Calgary artist Mariel Buckley ready to rise to the occasion opening for idol k.d. lang’s two local shows

Naomi Brierley of The Northern Sessions

Call it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Twice.

On Wednesday and Thursday night, Calgary alt country singer-songwriter Mariel Buckley will get the chance to open for one of her idols at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium for a pair of sold-out shows — she’ll warm the stage for legendary Alberta artist k.d. lang during her two-night stint.

Those who’ve followed her career know that it’s an opportunity she’s earned and most definitely deserves.

For her part, Buckley knows that these kinds of gigs come along rarely, and she’s bound and determined to make the most of it.

Prior to the rising star’s upcoming 25-minute set each night — starting at 7:30 p.m. sharp, so don’t dare be late! — she chatted with theYYSCENE.

How it came about

“I got an email from someone named Eddie at an entertainment group, and because I don’t have a manager, I get these emails myself so I’m always kind of wary if it’s a fuckin’ scam. But he said, ‘Are you available for these dates, I have a client who’s in town,’ and that was all the information he would give me. And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m available,’ and I knew those were tour dates for her, so I was holding my breath for about two weeks or so. And then he said they would let me know, and I waited another week and then they got back in touch and said, ‘Yeah, we’d really like you to open the show.’ So as far as I know it was her team and entertainment company and promoter picking the acts, which I don’t think happens very much any more. So that was pretty cool.”

What it means to her

“Uh, well, fuck. She’s a huge influence on me as a songwriter and her career path and the way that she’s chosen to make records. I’m just such a fan of the sounds she’s chosen and the people that she’s worked with and her success over the years. She’s been a big influence on me as an artist, so it means a lot — is an understatement. But also it’s a big, rise-to-the-occasion kind of moment, when you just really want to do a good job and settle in and show that you deserve to be there.”

What she has planned for her sets

“Just, you know, (laughs) going to play some songs with (bandmate) Keane Eng. We’re just doing a little duo thing, which I think will be great. It’s all songs from the new record (which is set for release next March) or at least it’s mostly songs from the new record. So that will be a nice teaser for anyone who hasn’t heard of me or who wants to hear the new record.”

Is she nervous?

“Yes. (Laughs) I would be worried if I was not nervous.”

What she’ll say to k.d. if she gets a chance

“I’ve never met her, but I’m told that she’s a super down-to-earth, grounded lady and I’m sure I’ll probably bullshit with her the same that I do with you hopefully (laughs) and, you know, just say thank you.”

(Photo courtesy: Naomi Brierley of The Northern Sessions.)

Mariel Buckley opens for k.d. lang Wednesday and Thursday night at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at