Lexi du Buclet | MA Songwriting Final Project

ICMP's Masters student shares the inspiration for her project exploring Black feminism in the music industry...


Originally, hailing from Chicago, Lexi du Buclet’s musical journey has seen her perform as an R&B soul singer songwriter before joining ICMP's Masters in Songwriting programme. 

Her musical experiences have been vast and varied, with Lexi sharing stages with a diverse array of artists including Chance the Rapper and Yo-Yo Ma alongside releasing her own artist material as itoldlexi

In our new interview, we catch up with Lexi to learn more about her time with us, her final project for her MA and how being mentored by leading academic Dr Kyra Gaunt helped take the project to the next level.

Could you talk a little about your final project for the Masters? What is it all about?  

For my final project, I explored Black feminism through the music industry.

As a Black American woman, this was a topic that was really interesting to me, and helped me explore my place in the music industry and wider world.

Black feminism is an intellectual, artistic, philosophical, activist practice, grounded in Black women’s lived experiences. I explored this through speaking on Black women’s experiences through and within the music industry. 

What led you to ICMP to the Songwriting Masters? And how have your studies informed this final project?

I finished my undergraduate degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston during the pandemic. I felt that the way my education ended was not the way I had envisioned and always wanted to further my studies.

It has always been a dream of mine to one day go back to schools and teach masterclasses around activism and Black feminism so when I found the ICMP course in London, somewhere I had never been, it only felt right to apply."  

How did Dr Kyra Gaunt help you as a student with your project? 

Dr Gaunt helped me a lot as a student with my project because, through quickly getting to know each other, we both realized that beyond being Black women, we had a lot in common.

From dealing with different mental health issues to studying race, relations, feminism, and education to truly just moving through the world, she helped me realize my research was extremely personal. A lot of what I have experienced is inevitably political and although it’s not my job to educate the ignorant, she made education and research seem fun and not so heavy when conveying tough lessons to others. 

Dr Gaunt was patient with me and understood that like all humans sometimes life just sucks and, even in the toughest times, although it’s important to keep going, it’s also important to step back and take a break.


I'm interested to hear how you became involved with Lexi? 

Dr Kyra Gaunt: I met Kit Ashton at the last SEM meeting before Covid broke. The conference was held at Indiana University in the US and Kit and I both have a passion for YouTube. He and I soon became friends. He helped me think through a presentation of my next book on several WhatsApp calls. Within the year, he asked if I might help Lexi, who is from Chicago, with her final project. It was an honour and a delight to support her and witness her gifts evolve.

And what was so striking about her project? 

Dr Kyra Gaunt: The commitment to incorporating the men in her life and stories of her own evolution as a Black woman into her academic work. She applied an intersectional lens to her interdisciplinary exploration. As a performing artist, first and foremost, Lexi speaks through her music. Being far from home in a new country was a challenge. Being away from loved ones for a significant period can trigger culture shock.

The songs Lexi created were captivating and the story behind them hopefully left a powerful impression. She was a joy to work with."

What were the biggest challenges with putting this together? 

Lexi: The biggest challenge, when putting this project together, was dealing with a lot of unhealed trauma.

Something that is really important about Black feminism is that we is Black women do not have the ability to just leave our men behind, because, unfortunately, Black men are at the bottom of the social status and food chain. We are not only carrying our own traumas and a hardship, but we are also carrying that of Black men too. And in having conversations with my family, and doing the outside research online and through books, there were a lot of tears shed reliving, and uncovering history. 

Were there any issues or obstacles that you only came up against while creating this that you hadn’t anticipated? 

There were no real obstacles that I had not anticipated, but I did have to take some extra time to really refine everything I wanted to say.

Black feminism is a huge topic that not a lot of people know about and it is next to impossible for me to cover every single sub topic that comes with it. I wanted to make sure I can educate my listeners and readers while still staying focused to the topic on hand, which is exploring Black feminism through music, and not just Black feminism on its own. 


What are your plans with the project? Where are you at with it - and what is next?

The work is never done and Black feminism is something that adds to my identity as an artist.

My music will forever tell the Black experience and my life will forever be political, which means the work is never done. Whether it be through this project or through albums, I’m looking forward to continuing to educate those on what it really means to be a Black woman, especially in this crazy music industry.  

What other projects have been keeping you busy? 

Another project that has been keeping me busy is the opportunity to be the head judge for the ICMP representation with the Song Academy and their songwriting competition.

It has been such a cool opportunity to run a team and to filter through songs, finding the best of the best based on song craft and ethics. We have had lots of conversations about making sure that all of the songs are being judged to the same merit, and that not one person has the upper hand.

Visit itoldlexi.com for more information. 

You can read our previous interview with MA Songwriting student Allison Mareek on her final project. 

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Songwriting courses
by JIm Ottewill
May 23, 2023
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