Jessi Lynn enjoys playing local venues, but thinks big

JACOB ENNIS/CLARION

Jacob Ennis, Clarion Arts & Cultures Editor

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Living out of her Toyota Corolla, singer-songwriter, Jessi Lynn made a winter trip to Wisconsin to play some house concerts and a few local venues.

A house concert is just what it sounds like. It’s a concert, but one that takes place in your living room or in your backyard. It’s not like going to a venue where the artist is just up there on stage. It’s more like a bunch of friends sitting around having a conversation where one of them can play guitar and sing really well.

“It’s like you get the VIP room right there,” Lynn said.

House concerts are also a much better way to grow a fan base than playing at bars and clubs.

“Playing at a bar, you walk away with two or three people that like what you do enough to look you up online and maybe buy a CD,” Lynn said.

At a house concert, the audience has found the music somewhere and likes it enough to have the artist play at their home. Then they invite 15 or 20 of their friends that are going to like it just as much.

“I come and I play and I walk out with 15 or 20 fans and potentially new friends. Instead of just a hit and run at a bar,” Lynn said.

For Lynn, it’s more about connecting with the fans than the connection to the music.

“The connection of people is so good and it brings us all together as human beings,” Lynn said. Though her songs reflect stories in
her life, there isn’t a song that’s about one story in particular. She likes to take bits and pieces of her life that have the same emotion, partially so as not to single out one person or one event. She wants her listeners to “find their own stories in it.”

Even with the stress of being an artist on the road, there is nothing she would rather be doing, and has a way to make sure she can’t do anything else.

She said she knew that this is what she was supposed to do, so she made sure she didn’t have a back-up plan. She didn’t want an easy way out. Since this is such hard business, she might have quit a long time ago if she did have a back-up plan.

“Even when I’m not struggling financially as I much as I have in the past, it’s still really hard. I’m living out of suitcases,” Lynn said. Just finding things is a challenge when you’re life is packed into a Toyota Corolla for months at a time.

“Just the stress of being on the road, and never having a place where you go home to. It’s really hard. It’s way harder than I expected to be,” Lynn said.

No matter how much stuff she has to take with her, she is content with the Corolla. She said she would never consider a bigger vehicle.

“I will absolutely die before I get a minivan,” Lynn said.

Though all of her music is original, she never wanted to write songs as a child. She wanted to be a big-time country music star.

“I think I wanted to be Reba McEntire more than I wanted to be a singer,” Lynn said.

As a 12-year-old girl, she thought that to be a singer you had to write your own songs and learn how to play guitar. She had no interest in doing either of those things, but is grateful that she thought she had to. “Now, songwriting is really where my heart is, whereas when I started, I just wanted to be a big singer and have big shows,” Lynn said.

Even if she makes the big-time, she said that she will always come back to the ones who supported her throughout the years like Grant McGovern, the owner of McGovern’s in Sun Prairie.

“Grant is so good to me, that’s why I come back here to play every chance I get,” she said.

With the life motto of “dream bigger,” she really loves to encourage people to not give up.

“We have the power to be so much and we tend to get stuck on our fears and just stop,” Lynn said.

Lynn has streaming music on her website, www.jessilynn.com. There is also an “All Access Pass” which allows fans to make a monthly pledge of what- ever they are willing and able to. It helps make more of a connection instead of the annual dues that are associated with most fan clubs. Once the first pledge is made fans have unlimited access to countless songs, videos and photos. You can also download every album she has for free.

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