Near the time of his 2001 graduation, Clarence Bucaro took a leap of faith professionally into the music business when an Americana record label from Portland, Oregon, offered to sign him. He said his career has been a whirlwind of self-transformation and journeying around the country ever since.
Now an Ohio State graduate and accomplished musician, Bucaro is preparing to release his eleventh album, Passionate Kind, on May 18.
Although Bucaro studied political science and natural resources, he pursued his music career independently throughout his college years by recording demos and sending them to record labels, while also participating in different music programs, including a gospel choir.
“I was getting my degree, but I was also trying to get into the music biz, and I had this crossroads moment there where it was like, ‘Which direction am I going to go?’” Bucaro said. “At that point I wanted to get into politics and do some environmental work. But then came the label deal just as I graduated and that made the decision.”
Bucaro said once he graduated and signed the deal, he launched his career by touring across the country. Since then, he has lived in New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York City and Nashville, building his career.
He writes his own songs, plays the guitar and records and performs mostly as a solo singer.
“The people I go to most as my inspirations are Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, so it’s in that vein,” he said. “But I try to make it my own and I try to be very honest and introspective in my lyrics and try to show people who I am and what I believe in.”
He said his new album is “a bit of a departure” from some of his previous works. He said he will be exploring stories and lyrics in different ways than he has in the past.
“I tried to be more descriptive and different with the songs,” he said. “I really like the way the album turned out and I hope other people do too.”
Although Bucaro said he loves his career in music, he has faced many challenges along the way.
When he became an independent artist and stopped working with a record label during the dawn of the digital music era around 2005, he said he struggled juggling the many aspects of going solo and the changing music industry.
However, he said the highlights of his career overshadow the challenges.
“There’s been a lot of good moments and affirming moments where I remember why I’m doing this,” Bucaro said. “Most highlights are based on some connection I’ve made with a fan, whether it be a letter from somebody that my music has made a difference to them or gotten them through a hard time or something else, that’s always the most encouraging thing as an artist.”
Sean Hennessy, a fellow Ohio State graduate, friend and former roommate of Bucaro, said he has always been very motivated to follow his passion of music.
“He kept writing and recording tirelessly even when it meant working second jobs just to pay for recording time,” said Hennessy.
He also explained how much of his soul Bucaro puts into his music.
“His songs are giving voice to something in him that just needs to be expressed,” said Hennessy. “I think that comes through in the poetic quality of his lyrics, like he’s exploring the range of the human experience and wants to connect with his audience on a deep, emotional level. He is one of the few musicians I’ve met who seems more motivated by his muse than by fame and ego.”
Bucaro said he is continuously appreciative of the large arts and music scene at Ohio State.
“Ohio State brings in so many wonderful [musical acts], and I still think about a lot of the things that enriched me back then.”