Based in Newburyport, MA, Lynne Taylor has been an important musical voice in New England for nearly 30 years. She is a 2017 finalist in both the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and the Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Competition, The daughter of a folk musician and a poet, Lynne grew up in Kent, Ohio during the sixties and seventies and absorbed the social consciousness of that time. Her music pushes conventions and boundaries in the realm of social and personal awareness with poignant, brutally honest songwriting combined with powerful vocals and unique piano accompaniment. Lynne has performed solo and in groups across the country in prestigious venues. Her CD, “Shades of Blue” charted in the top 25 on both FAI folk DJ and Roots Music Report charts in November and December 2019 and the title track was the #1 Alternative folk single for the week of January 4, 2020. She has shared the stage with countless top notch artists from Odetta to Peter Mulvey. What is your earliest memory of music? And, how did you get started in music?
My parents were both folk singers in the 60's...that is how they met and what drew them together. So my earliest memories are of them playing guitar and singing in harmony, the songs of that era, the protest songs, the civil rights songs, songs by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Ian and Sylvia, I've been singing as far back as I can remember, and I started accompanying myself on piano at age 8. The first song I was able to play and sing together was, "Born Free..." I LOVED that movie. I wanted to move to Africa.
What was the first song you ever wrote? What or who inspired you to start writing music?
Well, like I said, my earliest inspiration musically was my family, but my mother in particular was my biggest inspiration (and cheerleader) for my writing. As the 60's turned into the 70's, my dad became a biologist, and then a bio-medical engineer, while my mother became even more involved in civil rights and poetry. She held (and still holds) the unwavering belief that good art is the sword that cuts to the truth of any matter, and that it can be a powerful vehicle for social change and personal awakening. At 14 I wrote my first song, "The Waitress." It was about a girl trapped in a dead end job but refusing to give up on her dreams. Do you play any instruments? If yes tell us about it. If not, do you work with a band or studio musicians? Do you produce your tracks or work with a producer? My main instrument is piano, but I've been known to play a bit of bass as well. Over the course of my music career, I have played in bands of many genres (New Wave Synth Pop, Punk, Alternative Rock, Progressive Heavy Metal, Bluegrass, Alt-Country Rock, Americana) but almost always as the principal songwriter and singer. And through it all, I have maintained a vibrant solo singer-songwriter career. As far as recording goes, I greatly prefer working with the many talented musician friends I have had the pleasure to acquire over the years, and I produce the material myself, with their help and guidance. What is your favorite part about being an artist (performing, recording, writing, playing)? Well, I have always felt that writing, singing and playing music was what I was meant to do. Each aspect of being a musician in today's world is so different. When I'm writing, I feel a connection to the Sacred; it's like a prayer answered. The songs tend to "come" to me...I often go for months without writing anything...I've learned not to question it. Recording is actually my least favorite aspect of being a musician...I find it somewhat tedious, but necessary. I'm grateful to have been surrounded by talented people for whom recording is a passion. Playing live is what feeds me on a week to week basis. Connecting with even one person in the room who takes the time to tell me how this song or that helped them feel less alone, or gave them courage, or inspired them or whatever. That is WHY I continue to do it. Do you have any advice for young women pursuing music?
f you want to pursue music, remember To Thine Own Self Be True. That goes for ANY art. Music walks a fine line between entertainment and art, so it is helpful to know from the get go what YOUR reason for playing music is. There is nothing wrong with being an entertainer. And there's nothing wrong with being an artist. And if you can find a perfect way to blend the two, well, that's where the magic is. I do think the music BUSINESS is a game. There is a lot of pressure on female artists to be thin, pretty and young. My advice is to play the game as best you can, but to NEVER lose sight of the fact that it is in fact, a game. Develop a thick skin, and remind yourself that what others think of you is none of your business.
For readers who have never heard your music, can you suggest one or two songs to start with?
Off my current album, I would suggest "Not Dead Yet" and "Shades of Blue" to start!