Lynsey is a singer, songwriter and worship leader based in London. Originally from the North of England, Lynsey has a big heart and a wicked sense of humour! Her debut EP released last year reached number 29 in the iTunes pop charts. In this Q&A Lynsey shares her experiences of song writing, the differences between live performances and studio work; and overcoming obstacles in the music industry.
If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?
Honest, Real & Melodic.
What is your earliest musical memory?
My mum teaching me a song on the piano and then showing my dad with delight at how good I was when he came home from work! I must have only been 3 years old. I also used to have a rocking horse that my Dad would sit me on and put on music and there I’d rock back and forth on it singing away for hours!
What was the last song you listened to?
A song called ‘Chocolate’ by a band called The 1975. It has an awesome guitar rif intro and a really great vocal.
How do you like to approach song writing?
It depends! Sometimes if I am asked to write for someone for an occasion or a particular theme, I have to start with lyrics. Then I will sit at the piano and work out a rif or a few chord sequences. If I am co-writing with someone else, one of us will usually have a musical idea or chord structure to start with then we work together in building the song. Then we work out what we want the song to be about and write lyrics afterwards.
On occasion, I’ve had a rif or melody line pop into my head at random times and had to sing it into my iPhone – these moments you have to record, no matter where you are at the time! Sometimes they come to nothing but usually they are gems that make their way onto an album.
How important is collaboration to you?
Very. I love working with people and I love to get feedback whether it be positive or negative. We always need to remain humble and teachable in everything we do, especially in our creativity.
How does performing live compare to working in a studio? Which environment do you prefer?
They are completely different environments. Let me try to illustrate the difference. Being in the studio is like baking a cake or painting a picture at your leisure, knowing you can erase, start again, throw it away and sometimes take your time at perfecting it. Performing live is like being on Master Chef with one shot to get it right with the chef watching and critiquing you and within a time frame. Or like painting a portrait of a person on the street, with again just one shot to get it right, knowing they want to see true likeness of themselves and get what they paid for! Even though you have put the work in beforehand you are under a certain amount of pressure to do well.
I actually love both environments. I learn a lot when I am in the studio on how to use my voice to get the best sound possible by listening back and doing it over and over until I am happy. After all, the vocal is there forever on a CD! Singing live however is a lot of fun and you can let your personality shine out more when you are present in front of people. So for me, both environments have major advantages. In a live environment you just need to love your songs and be very well rehearsed.
Which of your songs do you love to perform the most?
This is a really difficult one! I love doing the worship songs because I love to see people worshipping! However, my song ‘Crossfire’ seems to be a favourite with everyone, young and old and I love seeing kids dancing to it! Then there’s “I’ll Go” which makes me feel incredibly vulnerable every time I sing it. The lyrics are very personal and it’s just me and the piano so I feel very exposed, but the response is always really positive.
What have been some of the obstacles you have faced with your music? How have you overcome them? Any advice you can pass on?
My age has always been a factor. When I first started singing I was too young and my voice wasn’t developed enough. Now my voice is probably the strongest it’s ever been but I don’t necessarily have age on my side anymore! However, I don’t believe that age can get in the way of talent, hard work and determination. It can close some doors but not all of them.
Location can be difficult as well. That was the reason I moved to London. I grew up in a very small town where I couldn’t even take performing arts at school or in further education and I felt I needed to be stretched more than what I was already doing and involved in at the time. I became a very little fish in a very big pond over night, but it’s what I needed to grow and learn and where opportunities in music were more likely to arise. If you feel it’s the right thing to do, considering and definitely praying over a move is something that I would advise. It can feel like a big deal, but if it’s right, it works out.
Not everyone is going to love what you do or even like you! Especially if you are not willing to conform to the music industry ‘ideals’ or compromise on who you are. Never compromise who you are. You shouldn’t need to. However, you have to really want to be in this field of work, and not see yourself as doing anything else other than music, for it to become a passion and stay that way.
You have to be really focussed even when you feel like giving up. If it’s deep within you and the excitement of doing and making music never dies, you will make it a part of your life and it will work. You don’t have become rich or famous, you just need to do what drives you and what you love, that’s what makes you successful. It’s about not giving up too soon and believing in yourself even when on one else seems to!
What’s next for you?
I’m leading worship at Spring Harvest in April again this year which is always a privilege and a challenge. It’s hard work but really amazing to see people entering into God’s presence by offering the little you have and serving Him. I’m currently writing songs for Spring Harvest and I.m also writing with TV, film and other artists in mind. It’s very diverse but it keeps me on my creative toes! Another recording project for myself as an artist may also be in the pipeline towards the end of the year.
If you have not come across Lynsey’s music before I really cannot recommend her EP enough, especially ‘I’ll Go’, that one will stay with you for a long time.
You can check out Lynsey’s Soundcloud and find out more about her music via her website at www.lynseyberry.com