Wilton teen releases debut piano album

Last month, 19-year-old Wilton resident Emma Bucklan released her debut piano album, No Sand in the Hourglass. The 12-track album came out Aug. 9, and is available on major music platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.

Bucklan has been playing piano since she was 6. Before going to the Hopkins School in New Haven for high school, she attended Wilton’s Middlebrook School, where she was a member of the jazz band for two years.

In seventh grade, she was asked to accompany the Middlebrook choir on piano, and was asked again twice in eighth grade — “once as part of a full band accompaniment and once as the accompanist for the annual Music in the Parks festival in which we we competed,” she said

Toward the end of her senior year of high school, Bucklan would often “sit down and see what [she] could come up with spontaneously” on the piano. Even as she began “turning a lot of the bits and pieces … into complete songs,” she said, “it was always for fun” but she “never thought of producing and releasing them.”

“It was my college roommate this past year who suggested that I start taking my songs and putting them in an album,” said Bucklan, who is now a sophomore at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

“While every song I made had a specific inspiration — maybe a bad test grade, a poem, a quote from a friend, a positive experience — I never intended to turn it all into an album until it was suggested to me, and I realized it was actually possible with enough material.”

It took about three months to make No Sand in the Hourglass. Bucklan said she began in May and used a keyboard in her room, in lieu of her piano, so she could “record the sound digitally directly into [her] computer.”

The music

No Sand in the Hourglass fits under the “new age” genre. “There are no vocals, but the titles do suggest their story or inspiration,” said Emma.

“I’ve been told my songs sound like a cross between Jim Brickman and Yanni, which is a huge compliment, I think.”

Emma said she’s “always been a big believer in the fact that music doesn’t have to be the most complicated thing in the world to be beautiful.”

“Many of my songs were written with my own lyrics in mind — to help me form a vibe and melody during the composition process — and then removed so that one can still hear where the lyrics may be when they listen to the song,” she said.

“Some of my songs tell stories; others capture experiences or moods. I think that they are all very easy to listen to.”

Having an album out is an unbelievable feeling, said Bucklan, and she’s “really happy” to be sharing her music with the world.

“It is really rewarding to be able to share the music that means so much to me,” she said. “It was a creative endeavor that served as an escape for me and an outlet.”

She said it’s “such a thrill to hear people’s reactions” and “know that the emotions and feelings [she] put into the songs are being received and appreciated.”

“I am very proud of my album, and I think it's a big accomplishment and a milestone for my development as a pianist,” she said.

At Duke, Bucklan is a member of the university’s select, multi-piano performance group called the Devilish Keys, and is pursuing a certificate in Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image film program, while thinking about majoring in biology. She wants to do “something science-related,” but she’s “not certain whether it will be private research, medicine, or government work.”

“I also want to keep music and film in my life, since they are very important to me,” said Bucklan, who was able to complete a film class at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts while working at a biomedical lab in New York this past summer.

In addition to music and film, Bucklan said, Adobe Photoshop is her “other art-themed hobby,” and she used the computer program to create the cover of her No Sand in the Hourglass album.