Katie Buono has been creating melodies since she could talk, and on the first day of the new year, she finally found the courage to share her work with the world.
Buono, a Sayville High School alumna, released her first album, “Down By the Riverside,” which she'd been working on for three years.
“I've been needing to say hello to the world for a while instead of hiding behind headphones and a microphone in the small recording station I have set up in my mom's basement,” said Buono, 23, who released the album on iTunes and Amazon.com, among other digital platforms.
Buono’s album is a blend of folk, pop and electronic music that she wrote and composed herself. The college senior played every instrument heard on the album, and recorded and mixed all the songs, in addition to creating the cover art.
“Honestly, even my closest friends don't know very much about my process, what I'm thinking about, or what my techniques are,” Buono said. “It's something I've always kept to myself, which is partly why releasing this album is so exciting for me.”
Buono drew inspiration for her lyrics from politics, nature and world environmental issues. In high school, Buono was extremely involved in Sayville’s music department, serving as president of jazz choir and playing the euphonium and trombone in the jazz ensemble.
“The music department at Sayville was definitely one of the things that gave me confidence to pursue music,” Buono said.
Buono also took private classical singing lessons and received several perfect scores in choir at New York State School Music Association competitions.
“Katie was an incredibly dedicated student with an amazing work ethic right from the beginning,” said Amy McGrath, Buono’s former private singing teacher. “She’s very passionate, and that’s extremely evident though her new CD.”
Buono now attends Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio, where she studies technology in music, and dance. She used the conservatory’s studios and order to master her new album, and the final product made her mom proud.
“As a parent, the most important thing you can do is encourage your child to chase their dreams,” said mom Nancy Buono, 56. “Her deciding to pursue music in college is kind of a bold career move, but it delights me to see her music unfold.”
During her college career, Katie Buono has interned at several non-profit music education centers in Manhattan.
“I’m passionate about the arts having a presence in communities since I had that in Sayville,” said Buono, who hopes to do more non-profit music work after she graduates in May. “It’s so important for kids to have that experience.”
But Buono, a fan of Simon and Garfunkel and Judy Garland, will remain focused on pursuing a music career. She plans to contact record labels and spread the news of her album, as well as begin on a second CD.
“I would love to make a career out of recording music,” she said. “Music is a force that connects people all around the world and it makes me feel like myself.”
Check out some of Katie Buono's music here.