing in the mirror with too much make up on I thought looked good. I loved the rough, punk element I guess to them, that they were all chick singers that sounded badass (and probably were) but lyrically you could hear a story of pain, power, hurt, love, anger, sadness. I really loved that. Mum says I must’ve gotten my voice for all the screaming I did as a baby cause both my parents don’t have a musical bone in their body and mum especially is almost tone deaf bless her.
Your debut single Imaginary Boys was a wonderful introduction to you and your music. What’s the best thing you’ve heard about it from fans?
I have had some really great reviews and wonderful responses from listeners and am so happy at how well its been received. I always love reading what people think especially when I don’t know them personally and appreciate so much that they take the time to say anything about it cause if you take the time to write something, anything, haha, good or bad, you’ve been affected in some way.
These HERE were great from listeners of triplej unearthed.
Finally, what secrets are you allowed to divulge about future songs or a possible EP?
I am just going to keep on writing and create as much as I can while I’m here. I think I won’t release an EP until next year and just finish this rewarding year with a 3rd single that will be coming out in November sometime. I’m really excited to be playing my first live show (next month) as BOI with my band at The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle where I grew up. Will be great to see familiar faces there and get to break out in my home town. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten up and sang a whole set and I can’t wait to do this and start this journey on my own and break free! I love performing and can’t wait to be up there sharing something with others soon!