Rising Music Star Jessica Lynn On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry
An Interview With Edward Sylvan
It’s okay to not know it all. This industry is incredibly difficult to navigate and so often I felt very insufficient and unprepared. It is okay to feel that way! In a creative career, we are always navigating uncharted territory and we will always get through it!
As a part of our series about rising music stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jessica Lynn.
Jessica Lynn is a musical force that is quickly becoming a household name. Her signature voice and sound sets her apart from other musicians on the music scene. “American Songwriter” stated, “Love has its ups and downs, and Jessica Lynn has the soundtrack for your emotional ride.” In addition to her success as an award-winning international performer, Jessica is a dedicated activist who illuminates humanitarian causes as an advocate for our military, the arts, animals and as a mentor for young women, children, and performing artists worldwide. However, the stage is where she feels most at home, and this summer and fall, she is set to tour across America. For tickets and tour dates, visit here.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me! I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Westchester, which is about an hour north of Manhattan. It is definitely unusual, considering my background that I was always so connected to country music. I come from an Italian American family, and my Dad is retired from the NYPD. He really introduced me to the genre. Throughout my whole childhood, he always had George Strait, Glen Campbell, and Phil Vassar on in the house and I fell deeply in love with the stories country music could tell. Being a New Yorker, however, country music was not very popular, so I was always listening to it at home but then writing and performing rock and roll with my teen band all over New York City. I always knew a career in music was what I wanted to go after, so I started my first band at 13 years old and was out gigging and hustling, chasing this dream. My childhood was filled with music, and a lot of support from my family, who is now my band actually! My Mom is my background singer, my dad is my bass guitarist, and my husband is my lead guitarist. We also like to call my rescue dog Audrey the stage manager!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always say that I didn’t choose music, but that must chose me. My parents have videos of me singing and playing anything I could get my hands on as early as 2 or 3 years old. There was a specific moment, however, where I so vividly remember saying “this is it.” When I was in the second grade I was cast as Dorothy in my elementary school’s play of The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the show, I got to close with a solo of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I intensely recall standing there, with an explosion of applause lasting for several minutes after I sang, knowing it was something special. I knew right there that this was what I would do the rest of my life.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Ah this is a very tough one! I have traveled so many wonderful places and met so many amazing people through music. There is one story that really changed my life, however. After a very long travel day on tour in Europe, hours on a plane as well as in a car, we arrived at our show and were beyond exhausted. The day was really frustrating. We had logistical issues, it was uncomfortably hot, and everything just felt like it was going wrong. All of my worries and frustrations left me as soon as I got on stage that night. It was a fantastic and really fun show for a spectacular crowd. Music has always had a way of doing that for me. It is the best therapy. After the show, I went back to my hotel room and opened up my Instagram messages. In my inbox was a message from a man that brought tears to my eyes. The message said that he was having the worst several months of his life and felt no will to live anymore. He attended the festival and seeing the joy I had on stage while performing my music showed him that there are such wonderful things in life to fight for. He was going to keep going because of me. I will remember it for the rest of my life.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh boy. I could write a book on this. I am and have always been an independent artist. When my career took off, I had to learn as I went in a real grassroots style. The opportunities were there but I didn’t have the knowledge or the finances to help me navigate them. I was managing tours, doing logistics, trying to master my social media, being my own agent, etc. with literally 0 experience. I made so many mistakes. Not issuing contracts, hiring people that could not do what they said they would do, booking horrifying hotels…you name it…I’ve been through it. And, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It made me who I am and it made me strong, and also incredibly grateful for all of the good moments and success. I would say that the funniest mistake would be, using an old beat up van and trailer wrapped with a different band’s image for my first tour! LOL! It was all we could afford and it was extremely confusing when we would pull up to venues. I’m giggling just thinking about it! The lesson I learned from that one was to just laugh and make the best of it!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My brand new single is out July 8th with the music video following on July 22nd. It is called “The Morning Always Comes” and it is definitely one of my favorite songs I have ever written. It is off of my upcoming album called “Lone Rider” which will be released on September 9th, which I am also very excited about. In support of all this new music we are hitting the road on tour this summer and fall all the way from New York to South Dakota and back.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I firmly believe that anyone should be able to do what they love to do and chase their dreams. Bringing different cultures and types of people together helps us to broaden our horizons, learn from each other, and be inspired in ways that we have not considered or been exposed to before. It is extremely difficult to break in to the entertainment industry and the world can be very cruel. I think the more loving and accepting we all are of each other, that it will become a much better place.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Social media is the best and more affordable PR you could ever give yourself. I spent a lot of money on “promotion” in the beginning of my career, with companies that were affordable to me at a starting level. They just could not deliver what I was looking for. I wish that I had realized a little earlier that the best way to reach people and your fans is social media, and, it’s free, which is so important for independent artists. Invest your time in getting good at growing your pages on your own.
- A lot of people are going to tell you to be more like someone else, but always stay true to yourself. Throughout my entire career, people in the industry told me I needed to look more like or sound more like other artists. There are billions of other people in the world, but only one you, and that’s what makes you special and unique. So many of my greatest accomplishments and successes have been because I stood out in the crowd. Be confident in who you are.
- It’s okay to not know it all. This industry is incredibly difficult to navigate and so often I felt very insufficient and unprepared. It is okay to feel that way! In a creative career, we are always navigating uncharted territory and we will always get through it!
- Take more breaks. There always feels like there is so much to do. I have burned myself out so many times working around the clock and leaving little to no room for what is really important, which is being creative, mental health, and the music itself. You will always complete what you need to do. Take time for yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself through all of this journey.
- Don’t listen to the naysayers. Not everyone is going to like what you do, and that’s okay. Use the negativity as fuel for your fire. There are few better feelings in life than proving people wrong through hard work!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The way I ensure I get some time for myself each day is through exercise. Exercise is so important not just for your body, but for your mind. It is my time to clear my head and shake off any bad vibes the day has brought. I also think it’s really important to take a step outside yourself and when life seems very overwhelming, make a physical or mental list of all of the positivity and accomplishments that you have experienced, rather than just the difficult stuff that can so consume our heads.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Thank you so much! I would love for everyone on social media to comment one nice or uplifting thing to a stranger online every day. People can be so hurtful on the internet and I really feel it’s extremely detrimental to not just our society as a whole, but the well-being of so many innocent people. Please practice kindness! We can all make a difference with even just a small effort.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The people you surround yourself with are everything. My family has been so incredibly supportive from the time I was a little girl and I really feel I owe my success to them and all they have helped me through. My husband is someone that really helped me believe in myself when we first met and I also have the most amazing fans and friends that are the driving force behind all I do. To choose just one person that has helped me get where I am would be impossible. Financially, emotionally, and in so many ways, I have had this powerful circle around me of people that love me and encourage me that have always been there when I needed a hand up. I will never, ever forget it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Never be offended by someone you would not seek advice from.” I saw that online a few years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. When you are in the public eye, everyone judges you and everyone has something to say about what you do. As long as you are happy and passionate about what you are doing, never let anyone discourage you from chasing your dreams. You have to be confident in yourself and what you do and always be a bright light, no matter how dark things can get.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I would absolutely LOVE to have lunch with Neil Diamond. A fellow New Yorker, he was a huge influence on my songwriting growing up. There was not a day that went by that I did not have his music playing. It would be a dream come true to meet him.
How can our readers follow you online?
My website is www.JessicaLynnMusic.org and you can follow me on social media here:
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you so much!