New York based rocker / country girl / soul siren Jessica Lynn really does bring a bit of everything to her exciting East Coast brand of country music that is truly real and true to her which is why she has quickly become a particular favourite to fans on our side of the Atlantic where she has already wowed fans at headline shows of her own along with stellar performances and some of Europe’s biggest country festivals. Recently releasing her third single of 2020 “Love Me That Way” that is set to follow in the footsteps of both “Run To” and “Now or Never” to become an instant favourite on both sides of the pond. Due to the current uncertainty in the world Jessica had been forced to postpone her forthcoming tour but with new dates announced including a UK return in May 2021 so we had plenty to talk about when we recently caught up with her to hear all about new music, the future and life in the crazy world of 2020.
Firstly, Jessica on how things are currently going regarding the pandemic over in New York: Things are so restricted here and there has been a ban on live music. We did play full band last night, about an hour out of NYC but there was no audience so it was just a live stream. I’m just trying to stay positive. As bad as things are right now, the world can’t shut down forever and at some point things have got to start again. At that point I think it’s got to be up to people then if they don’t feel comfortable just don’t go. It’s everybody’s right to not go to the grocery store or a concert but you can’t prevent people from making a living and venues being closed because someone else is not comfortable, you just don’t have to participate like anything else in life! In New York right now it’s ridiculous, I mean music can only be “incidental” which means when you’re out for dinner and surprise a guy pops up with his guitar, so you can’t cover charge or ticket and you can’t advertise but the government aren’t giving anything to supplement that whilst people can go back to work at their office or wherever it is or get on a plane but we’re not receiving any type of assistance. I’m not advocating for people to go out and start being stupid, cramming together at a concert but you can just as easily socially distance at a concert the same as when you socially distance in the line at a store or sitting on an aeroplane or whatever it is.
Then what she been up to during this time where she has been unable to play in front of a live audience: As soon as we knew that the tour was getting cancelled, which really was a hard pill to swallow for me because it was a year in the works, it was twelve countries, eighty dates, five months straight and that wasn’t even everything! We had a lot of stuff in the works for it that never came to pass so it was really difficult for me but I’m not the type of person – whether that from my New York Italian nature, that’s just going to lay down and get beat up, I always fight back! Immediately we started upgrading our cameras, getting lighting and I started live streaming like crazy so I’ve been so busy doing those and pretty much everything that I can do to stay relevant and stay in the game. It was blowing my mind to see so many people saying they’re going to take a break right now and I was like NO! Now is the time you need to get up and fight for music and the art. Honestly we have been so busy and a silver lining for me was we were supposed to release a six song EP before the big tour but because it got cancelled we made the decision to turn it into a full length album, which will be my first full length album I have ever had which is super exciting. We would have never really had the time to finish it or do it if we were on the road! Then I watch all my late night tv, I’ve been watching all the serial killer documentaries and of course Tiger King that I was so obsessed with when it came out! I saw a meme the other day that said: “I really miss the Tiger King portion of quarantine!”
On this upcoming debut album and what we can expect from her in the run up to it’s release: Now we have time to really highlight certain tracks off the album that a going to be a good representation of what people are going to hear and you’re not giving it all away in one shot, you give each song a fair chance. So we are going to do the same thing, releasing about every two months up until April as we’re looking to release the record April 30th, right before the big tour! We’ve already added some more dates to and it’s becoming a lot more massive this year which is also a wonderful thing, so I’m looking at the positives of everything now! On her musical influences growing up and what has helped to shape her own sound and artistry: They were not country, I did listen to country music growing up. My dad has Glen Campbell on in the house, he always had a George Strait album on cars rides and he got me very into Phil Vassar when I was a kid but my influences have always been soul music or rock & roll. The Temptations were one of my favourite bands growing up, I listened to The Beach Boys like crazy, I’m a huge Neil Diamond fan, Richard Marx and No Doubt was one of my biggest influences. When I decided to make country music, I did have a fear in the beginning of having the door slammed in my face by a lot of different people saying you don’t look like anything coming out of Nashville right now or you don’t sound like that but you know what where are those people now? They are a dime a dozen, they all sound exactly the same and putting out the same music. The next big thing is never what is happening right now! Everybody is always chasing what is happening right now but that’s never going to get you anywhere because by the time you get that things, the world has moved on to something else. The best most influential musicians ever, like Elvis or The Beatles, people that did something really different is what people really connect to and that means that it is really you inside! I always said just because I am doing country music, I swore to myself that I’m never going to write about trucks or this and that because I live an hour from New York City! That would be so fake of me and people can smell fake from a mile away. In the beginning it was hard but people started reacting to it, my biggest compliment at shows is “I hate country music BUT I love your show!” so for me that’s what it is all about.
Talking about the backstory behind new single “Love Me That Way” (Available HERE) and why this was the track that she chose to bring out now: That was written about two years ago on a radio tour actually when I was promoting my top 40 single that was climbing up country radio. My husband and I were travelling around the country in a rental car, going to all the stations and doing performances then I got the idea for the song whilst we were driving. I wrote the song in the front seat of the little rental car and I always loved that song because it felt like it always was a very good representation of who I am as an artist. It’s a little bit of country, it’s a little bit of rock & roll, it’s a little bit of soul and Motown harmonies, it’s just everything that I love and wrapped in one thing. I thought that when people hear it, it lets them know that is who she is! I was really excited to release it because my music is so varied, I mean it really is and the first single we released this year was this big pop/rock ballad then the next was more straight up power pop/country so we decided the next song needed to combine all of those elements into one so that’s why we put out “Love Me That Way”.
Then given the current pandemic and the effect on the music industry, talking about staying focused during these times and how difficult things really are for artists right now: You’ve gotta have faith! So many people are so negative about the whole thing but we’ll get back out there. You have to keep moving forward and have gotta think to yourself “Who do I want to be when I leave this quarantine?” Do I want to be a less hardworking version of myself? No! I want to come out swinging like I used this time for something really positive. I’ve been exercising a lot during quarantine and eating healthy, I want to come out better than I was before and you having faith that everything is going to get back to normal eventually is what is the driving force behind that! I’ve been really frustrated a lot with some things during this quarantine and moving forward musically and what not as everyone has but I think that people don’t and I don’t blame them for it because they are not in it but I don’t think everyone appreciates how devasting this has been to people. The best way I could describe it that I hope people listen to and think about is: I’m thirty, I started performing when I was thirteen so that’s seventeen years. Imagine you worked at a big computer company or whatever for the last seventeen years and you wake up tomorrow where it’s all gone! You don’t know if you’ll ever go back to work or any other skills because this is what you have put your life into learning and honing so you don’t know where to turn to or if you can go back to that, so I hope people realise that. For some people music is a hobby but for professionals, this is our industry and career! Seventeen years of doing this and now you feel like the entire thing has just crumbled. Imagine having no building or office to go to the next morning, what would you do?
On the positive side, we do have new music on the way and an extensive European run next year on the cards so what is it particularly about heading over to play in Europe that is so enticing for her to invest the time and effort on heading over here: There’s this different appreciation for music when you come to Europe. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with playing in the States, I’ve been doing it professionally since I was thirteen years old playing every major nightclub in Manhattan and I love it. I think as a musician the thing that makes Europe so attractive is that it costs a lot less money to really spread your wings overseas. Here, the amount of money that it takes to make a single a hit, it takes a million dollars behind each single you hear on the radio and that’s just not possible for people not on the major labels. In Europe, I have never spent a dollar on marketing and our crowds have tripled every single year because of word of mouth. It just doesn’t happen like that here, from the business perspective it’s all about the dollar! That’s been really incredible as a musician to see that your hard work, effort and your talent you see a return on that without worrying about the dollar because that is not what music should be about. Music should be about connecting with people and putting on your best possible show with your best possible music not about how much money you have to put behind each of those songs. Finally, Jessica on how she has found playing in England and what she thinks of the growing country scene in our country: It’s incredible, as a musician that’s worked really hard my whole life on my show and my craft it feels so good to be appreciated in that way. I’m not saying that people don’t do that here but you have different potential without the almighty dollar behind you over there. I have to say that I have been blown away by British country music! I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you but I have said that to so many people here in the States. Honestly when you do a festival, it’s a different appreciation for live music, I have played so many festivals here that the first half of the day are just people that the promoters can get to go on for free, are not that experienced or that they can throw on in the noon timeslot before the headliner at 10. It’s not like that over there! When we played Buckle & Boots for example of Ramblin’ Man (Fair) the talent was unbelievable! We sat backstage and were like where do you see talent like this? A full bill where people could deserve to be headliners and I would have to say that England is one of the only places that I see that happen and we travel all around the world.
The new single from Jessica Lynn “Love Me That Way” is out now and available HERE on all digital platforms. She is due to return to the UK in May 2021 with her 14-date headline tour The Lone Rider with full dates listed below, whilst in the meantime you can keep up to date with Jessica on her WEBSITEYOUTUBETWITTERINSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK. The Lone Rider UK Tour Dates 2021 May 4: Cambridge Junction, Cambridge May 5: The Waterfront, Norwich May 6: St Pancras Old Church, London May 7: Bodega, Nottingham May 8: Patti Pavilion, Swansea May 9: The Cluny 2, Newcastle May 11: Drummonds, Aberdeen May 12: The Glad Café, Glasgow May 13: The Waterloo, Blackpool May 14: The Blue Note, Derby May 15: Gullivers, Manchester May 16: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham May 18: The 1865, Southampton May 19: The Dancing Dog, Sittingbourne
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks