“Be yourself, trust the timing of things, and it doesn’t matter how many ‘No’s’ you get. You only need one ‘Yes.’”
That was Sandra Lynn’s answer when CMT.com asked for the best advice she’s ever received in her career. It’s key wisdom her idols Faith Hill, Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, Deana Carter and Jo Dee Messina all follow. Like the greats before her, Lynn puts an insurmountable amount of care behind every musical decision she makes. Every original worth hearing focuses their intentions on staying true to themselves and never compromising their sound despite what’s trending.
Lynn is easily one of the most consistent powerhouse vocalists to emerge from the last decade. For the CMT world premiere of “Lose the War,” she pours on the drama as she sings about a relationship that’s worth every fight. The song is an original by Emily Shackelton, Phil Barton and Cameron Jaymes, and it is the first release in a digital dialogue that chronicles a relationship between one couple over three chapters of music. The first chapter was detailed in 2018’s Fight EP, and the rest of the story will unfold in a series of releases planned through summer.
“This series of songs will reflect that in-between phase of a relationship,” she says. “The music in chapter three will ultimately tell us whether this couple will end up together, or call it quits for good.”
Lynn knew she had to record “Lose the War” immediately when she heard it for the first time. “Not only did I find it to be a strong, vulnerable [and] relatable song in general,” she says, “but I also felt like it was the perfect reflection song for the storyline of this couple and where their relationship is at this point in the music … The line that hit me the hardest in the song was, ‘What does it matter who wins the battle / If it means we lose the war.’”
Lynn is not unlike other Nashville-California, bi-coastal creatives in that everyone wants to work with her. The hit-makers she’s collaborated with include Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus (who produced Lynn’s self-titled debut EP), Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark’s Twelve Stories), Ross Copperman (Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession”) and Jeremy Spillman (Eric Church’s “Sinners Like Me”). Her latest material is in good hands with Grammy winner, Ben Fowler (Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sara Evans), who is known for arena-ready production that vividly expresses a song’s every emotional element.
Get to know more of Lynn in her own words below:
I got the chance to write with Deana Carter a few years back, which was a huge career highlight for me. Her song, “Strawberry Wine” was the reason I wanted to sing country music. I remember the first time I heard that song come on the radio as a child, and exactly where I was -- at a stoplight in Chino, Calif. sitting in the car with my mom. The best songs are so powerful that they actually can define moments in people’s lives. That’s what I love about country music, and the fact that an artist like Deana Carter, who I’ve looked up to for so many years, who was so lovely and open to writing with me, just left me completely amazed and grateful that I get to do what I do each day. It also really showed me how supportive members of the country music community are of one another.
For me, music has always been an escape -- whether it was crying my way through a sad song or dancing my way through a song I’ve cranked up to volume ten. It’s that “trusty friend” in life that makes you feel a little less alone in whatever you’re feeling. If there’s even an inkling of that feeling I can help bring to someone else through my own music, then it’s just made everything completely worthwhile.
The first venue I ever played in Nashville was Belcourt Taps. It was a newer place in Nashville when I first went there, and I just love how intimate the space is. It’s a great place to try out new songs and so easy to talk to people in the space. One of the first songwriters I ever wrote with in Nashville I met that night. I love watching other artists play there, as well, and have cool memories of seeing Maren Morris and Maddie & Tae play there before they had their break. I also shot the cover for my second single I ever released, “Bar Hoppin’,” in that venue. Not to mention, it’s got one of the best burgers in Nashville, in my opinion.
I’ve been performing from a young age and have always loved music. I started dancing when I was three, acting when I was five and singing when I was seven. It’s been in my blood my whole life to perform and create. I always wrote poetically/lyrically throughout school, but it wasn’t until after college that I started writing songs with different folks for the first time. That’s when I knew I wanted to put all of my energy behind creating music for a living, and feel very grateful and blessed I get to follow this childhood dream of mine.