We have yet to feature New York based Jessica Lynn on Belles and Gals, but with new music on the way from this exciting singer/songwriter later this year (you can find out more details in our interview below!) what better time to introduce her to you? As a taster of what drew me to her music, check out the gal-power title track to her 2106 EP “Not Your Woman”
Jessica is no stranger to the country music stage, she has toured relentlessly internationally in recent years and shared stages with the likes of Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Loretta Lynn. She has made three television specials, the most recent being “Live At Dramatic Hall” , an acoustic story telling performance in which she shares her life and memories.
As well as possessing a really powerful voice, she is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, harmonica and drums) and formed her first band in her early teens, performing professionally throughout Manhattan. Aged just 16, she wrote a song about Alzheimers disease, “Your Favourite Stranger” which helped in her becoming a published ASCAP writer the same year… she has gone on to co-write with many of Nashville’s top hit writers.
A big supporter of humanitarian causes, Jessica was invited to The United Nations recently for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day… and she is currently fostering a disabled/abused puppy during the quarantine, which she told me is “the best spirit elevator ever.”. I can easily believe that!
I hope you enjoy discovering more about Jessica via my questions and her really interesting answers!
1. LH The first question I always ask in an email interview is… where are you? I like to paint a picture just like any good country song does!
JL I am writing to you from New York! I live about 1 hour north of NYC so it’s wonderful because you go 1 hour north and you are in the real country of New York, and 1 hour south and can experience the city!
2. LH How did a girl growing up in New York get introduced to country music in the first place? Was it through your parents, who i know are both very musical themselves?
JL My Dad who is a retired New York City street cop was always a very big fan of country music and he always had it on in the house. Some of my earliest memories of music were of him listening to Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy and him driving me to school listening to Phil Vassar.
3. LH What made you fall in love with the genre so much?
JL When I became a teenager and started writing my own music I really started connecting with the way country music can tell a story. The way the lyrics in country music can truly paint a picture was so attractive to me as a songwriter and performer and I have been hooked ever since!
4. LH Becoming an ASCAP writer aged just sixteen is some achievement! Who influenced your songwriting while you were growing up and when did you start writing yourself?
JL Thank you! 😊 Richard Marx, Phil Vassar, Neil Diamond, and Barry Manilow were my biggest songwriting influences growing up and I started writing as young as 6 years old. It was really a dream come true that I have been able to open for both Richard and Phil recently. Sharing a stage with my idols was something I will never forget.
5. LH Co-writing is such a major part of the country music scene these days…..is that something you found daunting initially, assuming you started off solo writing like most people seem to do? And do you have a dream co-writer you’ve yet to collaborate with?
JL I was so nervous when I went in to my first co-writing session because I had always written alone. It also didn’t help that I was going to a very well-known writers studio down in Nashville RIGHT off the plane on my very first trip there that was set up by my publishing company as part of my publishing deal. It turned out to be not scary at all and very inspiring. When you are in the room with another writer, they come up with things you NEVER would have thought of and force you to think outside of your own box. My dream co-write would be with Richard Marx. He just writes the most incredible music and lyrics.
6.LH Your most successful single to date has been ” Crazy Idea” which has a fantastic and fun video too! Can you talk me through the inspiration and writing process behind that song?
JL ” Crazy Idea” was my first top 50 single on country radio so it holds a really special place in my heart. I also wrote it in Belgium on my very first trip overseas ever so it brings up many exciting feelings of that big adventure. The music video is a tour diary, filmed overseas on my 2017 European tour and the inspiration behind the song was when my husband and I first met. We all have had that person in our lives that we wonder, “what if we were to get together?” Sometimes that “crazy idea” turns out to not be so crazy. 😊
7. LH When it comes to performing, you’ve played both massive venues and smaller, more intimate ones… what do you enjoy the most from each of these types show
JL I definitely love having the variety in our tour and both big and small shows bring something totally unique to the table. With small shows, I absolutely love the intimacy of seeing everyone’s facial expressions and energy so up close. In the big shows, I love the “buzz” that comes from so many people in one place and the roar of the crowd.
8. LH And its very exciting to hear that we are getting new music from you in 2020! It all starts with a single due out very soon I understand… please tell me more!
JL April 24th, my first single of 2020 comes out called “Run To.” I took the first 2 weeks of 2020 to do nothing but write after being on the road so much last year. ” Run To ” will be followed by a music video and then several other singles before the whole EP is released digitally. These new songs are some of my favorite I have ever written because I really wrote them with my heart and not my head, which isn’t always so easy to do in such a demanding and at times ,”cookie-cutter” business. I wanted to make music that really meant something to me and I’m so happy I was able to achieve it.
9. LH The single is available to pre-order now on your website (alongside some fixed price merchandise) with fans asked to ” choose your own price”… I’ve actually never seen that before, how did you come up with that idea and why?
JL Yes it is available for pre-orders and every copy will come signed through this special tour store that is active on my website now. I came up with that idea because I think it is important that music and the arts are available to everyone. Everyone has a different financial and life situation and sometimes it’s only possible to give what you can, and that is enough for me!
Check out the preorders here https://jessicalynnmusic.org/tour-2020-exclusive
10. LH I know you have plans for a massive tour throughout the States and Europe a well in the coming months… obviously those plans may sadly change but hopefully things can be rescheduled if necessary. What can we expect from the shows? Will they be solo or full band, or vary according to the venue?
JL I am hoping and praying every day it does not get cancelled because I really put my heart and soul in to this tour, however, if we do get out on the road as planned, the fans can expect the same energy we have always given them with a bunch of new music. We have 10 new songs in the show for this year, all which mean a lot to me, and all that fit in with my old music but definitely have a new flair. The new songs and elements in the show give everyone better insight in to who I am as a person and a writer and I’m very excited about that. All shows will be full band!
11. LH Many artists are understandably worried about their livelihoods at the moment. What is the best way for fans to help them through these tough times do you think?
JL This is a very difficult and worrisome time for not just musicians, but for businesses everywhere. The absolute best way you can support your favorite musicians at this time is to purchase their merchandise. Buying a cd or t-shirt etc., goes right in to their pocket and can help sustain them through this uncertain period. For me, all my merchandise sales are going in to the “tour fund” as a cushion to help us financially in the event of concert cancellations due to the virus. For those fans that are also struggling, just streaming a song or sharing a post means so much to artists like me, not just now, but always.
LH Thank you so much for your time! I really hope we get to see you over here as planned in June… and I can’t wait to hear your new music!
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)