Someone who worked in construction, originally from the Appalachian Mountains. It’s like the start of what you know will be one of the better auditions on ‘American Idol’ because those two things aren’t what you often hear when you think of the next hit singer, and it those stories we live for. Which is why I couldn’t wait to dive in with Terah Lynn.
Emotive and full of tenacity, Terah Lynn started her career rocking out but now calms the nerves of listeners near and far with her heartfelt take on country music. We talked about her start, the mountains’ impact on her, and more in this back and forth.
Kendra: Were you ever interested in pursuing a career in a genre outside of country, or has your voice always marinated best in the heart of country music?
Terah Lynn: I started as a blues-rock singer. It was interesting for me and my label to try to decide on where to go with my music. My taste in music is so eclectic and being new to the industry it’s been a bit of a journey to find where I want to go, but being from the Appalachian Mountains I should have figured country was inevitable!
Kendra: Being a former construction worker, you know what it means to put in hard work. Do you feel your past has helped shape how you approach the hard work that goes into making a career out of music?
Terah Lynn: You know the music industry is a whole different beast. Construction and manual labor has always made sense to me. It’s simple. You stay strong, you work hard and at the end of the day, you see the results from your labor. Even if the house or project you’re working on isn’t finished, you at least see progress. But in the music industry, there is a whole lot of “hurry up and wait” You can put your whole heart into something but then you’re at the mercy of the industry. Of the people with the labels, the people with the money, the people that control the playlists. It’s hard to stay encouraged, to not beat yourself up, but at the end of the day, all you can do is your part. Without connections or big pockets, you just kind of have to wait it out and keep the faith.
Kendra: How do you feel your Appalachian roots have influenced your artistry?
Terah Lynn: I think it has influenced me by providing me with depth. Honestly, life is hard where I’m from and the people are amazingly strong. You see the ups and downs and depths of life living in small towns. People fighting to survive, fighting to hope, fighting to dream when the opportunities aren’t as readily available as they are in big cities. Without that upbringing, without the influence of the strength of the Appalachian people, I honestly don’t think I would have survived.
Kendra: As I mentioned, country music has a lot of heart and that’s true as can be when it comes to “Enough.” This is one of those songs you hear after having a bad day and cry because it’s like an audible comfort blanket. Throughout the last year, we’ve all needed just that – comfort. On top of music, what’s given you that sense of comfort and stability since the chaos got underway last March?
Terah Lynn: Ah, thank you! That means more to me than you know! I’m so glad that you got that out of it.
For me, my strength has always and will always come from God. Without his faithfulness, I wouldn’t have made it through this or any other chaos.
Kendra: Now we have your latest release, “Listen No More,” which comes from the other side of the spectrum than “Enough.” This is what you say when you just can’t give enough to someone anymore. With songs that cover a lot of emotional ground, do you often write from personal, present experience or do you pull from past interactions with the world?
Terah Lynn: Honestly, I want your take on all my music from now on, I love what you’re getting out of it! It’s always personal for me. Music is how I process my own complicated emotions, experiences, and feelings. Sometimes it’s easier for me to sing about things than it is to speak about them. It’s therapy for me and I don’t think I could sing something that isn’t true to me personally.
Kendra: As of right now, you have a good deal of great singles out. Are there plans to continue the single route, or will you be working on an EP or even an LP this year?
Terah Lynn: Well, the last song of my debut EP is being finalized now. We started it 18 months ago, so it’s been a heck of a journey. One of those “anything that can go wrong will go wrong” situations and again, you’re just at the mercy of the industry. But that song should be out soon. Right now I’m working on some new songs for my next album and deciding on the sound I want to continue in.
Kendra: It’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Terah Lynn: I want to have a new collection of songs to record and put out. Still being fairly new, I just want my work out there. I want people to be able to go to my catalog when they discover me and have enough songs to listen to that there is something for everyone. I want my heart out there in song, for better or worse. The more I write, the more I have been able to process, and putting songs out that people can relate to is the ultimate comfort and catharsis for me.