Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Nashville’s Autumn Marie Buysse. Together we discussed songwriting, living in Nashville, stories behind the songs, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
I just ate air-fried chicken nuggets, so life could not be better.
2. When did you first begin writing? Did you begin with songwriting or another style of writing?
I didn’t start seriously songwriting until my freshman year of college, which was at University of Colorado Denver. Before that, I spent most of time at School of Rock or playing with bands I was in. I’d been writing singer-songwriter songs for fun since I was young, and then moved into pop and then country in college. Now, my writing schedule is pretty much evenly distributed between country and pop/singer-songwriter artists.
3. Who are some songwriters that inspire and influence you?
I think HARDY is the greatest writer of our generation, and here’s my argument why:
- “He Went To Jared” is a one chord song
- “A Rock” turns the phrase five times
- the chorus in “Unapologetically Country As Hell” has rhymes in the middle and at the end of every phrase, and the end rhymes are all three syllable rhymes
- “All She Left Was Me” has three different chorus lyrics, and all three are equally brilliant
I had about twenty other examples I deleted, but message me and I’ll send them to you.
4. You reside in Nashville, the music city of the human world. What is it like living in Nashville?
I’ve never loved a city more than I love Nashville. Everything’s ten minutes away and the town is small enough that there’s two degrees of separation between me and anyone who lives here. The writing talent and country artistry here is jaw dropping and I’m beyond lucky to be artistically challenged by the best creatives in the world every week. I haven’t found many pop artists I’m passionate about here, but that’s why I make trips to LA multiple times a year.
5. Speaking of Nashville, you write primarily country and pop music. How does your environment play a role in your writing? Where do you recommend a human visit when in Nashville?
I have personally toured the Belmont Mansion seven separate times, and I’ve toured every plantation and Civil War site around here. There’s a lot more to Music City than music.
6. Do you have a warm-up routine before writing? How do you prepare yourself to write?
I listen to the artist’s music the whole drive to the write, even if I’ve written with the artist a million times before. I like to get into the rhythm of what they’re doing and what techniques and topics they gravitate towards, as well as identify what their catalog might be missing. I also have hundreds of song ideas in my phone organized by topic, as well as thousands of rhymes and interesting phrases stored in my notes, so I’m prepared for pretty much any write you throw me in.
7. You have helped co-write songs with artists such as Zoe Clark, Brooke Alexx, and Abigail Osborn to name a few. Could you describe a typical writing session? Is there a big difference between each of these artists in a session?
There’s artists that are the reason the song’s incredible, there’s artists that help the song get there, there’s artists that just sit there, there’s artists that get in the way, and there’s artists that actively try to ruin the song. I personally don’t care if an artist has an ounce of songwriting ability or not. The only thing I expect from an artist is enthusiasm, an opinion, and vocal control.
I would rather write with an excited sixteen year old artist than a jaded twenty-six year old artist any day of the week.
8. According to your Spotify playlist “some songs I helped write!!”; there are some wild stories behind these songs. Could you share with Music Shelf one of these wild stories?
I’ll give you a few of my favorites:
“I Don’t Take Pictures Anymore” with Brooke Alexx easily took six separate writing sessions and texting lines back and forth for weeks.
“The Last Thing” is a country song I wrote with two pop writers years ago. A couple days after we wrote it, I played a round at Dawghouse Saloon a couple days later with Dakota Leigh and played it out for the first time. Right after I finished playing it, Dakota asked if she could cut it. This March, she put it out.
The night I wrote “Drunk Poet,” it was the first time I’d ever written with the artist, Gillian Krystal. I had a splinter in my hand, so Gillian spent an hour trying to dig it out with a needle. The entire time, I was taking shots of vodka to deal with the pain, and then tequila when the vodka ran out. She wasn’t able to get the splinter, so I ended up completely hammered with the splinter still in my hand. We stayed up all night writing the song, even though I don’t even remember writing the bridge. The next day, Gillian came over to record final vocals and found me still passed out on the studio couch.
The first time I met Zoe Clark was when we wrote “Last One Standing” at Sophia Tilley’s songwriting soiree. We had forty-five minutes to write a song and the topic was self-love, but we didn’t adhere to the latter.
I wrote “Hot Damn” with SJ McDonald when I was a sophomore at Belmont. The original hook was actually “goddamn.”
9. How did it feel to sign with Bigger Picture Entertainment via Sony Music Publishing? What are some things you would like to accomplish with them?
I could not be with a better team. Sarah Purdy, Luke Burrowes, Jason Sharpe, and Digital Farm Animals are the most organized, brilliant, hardcore individuals I’ve ever met.
My main goal is to write one of the biggest songs that’s ever been written. I want to write absolutely ginormous bangers that soccer moms will be screaming at dive bar karaoke joints for the rest of time. I want to write the next “Wagon Wheel,” the next “I Will Always Love You,” the next “Let It Be.”
My other goal that I’m incredibly passionate about is to re-pave the way for female writers in male country music.
I have pissed off plenty of male country writers so far, and I plan on pissing off a lot more.
10. What is your favorite part of the song to write?
I’m tied between a catchy chorus or a brilliant first line of the first verse. That’s why “Last One Standing” is the cut I’m most proud of as a writer. I’d been sitting on that first line for awhile, and that chorus melody is so fun to me, so it’s surreal to see it connect with so many people every single day
11. Who are some artists you recommend humans check out?
If you don’t know Stela Cole, you should. We have a song called “Roses” coming out soon that you can pre-save here: https://ffm.to/e7p6oo4
12. What is on the horizon for Autumn Marie Buysse?
2022’s gonna be full of doubles (two writes a day), songwriting retreats, LA writing trips, APG toplines, sync and Kpop pitches, Song Suffragettes shows, Bluebird Sunday Writers Night series showcases, and nights spent screaming over the insanity at Red Door. I’ve got some really exciting co-writes lined up for January, and a lot of songs I’m really proud of that are dropping in the new year.
13. Is your playlist “some songs I helped write!!” the best place for readers to check out your work?
Yes! I’ll also link to my instagram!
Spotify cuts playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1I2BeKOuprClrDIVHgUYGC?si=978e282c7da347fc