This is a world music special, closing a very successful 2023 for us here at the magazine. And from all four of us here at Rock the Joint, may we wish you a really happy and peaceful 2024? God bless you and your happiness.
Agne Buskeviciute is a Lithuanian singer-songwriter who released a highly rated eight-track debut album, “New Start,” in 2023. We loved the blend of cinematic pop music here from a classically trained vocalist (she trained at the Sibelius Academy in Hensinki) who is starting to make a name for herself. We were very pleased to be able to find out more about Agne, especially about her new single, which seems to showcase her terrific vocals and an image drawn from rock.
We were listening to “Goddess of Fire” and had a look at the video. its an interesting track. Can you tell us a little about the background for it and how you set about representing it in the video?
Agne: This song was born very spontaneously. In spring, I was in Norway, where I was working in a studio on new songs. This location wasn’t a coincidence; I was looking for music producers who could help me incorporate more Nordic sounds into my music, so I found a great team. The goal was to work on my debut music album, but sometimes unexpected things happen in the studio. One of the producers noticed that I have a record of a cover song by one of the famous Norwegian pop artists on Youtube. He enjoyed the way I sounded in that genre, so I suggested to him in jest that we attempt to produce something more “poppy.” So… I made a joke, and now we have what we have!
In the middle of the songwriting process, I’ve started to feel a bit nervous. Hearing these new melodies, which are not very suitable for my singing style, the tempo of the song, etc., it looked like I probably wouldn’t be able to tackle this song. That was something really new for me and very different. I started to think about how my listeners would react to this change. I had many doubts, but in the end, I’ve decided not to interfere in the creative process and to indulge in the creative drive. If my inner artist wants this, then let’s go and see what happens.
(And to the video.)
With the team, we decided to keep the mystical vibe of the song. Fire is my element, and I wanted to write a song about it for a very long time; I just didn’t know in what form I would put it. Together with other songwriters, we’ve created our unique Goddess of Fire, like an allegory to hope, light, inspiration and endless love. We wanted to convey that mystical mood and other-worldly atmosphere in the music video. We had only a smoke machine and lamps, and with them, we tried to convey those images as if it were another planet from which the Goddess of Fire originates. In some particular places, it looks like the real fire is in the video. I’m very happy with the final result!
July 2023 saw the release of your album, “New Start.” Does the title indicate a new direction for you? And was this single, “Goddess of Fire” (which is not on the album), recorded at the same time?
Agne: “New Start” was my first single, my first original song, and my first album, so yes, it indicates a new chapter of my life because I always wanted to do this. For many years, I was training to be a classical singer, but I have always felt that my true path is what I am doing now. I always wanted to sing, perform, and create my own music. It was my new start, my new beginning and finally, I’m very happy. “Goddess of Fire” was recorded six months after the first single release, in the middle of the making process of the debut album, but as an experiment, that’s why this song isn’t in the album.
Where are you at the close of 2023 musically? Has it been a good year for you, and what have you planned for 2024?
At the end of 2023, I grew up a lot from a musical point of view, gained experience and knowledge, and the most fun thing is that, with the help of good music producers and musical experiments, I learned that I can do things in music that I thought I would never be able to do. I won’t elaborate too much on what I mean, but very soon the listeners will hear everything.
This year was full of everything. From a music perspective, it was the best year of my life, during which I fulfilled many dreams and did important work: I created a lot of music, released a debut album, organised the first concert of original songs, made important connections, shot several music videos, etc. There were also many trips abroad. But there were also emotional pits when I felt really sad. There was everything, but during this year I realised what is really important in life. During this year, I became stronger and matured much more, both as an artist and as a person.
Talking about 2024, there are many plans for the coming year. I will continue to create and release songs. I have also been selected to participate in the Lithuanian National Selections of Eurovision with my upcoming song “Puppeteer,” which I will release in January. Also, there is a plan to make a second full-length album, and I will have concerts and various performances, so there will definitely be more creative news from me.
“Are You Ready for Us?” was a short track from your album. But it is an interesting track vocally; is it one you enjoy singing, and will you be performing it live in 2024?
Agne: I’m so glad that you’ve liked this piece, because I really like it too. “Are you ready for us?” is also a dream come true. I always wanted to create a fantasy-themed work that would have a theatre vibe, where there would be a lot of magical creations and the main voice would be the witch’s voice with occasional witch’s laughter. I think this piece is perfect for Halloween. From the vocal side, yes, I absolutely love singing like that! When I’m singing like that, it seems that there are no rules; you just let the character in and see where it takes you. It’s fun to experiment with the voice and discover more and more of its colours and possibilities. It’s fun to create a character with a voice. And yes, in 2024, there will definitely be several concerts where this piece will be performed live. I will announce everything soon.
Were you always in love with singing and music? Were you from a musical family, and were you performing in a band at school?
Agne: For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be just a singer, and I decided very early that singing was my calling. There were no musicians or professional artists in my family; I just always wanted to be a singer and always had the feeling that music was my path. My dad wasn’t interested in taking me to music classes; he was more interested in sports, which I just hated at the time. So I secretly took singing lessons, and later, when I was 15, I entered a music conservatory on my own and started studying professional singing. Also, at the same time, I founded an operatic metal band named “Flame of Aeon.” It wasn’t easy. I was looking for musicians for a year, then I had to look for rehearsal rooms, and no one helped me. It was so difficult that, at one point, I even doubted if I would make it. But I did it, and our band performed quite a lot for a few years. It was a beautiful period of my teenage years. Only later did my mother admit to me that she didn’t really believe that I would be able to create a band, but she is extremely proud of me for not giving up and reaching my goal.
Lastly, a quick question: what album would you most like to listen to on a cold winter night if you suddenly had no television, no radio and no internet? You only have the vinyl record player; a storm is blowing outside. What album do you play?
Agne: I would like to listen to something cosy that would give me inner warmth. I am a fan of old (or earlier recorded, first versions) Christmas songs, so I would probably listen to an album that contains a mix of Christmas songs or carols.
You can stream the album and single on Spotify here.
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By Benny (the ball) Benson