Lyn Koonce: “Begin Again”

I’d recommend getting in touch with what fills you up and restores you, and do it often. For me, it’s getting into nature, taking time off (even just a few hours or a day here and there) and doing so away from computers and phones. I love travel — it’s both a get away and inspires my […]

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I’d recommend getting in touch with what fills you up and restores you, and do it often. For me, it’s getting into nature, taking time off (even just a few hours or a day here and there) and doing so away from computers and phones. I love travel — it’s both a get away and inspires my work. And when I can’t get away (or I’ve had a stretch of travel on the road), sometimes I make it a “staycation” and just chill at home.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lyn Koonce.

“Lyn is a must-see, can’t-forget musician with limitless potential.”

Singer/songwriter and instrumentalist Lyn Koonce mixes the sounds of alt-country and pop, with a hint of blues, to make music you’ll remember. With her guitar or piano as a backdrop, her voice is both powerful and comforting — and her award-winning songs follow suit.

For Lyn, a song is a conversation, and she writes lyrics that bring down your guard and lift up your spirits. Her own truth shines through every line she sings, and everyone can see themselves in her light.

Her first three albums capture snapshots from the decades of life, music, and stories that have led her here — to a fourth album that’s equal parts old soul and a new beginning. In Begin Again, she’s authentically and unapologetically herself, and her evolving sound proves it. She leans into change and everything that comes with it. And she keeps a thumb on her own proverbial mixing board, continuously adjusting her levels on the sounds of love, pain, and renewal.

When she’s not performing, Lyn is making her community a better place and ensuring everyone — no matter what — gets to experience the magic of music. But the stage is Lyn’s happy place, and it doesn’t matter if she’s singing for 10 people or a thousand. Whether she’s on a backyard stage for a good cause or sharing the spotlight with the Indigo Girls, you get the same Lyn every time — open-hearted, adventurous, and real. She sings her stories with a sense of wonder that leaves you inspired to take on your own new beginning.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in the eastern part of NC until age 11, when my family moved to Rhode Island. I took lessons in piano, violin and later, voice. After high school, I moved to Costa Rica for a year with an exchange program and then back to NC to attend college.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My major in college was Music Education with a principle in voice. Studying voice meant I learned classical vocal technique and literature singing arias in various languages. However, I spent more time practicing songs by artists like James Taylor, Tracy Chapman, and Shawn Colvin. I always wanted to be a singer/songwriter, but didn’t really know how to begin. I was good at teaching and knew I could make it a career, so I pursued teaching music in public schools and privately.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

For me, over many years of playing and singing, I’ve learned a lot about the power of what storytelling through music can do for people. It truly can lift spirits and bring people together who don’t know one another.

The most exciting story since I began my music career was realizing a dream of mine in March of this year — opening for the Indigo Girls. It was a real peak for me to do this, to be on stage with them and perform before an audience of over 2,000. Literally days after, our world shut down with the full onset of COVID-19. I felt like I went from the highest of highs to a real valley.

Also, I’d have to say that releasing and launching an album in this virtual world with no live gigs to play has to top the list. I’ve played more shows looking into a computer screen that you can imagine, but I feel like I’ve figured it out — good sound, picture and communication. However, I really miss the connection I have with my audience.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

How about showing up to a gig without my guitar? That’s funny now, but it wasn’t then. When I unloaded my car and saw it wasn’t there, I thought someone had taken it! But alas, no, I had forgotten to load her up. Now, I always check my equipment (or car) twice before I leave!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m releasing my new record, “Begin Again,” which for me is a bit like a debut album. Although it’s not my first, it’s the album I made after making the decision to turn my part-time music career into my full-time pursuit. The songs represent me, my stories and showcase some of the best players in Nashville.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

The entertainment industry is a powerful medium and kids are watching. If for no other reason, it’s important because the industry has a platform to educate and inform…. both kids and adults. I feel the best entertainment in film and TV should truly reflect our population and be an example of what our culture should strive for: openness, inclusion and a general atmosphere of growth and of becoming. Film and TV help open the door to what is possible and give the viewer hope in what their own culture can reflect.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Believe in yourself and the talents you know you have. I knew from the time I was young that I was musically talented but was too scared and lacked the sense of self to “go for it.”
  2. Know your worth — know yourself, believe in yourself, stand up for yourself. Never waver in that.
  3. Be vulnerable — I think this is something you grow into, but having the courage to be vulnerable in life and in your songwriting is what connects you most to your others… and your audience.
  4. You are not alone — there is always someone out there with the same questions or fears. Seek them out so you have allies.
  5. Do for others — when you realize you’re successful at something, help out someone else who follows a few steps behind you.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I’d recommend getting in touch with what fills you up and restores you, and do it often. For me, it’s getting into nature, taking time off (even just a few hours or a day here and there) and doing so away from computers and phones. I love travel — it’s both a get away and inspires my work. And when I can’t get away (or I’ve had a stretch of travel on the road), sometimes I make it a “staycation” and just chill at home.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d inspire a new economic structure/foundation for our education system so our teachers are paid the way doctors, engineers, and consultants are paid.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

2 folks come to mind: My chorus teacher in middle school who saw my enthusiasm for singing, playing, and for music in general. I was 13 and awkward. However, he found opportunities for me to perform outside of school along with others who were much older and taught me so much. Secondly, my partner who inspires me daily through her kindness, caring and belief in me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” (Marianne Williamso) This has been relevant to me so many times especially in the last couple of years as I focus on doing the very thing I feel I’m called to do — sing, write, play, and perform. Whenever I find myself playing small, thinking I’m not good enough, I remember this quote.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Chapin Carpenter. Because I’d love to have an intimate conversation with her about her life and her life’s work, and stories through her songs.

How can our readers follow you online?





This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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