Country Singer-Songwriter JESSICA LYNN Discusses Her Newest Music, Favorite Artists, Touring With ZZ Top and More!
Posted On 18 Aug 2017
With already two nationally broadcast television specials and three US national tours under her belt, Jessica Lynn is a sizzling new artist set to launch her second release, a three-track EP entitled Look at Me That Way, on September 1st. The EP was produced by the internationally acclaimed Patrick Hamilton at The Globe Studios in Belgium and has already released in the UK and Europe on May 30th in anticipation of her summer-long European tour. The tour spans Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, and includes an arena date opening for rock icons, ZZ Top.
Born and raised in New York, Jessica Lynn has been singing since the age of 4. Raised in a musical family as the daughter of a New Age composer father, Lynn started writing songs and forming her own bands at 13. It wasn’t until she turned 21 that she decided to pursue a solo career as a country music artist. At the suggestion of her father, she filmed a full-length television special of her live show, titled “This Much Fun: Live From the Winery at Saint George,” that PBS picked up and aired to millions of viewers in 2014. With this huge jump-start to her then nascent music career, Lynn landed her first national tour in that same year, where she shared stages with the likes of Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, Montgomery Gentry, Chase Rice and many other big artists. In 2015, Lynn rocked her way into a second nationally aired PBS special (“Takin’ Over: Live at The Paramount”) and another national tour of country music festivals, this time alongside Keith Urban, Thompson Square, Frankie Ballard, Clint Black, Jo Dee Messina and more. In 2016, Lynn and her band expanded touring to both the US and Canada, which included opening for the Queen of Country Music herself, Loretta Lynn. In that same year, Jessica Lynn rolled out her eponymous debut EP, which included critically acclaimed single, “Not Your Woman.” She released her first music video for the single, which grabbed the #1 spot for four weeks in a row on “The Iceman’s Top 40 New Country Chart.”
Aside from her gorgeous looks and natural stage presence, Lynn really has made her mark through her live performances. Nashville Gab calls her live show “epically entertaining,” while Taste of Country calls her concerts “more than enjoyable—addictive even,” saying that ““it’s easy to see why she’s opened for the likes of Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum and more.” Ramblin Man Fair claims Jessica Lynn as the “New Queen of Country Rock” and “a natural successor to Shania Twain.” CBS National News proclaims Lynn “a rocket force!”
2017 is bound to be another thrilling tier in Jessica Lynn’s fast-rising career with her upcoming new EP and Lynn’s summer European tour, followed by her fourth US tour later this fall. The 27-year-old will hit the road with her seven band members (including her bassist father, Peter Calamera, her backup vocalist mother, Victoria Calamera, and her guitarist husband, Steven Sterlacci) for 19 shows across five countries.
Connect With Jessica Lynn Here:
Learn more about Jessica Lynn in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Thank you so much for having me. 2017 has been one of the most exciting years of my life with all of the travel I’ve been doing and fun shows we’ve been playing! I guess you could say that I approached this year differently musically than last year because I went all the way to Belgium to record my new EP! Recording the new material overseas definitely influenced my style being that we were mixing together my brand of country music with European Pop, but I am always constantly trying to push myself and keep my sound and music interesting and fresh.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Right now, I am driving through the North of Germany, not far from Berlin, on my way to the shows for this weekend! There is actually German music on the radio and I’m not quite sure who the artist is. I like to listen to the local radio because it is inspiring to hear the sounds from where we are traveling to, and I actually discovered one of my new favorite artists this way when I last came overseas to record. His name is Mika and I’ve become a massive fan ever since!
When I am working, I actually don’t like to listen to anything. I am so interested by music that I find it so distracting when I am trying to work! Other than when I am working, I am constantly listening to music. The Beach Boys instantly get me out of a bad mood. They have been such a big influence on me musically growing up, and their harmonies are just so soothing and beautiful and their music really does sound like sunshine.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I have never wanted to be anything other than a songwriter, singer, and musician. I fell in love with music when I was only a few years old and have been chasing my dreams ever since. My parents have videos of me as early as five years old already trying to write my own songs, playing my toy piano, and “performing” in my bedroom. I would say my earliest musical memory is practicing my singing to Linda Eder (a well-known Broadway vocalist), who has always been one of my favorites, locked away in my parents bedroom. I would use their bed every day as the “stage” in my childhood and would put on countless shows that my poor parents would have to watch!
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I actually have a Masters Degree in Special Education and a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Adolescent Education. I would be a teacher if I wasn’t a musician today. I always loved working with kids!
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown in New York has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
This is such a great question because it is so incredibly true that your background and hometown affects you in all senses! Until recently, country music was never very popular in New York, and growing up in New York, what I listened to on the radio and with my friends at school, etc. was very different from what other country artists, who usually come from the South or Midwest were listening to I’m sure. I listened to a lot of rock n’ roll, pop, and hip hop growing up because of where I lived, in addition to the country music that I fell in love with. When I was a young kid, I didn’t dare tell my friends I was home listening to Glen Campbell when they had on the newest P Diddy album. As I grew older, I embraced it, and found that country music was my true passion when it came to writing and singing. I have definitely created my own sound of country music, a mix of pop, rock, soul, blues, and country, and this is completely due to my background as a New York girl, and I’m proud of that.
On September 1st, you will be releasing your EP, “Look at Me That Way.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the process?
I am so excited for the EP to be released here in states, especially because the first single off it, “Crazy Idea,” has begun to pick up speed on country radio in the USA as I’m here in Europe. It was so much fun putting this EP together because traveling to Belgium to record it, and working with such an incredible team and acclaimed producer in an amazing studio was a completely new experience for me. I’ve always recorded my material in the states so traveling across the world was definitely something I wasn’t used to. The thing that surprised me the most was how well I worked with this team. Being that we spoke different languages and have totally different musical backgrounds, our styles and work-ethics were totally in line and by mixing our sets of skills and styles all together, we came up with a sound that I feel is really fresh and unique.
You’ve shared stages with so many incredible artists. Can you pick a favorite experience with another artist so far?
I have been really blessed to get to share stages with so many incredible artists, and although each of the experiences have been so memorable, the day I opened for Phil Vassar was one I’ll never forget. Phil Vassar was one of my earliest country influences and the minute I heard his voice and music when my Dad brought home his first CD, I was completely inspired. I listened to him every chance I could get and he’s really who made me fall in love with the country music genre. I toured with Jo Dee Messina 2 years ago who is friends with Phil and she did me a big favor ( thanks Jo Dee 🙂 ) and called him to let him know I would be opening for him in Connecticut and that it would be great if he could get me up on stage for a duet! Well..he did! He called me up as a huge surprise to me to duet on one of his and Jo Dee’s biggest hits, “I’m Alright.” I was in utter shock and had the biggest smile on my face. It was a dream come true to share the stage with one of my idols. When I watch the video back, which is on YouTube if you’d like to see it, I still don’t believe it happened!
How do you think that being a musician has helped you live your best life? Can you talk about the joy that it brings you today?
Being a musician has helped me live my best life because as they say, when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Music is my true passion and love in life and being on stage singing for people or writing music just fills my heart with so much happiness. I get very emotional when I think about my journey and how hard I have worked and practiced to have the opportunity to travel the world playing my own music. What a complete and utter joy. Being that my family is also in my band, my husband Steve is my lead guitarist, my mom Victoria is my background singer, and my dad Peter is my bassist, it is also the best feeling in the world that I get to share this adventure with the people I love the most.
What are your plans for the rest of the summer? What has it been like opening for ZZ Top this summer in Europe? Do you have a favorite show so far? Where all do you have left to go?
When we return home after this two month tour of Europe and the UK, we will begin our touring in the USA in support of the release of the EP! No time for rest. 🙂 I will also begin writing music again when my schedule becomes a little less hectic. Opening for ZZ Top has also been a dream come true. I am a really big fan and we actually do “Tush” in all of my live shows. That was definitely a “pinch me” moment… being in France and opening for one of the most iconic rock groups of all time. My favorite show on the trip so far, which is very difficult to pick because I have truly loved them ALL, was The Ramblin’ Man Fair in England that we just played, which is a huge Rock and Country Festival. That crowd was just such an absolute blast to play for and I enjoyed every second of the show. We have 3 shows in Germany left and 1 in France as well before we head home to the USA. 3 of the 4 are large festivals too so I’m really looking forward to them.
What is it like touring with so much of your family? How did they get to be in your band?
It is really special getting to experience this all with my family because it is such an incredible experience touring the world and it would never be the same, to try to come home and explain to them the feelings I’ve felt, the people I’ve met, and the amazing things I’ve seen. They joined my band because ever since I was 18, I made a living being a wedding singer and they were all in that band. When I transitioned to my career in country music, they all came with me.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
My biggest musical influences of all time are :
Phil Vassar, Shania Twain, Richard Marx, The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, No Doubt, and The Tempations.
I always had an extremely eclectic taste in music and if you listen to my writing and singing, you can definitely see bits and pieces of each of these influences in there! For example, some of my more laid-back, R&B style songs like “Be With You” off my last EP has Temptations style harmonies, my harmony-heavy music in general is due to my love for The Beach Boys, my storytelling has a lot to do with my love for the great singer-songwriters like Neil and Barry, and the way I run around on stage is probably because I watched so much Gwen Stefani as a kid, etc.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I hope that my message is of positivity and happiness. I really believe that music should mean something to you and that it should touch your heart and soul in a way that nothing else can. I hope that my stories and words can mean something special to many people, because they are honest accounts of my own life. My music is about believing in yourself, conquering your fears, falling in love and moving on from bad experiences, and enjoying life, which is something that is so important.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
I would tell them to always follow their heart and their gut. Navigating the music business can be a very scary and depressing journey, but if you believe in yourself and always do the RIGHT thing by other people and do what you feel is right for you, you will be successful. There are so many nay-sayers and bad energies that will try to bring you down and make you feel less about yourself and your abilities, but you must always keep your head high and push on, with the negativity being the fuel in your fire. If you are passionate about what you do and stay determined to chase your dreams, you can accomplish whatever you want in life.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I would like people to know how much it means to an independent artist like myself, to have the support of friends, family, fans, and awesome people like you guys at All Access Music that had me for this insightful interview. I have worked so hard over truly, the course of my entire life to be where I am today and I am having the the time of my life. Thank you so much for having me.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF HyPR Media