To say that Tayla Lynn is carrying on her musical family tradition is an understatement. Lynn is the granddaughter of country music icon, Loretta Lynn. Lynn has been making noise and kicking up “Coal Dust” since the release of her debut solo EP. The EP contains the title track, “Coal Dust” as well as the highly praised track, “Honky Tonk Girl,” which features the guest vocals of Lynn’s iconic grandmother. Lynn took some time to talk with FDRMX about her career, future plans, and deep love of country music.
There is no denying that Lynn grew up surround by country music. Great country music and the music of her grandmother echoed throughout her childhood. I was curious to know; with her deep musical roots when she knew that she wanted to be a performer herself. Lynn explains, “I have always known in my heart that’s what I wanted to do. Memaw (Loretta Lynn) has been very gracious to me my whole entire life by letting me go out on the road with her. I have been doing that since I was two years old. Being out on the road with her, I obviously did other stuff too like recitals, voice lessons, and performing in school plays but, there is never anything else I have ever wanted to do. There has never been a “plan B,” it was always music, being a mama, being a wife, and sing.”
Every artist develops their own unique style of song writing, singing, and performing. Being on stage and performing can be vastly different from sitting down to write a song. Lynn reveals, “Being in the zone, and sitting down to write a song with a guitar is hell for me. I know that must sound terrible. In Nashville we have writing appointments, and I will draw a blank during those writing appointments all the time. I am more of a free spirit. If I have an idea I’ll just pick up my recorder and sing the melody I have come up with, or just some of the words. Then I’ll send it to one of my writers and we will go back and forth on it from there.” A perfect example of how well that creative path works is when you listen to the tune, “Muddy River” by Tayla Lynn and the Hims.
As an artist and performer, you tour some great places and stand on some historic stages. From Fenway Park to Madison Square Gardens you have the ability to stand where many great legends have stood and share your musical gift. One of the more special aspects of music is when you have the ability to share it anywhere. When asked, Lynn touched on where one of her most memorable places to bring her music was. “Hands down, it was when we went to go sing for the troops in Iraq. I was with Stealing Angels at the time, which consisted of Caroline Cutbirth, Jennifer Wayne, and myself. It has been about three years since we went there, but hands down singing for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. We went over there for a little over two weeks. I would love to get the opportunity to go back and do that again.”
One thing about life, you constantly learn. Lessons and knowledge are always available, and around every single corner. Musically, an artist’s path is a long and winding one. I asked Lynn if there was something she thought of, that if she could go back in time to tell herself at the start of her career, she would. “I remember about ten years ago, Memaw said “Country music is about family. It’s based on family. Always remember that Tayla.” Now I have a mouth on me that gets me in trouble, a lot. I wish, if I could go back I probably wouldn’t have watched my mouth, but I would have told myself to remember it’s all about family instead of always having to try and bring the shock value to the room. I have always said, if there was one thing I could do over, it would be to be funny, be shocking, but keep it PG 13.”
Country music is a passionate industry. Artists, producers, managers all care deeply about the music they create and share. Being part of such a passionate industry, I asked Lynn to express what she loved the most about being a country music artist. “Being able to be out in front of an audience! As a songwriter, you get to tell your pain through your music. When people relate to that, it’s healing. Singing in front of people, it’s a lot like therapy. You get to tell on yourself, tell your story, and walk through things with people. When you get to sing your songs to a room full of people and have them come up to you and say “I thought I was the only person that, that happened to or had gone through that,” you don’t feel alone. It only takes that one person, and if you can move that one person than you have done your job right.” With the good, naturally comes the not so good. However that isn’t the case for Lynn’s musical career. When I asked her what she didn’t like about being an artist Lynn was quick to answer, “Nothing! I used to dislike the competitive feeling about country music. Always having to worry about sounding better, performing better than the next artist coming along. I let go of that feeling and that leaves me with nothing I don’t love about being an artist.”
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms to connect and share with your fans. Every artist knows that. Some shy away from social media and use it solely to connect on a way one track. Lynn is very active on social media herself. I asked Lynn if sharing was something she had to get into the habit of doing, “No!” laughs Lynn. “I love to share. All my friends and family sometimes say to me “I am hiding you in my news feed because you drive me crazy.” I love, love, love social media. How would anyone know anything these days without social media? I love it. My husband however is a very private person, so sometimes when I share things he’ll cringe, but he lets me do it anyways.”
Artists can spend an entire lifetime, and career on stage in front of people and still have issues with nerves and intimidation. Carrie Underwood even admits to a shaky left leg when she gets nervous on stage. For Lynn, she is most nervous in front of those she knows. “When I am performing in front of people I know, big or small then intimidation sets in. If I am performing in front of a whole bunch of people I don’t know, then I am probably not going to be nervous. If I do a show in town and it’s for 200 people and I know 150 of them, I will probably do a “bad show” because I’ll be so nervous.” For Lynn, that intimidation is a little higher when she takes the stage with her grandmother. “When I perform with Memaw, she is on stage a lot of the times when she brings me out during the show. That is a little more intimidating because I know she is sitting there staring at me. Then you have the audience watching her to see what her reaction is to what I am doing. So I am never just thinking about the song.”
The simplest way to release music these days is a digital release. You throw a song on iTunes and watch it climb the charts and get multiple hits. Impressively, vinyl is making a strong comeback thanks to great artists who love the warm sound of a fresh piece of spinning vinyl. For Lynn, nothing seemed more natural than pressing Coal Dust on vinyl for its release. “Nothing sounds like vinyl. I thought since we were doing that ‘throw back’ thing and I love all of Memaw’s music, pressing it on vinyl just seemed like the natural thing to do. I would love to do that with all of my records.” In addition to the title track, Coal Dust also included a very special song. “Honky Tonk Girl” with the guest vocals of Lynn’s grandmother. Lynn was emotionally sincere when expressing what that track means to her, “Being able to do that duet with Memaw, I’ve listened to her music my whole life. I am such a huge fan of hers. At the time I lived in Washington State where my husband is from and that’s where she started her career. So singing that song, living in Washington State, and having her put her vocals on it was really a great moment.”
Every artist knows it takes a great talent to balance business and family. When you are a member of the music industry, you don’t always work the conventional “9 to 5.” For Lynn, a strong woman who wears many hats and titles, we know where her heart lies. “My family comes first. I make music work around them. My husband is very supportive and that makes a big difference. I’m not perfect. It took a while. When I became a wife, and then became a mother, I had to adjust music to fit accordingly.”
Nothing short of exciting, Lynn is a very busy lady. With future plans for her career, Lynn touched on some of her upcoming projects, “My good buddy Mark Narmore and I are currently writing a one woman tribute show to Loretta Lynn. I am going to tell the story of her songs from my perspective as her granddaughter and then perform her songs. It’s exciting, we planning on taking it on the road as soon as we can.” In addition to the new show Lynn plans on keeping busy with as many shows as she can squeeze in over the summer season of 2015. “I am all about performing live. I am going to be on the road with Memaw as well. I have a live record planned and I am really looking forward to that. During the summer I will stick around the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch and perform campfire shows for the people that come up to visit.”
FDRMX sends a huge thank you to Tayla Lynn for taking the time to talk with them. You can keep up with Tayla Lynn online. Connect with Lynn on Facebook and Twitter. Check out all of her tunes and tour dates on her website.