Championed by media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic, throughout her already impressive career, Jessica Lynn has shared stages with the likes of Lonestar, Keith Urban and Richard Marx, and music fans around the world love her honest, relatable, and at times considerably powerful songs and impressive live performances.
She's just released her new album 'Lone Rider', which is soaring up the charts and, on top of working on more new music, she's currently making plans to reschedule the tour dates that had to be scrapped due to the pandemic. XS Noize caught up with her to discuss her musical journey, the inspiration behind her new LP and how she defines success.
For anyone unfamiliar with you and your music, who is Jessica Lynn?
Hello! I am a country crossover singer-songwriter and musician based out of New York. My music is heavily laced with rock, blues, pop, and soul, and I play the guitar, piano, the drums. I am also a totally independent artist. I'm a dreamer, believer, hard worker, and someone full of positive energy trying to be a bright light in the world.
At what age did you first discover your musical talent? Was there a song you sang or an instrument you first picked up that made you think: 'I could make something of this?
I have been performing for as long as I can remember. My parents have videos of me as early as three years old, singing and playing anything I could get my hands on. There was, however, a moment that I knew I would pursue this for the rest of my life, and that was when I was cast as Dorothy in my school play of The Wizard of Oz at eight years old. I finished the play by singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and I remember it like it was yesterday - that the applause went on forever, and I looked out and said to myself: "This is special." I will never forget that moment as I believed it determined the course of the rest of my life.
Which artists did you grow up listening to that influenced and inspired your career path? Have those influences changed much over the years?
I have such a wide range of influences which certainly contribute to how my music is so extremely crossover. Growing up, I was totally enamoured with Richard Marx, No Doubt, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Shania Twain, Journey, ACDC, Phil Vassar, Bowling for Soup, Simple Plan, and Neil Diamond, to name a few! There is not a style of music that I don't enjoy and try to learn from. My influences have not really changed. I am much more inspired by older music than today's music as I feel it has much more originality.
Has country music always been 'your' genre, or is it something you gradually moved into?
I am a rock n' roller at heart through and through. Growing up, my Dad always loved country music, so it was constantly on in the house, and every car ride was George Strait, Glen Campbell, or Phil Vassar. However, I really connected with the energy of rock and had my own teenage rock n' roll band that I formed at 13 years old. We played all over Manhattan in clubs we weren't even allowed into, and my entire childhood was living in that world. We didn't even have a country music radio station when I was a kid in New York. Both styles were very much a part of me in different ways, but my foundation is truly rock n' roll.
Tell me about your new album 'Lone Rider.' Who or what most inspired its creation?
'Lone Rider' was a pandemic project! We were supposed to record a 6-song EP to take with us on our world tour in 2020, which was 15 countries and 100 cities. When I lost everything, it became clear that I needed to make good use of the time at home and continue to push forward as difficult as things seemed. I am very proud to say that I was named a Top 40 Livestreamer of The Year in 2020 and a Top 25 Livestreamer of The Year in 2021 by Pollstar, and wrote and recorded the 'Lone Rider' record during this time. So, I would plainly put that the determination to succeed and survive was what inspired the record, and I hope that pure emotion comes through when people listen to it. It's stories of my life put to music and lyric, and a lot of hard work, effort, and love went into the creation.
Which song on the album are you most proud of and why?
This is hard to answer because I love them all in different ways. If I had to choose one, it would be "The Morning Always Comes", which was the lead single off the record. That song, to me, embodies all the music I love and am inspired by. I would label it as "country arena rock."
The album is climbing up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic - did you ever imagine fans would react to it as strongly as they have? What do you think it is about the album that's resonating so strongly with them?
I am honestly completely and totally shocked by the success of this record. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into it, but I really did not imagine that, as an independent artist, I would surpass the major label releases of that day on the charts. I am so totally humbled and grateful. I imagine they are connecting with the record because it is genuine. I am not trying to be or sound like anyone else, and the stories have hopefully resonated with them regarding their own life experiences. It really does mean the world.
Do you care much about chart positions, or is it just the overall reaction and response to your music that you pay more attention to?
As an artist, it is certainly the reaction and connection that means the most to me. As an entrepreneur, to see what I am able to accomplish purely off of hard work and drive in terms of succeeding on the business and numbers front is completely exciting. It depends on what hat I am wearing!
Are there any plans in the works to tour in support of the album? Which venue would you most like to play?
Yes! We are in the process of rescheduling the world tour from 2020 and will be hitting the road in many different countries this upcoming summer and fall. I am so excited! As a New Yorker, I would say my ultimate bucket list venue would be Madison Square Garden. I was lucky enough to sing the national anthem there twice for major sporting events. However, a concert would be a dream come true.
You have a considerable following on social media - do you ever feel any pressure because of that, and do you think society as a whole is perhaps too reliant on SM, both personally and professionally?
I feel pressure every single day to keep up with my social media. There is so much beauty in the world of the internet but also so much sadness, which is difficult to navigate. You see the best sides of people online, as well as the worst. I do feel that we as a society are too reliant, and I feel our mental health suffers greatly from it. I think we can all benefit from putting the phones and devices away and heading outside for fresh air and sunshine.
With the album out now, how do you plan to see out the rest of the year?
I have a very busy rest of the year. We are full-force promoting the record as well as getting ready for fall and winter USA tour dates and preparing for next year already, which is going to be incredibly hectic, in a good way! I am already working on new music and working with the US Government on their program called American Music Abroad, where I have been teaching academies to students around the globe, showing them how to create their own successful artistic careers as independent artists. It's extremely rewarding and very full circle for me.
Finally, you've achieved quite a lot since you first appeared on the scene - what's left for you to tick off your bucket list? How do you define success, and when do you think you'll be able to say to yourself (if you can't already), "I've fulfilled all my dreams and ambitions"?
Sometimes it's important for me to take a step back, away from the daily grind, and realize how hard I have worked and where it's led me. Reading this question was one of those moments for me, so thank you so much for that. I am a very driven person, and I always feel that there is more I can be doing. I feel that success is truly just being better than you were the day before. As long as I am always growing and becoming a better songwriter, performer, artist, and person, that's all I can ask for in life.
There are so many twists and turns on this journey, and I feel that when you make such hard "I've made it" goals for yourself, you may be missing something just as wonderful, sitting right in front of you, just down a different road. I'm happy to keep dreaming, taking one day at a time, and loving every second of what I have been blessed enough to call a career.
Listen to 'Lone Rider' - BELOW: