Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
It’s been a few years since Linsanity swept over New York City, but with the way the career of classically trained soulful singer-songwriter Rachel Lynn has been blossoming, there could be a new breed of Lynnsanity in the city in 2014.
Soulful singing and classical training. They may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but Lynn has been utilizing her many years of classical training to showcase her soul.
“I always knew that I felt a soul element in my music,” Lynn explains. “I’m very inspired by soulful music, and Motown, and Sam Cooke, and Otis (Redding). They’re like my favorite guys ever, so I always knew I wanted that kind of element in my music. What the classical training provided was a technique. I feel like I know how to use my instrument confidently, and I can do it in the way that I want.”
What Lynn has wanted to do with her voice, and more specifically, her music, has varied, even while recording. Lynn remember that while working on her eponymous 2012 EP, “I originally started out, the first EP, with a more produced, kind of done up, sound, and was just freaking out about it, was feeling like it wasn’t me. I didn’t know what direction to go in production-wise, and with instrumentation, so a few thousand dollars into the process I decided to strip it down, go organic, go more acoustic, and that was like a really comfy place for me to start.”
NYC has also become a comfy place for the Maryland transplant, who moved to the city two and a half years ago. “I felt like I came home when I moved here,” she says, “I have never felt so at home as I have in this city.”
Not only is it a homelike atmosphere for Lynn, she notes she’s surrounded by like-minded people. “Everyone’s an artist, everyone’s a musician, everyone’s an individual, everyone’s chasing a dream.”
Lynn started chasing her dream at a very young age, doing choirs of all kinds. “I just thought when I was little that everyone wanted to grow up and be a singer,” she remembers, “I thought that was like, duh, we all want to do this.”
It was an understandable thought for Lynn, as not only was she heavily involved in music, her mother had been a musician, and a music teacher, before passing away when Lynn was twelve years old.
While on stage, Lynn likes to think of a specific memory of her mother. “I remember her sitting in the front row just beaming, smiling at me when I’m singing like, I don’t know, ‘America The Beautiful.’ Nothing that might personally touch anyone, but she was my mom, and she was super proud of me. I think sometimes thinking of that even helps me with performances, picturing her in the front row, beaming at me.”
It’s a beautiful image in an industry filled with some not so beautiful moments. Lynn can recall dealing with some of the latter, including when a prospective collaboration went horribly awry. “I was attempting to work with a producer who was recommended to me by a great friend who I respect both as a person and a musician,” she remembers. “I sent over some demo-ish tracks, it was the first steps and we were gonna go in the studio, and he just blasted my faith, hated what I was doing, told me that my lyrics were a joke.”
For a moment, the incident shook her. “That really felt like wow, all of a sudden he’s a microcosm for the entire industry, and everyone’s gonna think I’m a joke.” Lynn, however, who doesn’t care to reveal the name of the producer, then asked herself a question, “Who says he gets to decide those things? It’s just his one opinion.”
The good news for Lynn is when it comes to her work, that particular producer’s feelings are in the minority.
Although soul is still at the heart of her music, Lynn’s next effort, which she’ll finish recording over the next few months, and will be releasing in 2014, involves another musical shift.
“Now I’m performing with a full band,” she explains, “I’m writing with the intention of making bigger sounds on stage, or in the studio, which is really exciting, and I think I’m growing as a writer, and as you grow as a writer you’re able to look past the chord progression you’re currently playing, and you’re able to think, ‘What would work well here? What do I want my drum kit to be doing? Is there a sick bass line that would fit here?’ You start to imagine all the full band things, and I think that comes with the experience of writing.”
Once the album is ready Lynn hopes to go on tour, and come home with some interesting stories from the road. Currently, she says her craziest stories come from the occasional inappropriate emails from people who’ve found her website. These emails have included “asking if they can live with me.”
Lynn isn’t looking for a roommate, but she is looking to take the next step in her career, and with her brand new band, and unique brand of singer-songwriter soul, 2014 could be the year that next step happens, and a new breed of Lynnsanity sweeps over New York City.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.