An Interview With TRUE DETECTIVE Singer-Songwriter, LERA LYNN on the Show, Performing With Sheryl Crow And Much More!
Posted On 09 Oct 2015
Last year the singer-songwriter, Lera Lynn got a huge break when she began working on the music for the second season of the critically acclaimed HBO drama series, “True Detective”. She worked with the songwriter and music producer T Bone Burnett and they collaborated with singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash at Burnett’s home in Los Angeles.
“Working on the soundtrack for True Detective with T Bone allowed me the freedom to really explore my dark side. And collaborating with Rosanne Cash was a dream come true.”
Once the tracks were approved, series creator Nic Pizzolatto decided to cast Lynn as a recurring character who performs the songs in a bar frequented by the main characters.
In the following All Access interview with Lynne, she discusses working on True Detective, other music she is working on now and much more!
Growing up, did you always want to be a performer? If you weren’t one today, what else could you see yourself doing?
My mother used to sing cover songs in both country and rock bands. I can clearly remember her practicing for shows through her microphone and PA that stood at least a foot taller than I and lived in our quaint living room. It was just a normal part of daily life to see someone singing and playing music. That said, in some ways I feel like performing chose me. I lived my first 10 years or so thinking I’d be an astronaut (I know) until I found out you have to have perfect vision to go to space. Music was like my 10-year-old fall back plan. I did go to college and earn a degree in Anthropology, so I’d likely be doing something in that area if not for music.
So, how did you get to be a part of True Detective? Were you a fan of season 1?
My manager, Sheri Sands, introduced T Bone and I. They met while working on the Raising Sand record by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Sheri thought T Bone might appreciate my stuff so she’d been sending him records of mine, etc. And I guess she was right, cause he was considering using the title track from an EP I released last year, called “Lying in the Sun,” in True Detective. When we met for lunch in Nashville, he asked if I’d like to try writing for the show, to which I obviously obliged. I LOVED season 1 and was thrilled to work with anyone involved in that project. Fast forward to his studio in LA, sitting with Nic Pizzolatto, after writing and recording several songs for the show. After getting Nic’s praise for the music we’d done, T Bone suggested me as the girl who would actually play the songs on camera.
What was it like working with T Bone Burnett and Roseanne Cash on a song for the True Detective soundtrack?
We did 3 total songs as that trio. Rosanne’s lyrics are stunning and piercing and profound. T Bone is a fountain of ideas. There’s no room for anything but great between those two. It was a dream!
What was it like working on darker music for the show? Had you not really explored that side of your music before True Detective?
I have dabbled in the darker side of music for a while, but never before has it been encouraged the way it was here, with T Bone. I think he invited me into the gig because he saw some of that. It was really fun going there all the way.
Along with creating music for the show, you were also cast as a recurring character who performs at the dive bar. What was that experience like for you? Had you done any acting before the show? Would you like to do more in the future?
Before True Detective I had never even been on a film set so the learning curve was sharp. It was thrilling to see how the whole thing goes down; so many people moving so quickly and quietly. And the actors of course! They were so inspiring to watch work. Day one, I showed up on the set dressed as a junkie, looking very confused and lost. I’m sure there were people wondering what the hell I was doing in there before they knew I was part of the scene. It was really fun and I feel lucky to have been involved. Of course, I’d love to do it again…!
The element of surprise was always in full force throughout the whole project, all the way up to the last episode. I’ll miss that, I think!
How was it performing with Sheryl Crow at Mountain Winery this summer?
It was just lovely. Lovely places, lovely venues and Sheryl couldn’t be a sweeter person. She’s been such a hero of mine since I was just learning to play music so it was surreal to share her stage. During our last set opening for her, I saw her sitting out in the audience with a big smile on her face. She’s been so supportive and generous. I haven’t played for too many 5K person audiences so that was thrilling too!
What musicians have consistently inspired you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’m really into Timber Timbre. I’d love to work with them! Every record they’ve released is a beautifully twisted and spooky journey.
Yes, I’m in the studio as we speak, actually, in Nashville, working on my next LP with The Avenues producer, Joshua Grange. We’re busting ass to get the thing done in a matter of weeks before heavy touring starts again so, hopefully we can release it early 2016.
How have your summer shows been going? What can fans expect from one of your performances?
The summer shows have been so fun. I’ve been touring with my band which allows me a bit more freedom on stage to let go and do some breakdancing. That’s not really true, at least not to the breakdancing degree. But the shows are even more dynamic spanning with the band. They’re all great guys, fun to travel with, sweet people and hard-working. We play some songs from all of my records and new stuff too. We try our best to make all the shows a cosmic emotional journey.