ONE of the highest points in Ciara Buckmaster's life was born out of one of her lowest.
The St Philip's Christian College Salamander Bay year 10 student, 16, is celebrating the release of her first single Invisible, which explores how she felt after a serious facial injury.
"I would have never ever thought that I would be doing anything like this," Ciara said of recording and releasing the song, which is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.
"It's the most incredible feeling to know people are listening to something I worked on personally and that I put a lot of time and effort and meaning into - and that is filled with a lot of honesty."
Ciara, who sings under the stage name Keira, grew up in a music-filled house and joined her previous school's ukulele group and started singing. Her grandparents bought her a ukulele that could plug into an amp.
Ciara wrote her first song on the ukulele shortly after her March 2017 accident. She was surfing at Fingal Bay when her board hit her in the face, knocked her unconscious and left her with severed facial nerves and a broken jaw.
"It was absolutely traumatising," she said.
"I had a long time off school, a lot of medical appointments, operations, it was a very very close call - my parents nearly lost me."
Ciara was left with facial palsy and had to learn how to blink and smile again. She still lives with trigeminal neuralgia, similar to electric shocks on her face.
Ciara's mum brought her ukulele to the hospital and Ciara taught herself how to play her dad's guitar.
"That's where I found my passion for music," she said.
"I found it was a massive escape from the real world and such a de-stressing thing for me - it uplifted my mood and kept me distracted from what was going on. The doctors told me I'd never sing again and possibly never smile and would have difficulty talking as well, so it was a prove-them-wrong situation too."
She penned Little Girl after leaving hospital, about being seen as "the girl with the broken smile, when no-one really knew me for me". "I started singing very slightly and it was very mumbled and blurred, but in my head of course it sounded beautiful, just not actually out loud."
Ciara returned to her previous school after three months, originally for just one day a week, and said "once people realised I was not dying and was okay, I became invisible to everyone". She channeled her feelings into Invisible, but put it aside.
She moved to St Philip's about two years ago and became involved in the school's music opportunities, including singing and guitar classes run by The Studio Performing Arts Academy at Taylors Beach. She said she "clicked" with the owners and they offered to help her record a rewritten version of Invisible.
Ciara is in the process of writing another song, finessing a further 15 and hopes to release a second single in the next four months. She said her goal was to release an album and be a signed artist.
She said she admired Ed Sheeran and Dean Lewis and their "raw and open" style and wanted to write about friendships, relationships, life experiences and lessons learned.
"I always kept pushing on," she said of staying resilient after her accident.