Nathan Weinbender The Spokesman-Review
June 12, 2015
Stevie Lynne wants her music to have a transformative impact on anyone who listens to it. The Spokane-based singer-songwriter, who performs at the Bing Crosby Theater tonight, writes openly about her feelings, and listening to her lyrics is akin to peering into someone’s diary.
“I want it to touch people and promote an atmosphere of vulnerability,” Lynne said of her music. “People are too afraid to be vulnerable nowadays.”
Raised in southwestern Montana, Lynne, 24, has been writing songs for nearly half her life. When she was a child, she was surrounded by music – her mother worked as a school music director – and she recalls her first original song was completed when she was about 12. She settled in Spokane about two years ago and works as a registered nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Lynne’s debut album, “Liars,” was recorded at the local studio Amplified Wax. Because of her hectic work schedule, the recording process took a little more than a year.
“It was all done at my expense,” Lynne said. “I worked extra hours at the hospital – three 16-hour shifts at a time – then I’d go to the studio the next day and spend 10 hours there. It was a long and exhausting process, but it was worth it.”
She’s constantly writing, too, and she estimates that she has well over 80 new songs in various stages of completion. Lynne’s lyrics are often cutting and obviously personal, and she says she’s most inspired and creative when she lets her emotional guard down and explores her feelings.
“A lot of it is inspiration from my daily life, or something that’s been brooding and I haven’t figured out why I’m feeling a certain way,” Lynne said. “It really just depends on the moment or the day or the hour as to what kind of song gets written. … There’s nothing really methodical about it. I’ll be in a car and all of a sudden some lyrics will come in my head, and I’ll start singing it into my phone and recording it. I have thousands of recordings on this phone.”
The 12 songs that make up “Liars” are soulful, melodic ballads, spare in their arrangements – the only primary instruments you hear are Lynne’s tender vocals, her lilting piano and the occasional bit of percussion. Some of Lynne’s lyrics are wounded. Others are cathartic. They’re all, in their own ways, quiet but inspirational anthems. The album’s title track, for instance, advises, “Don’t become the bitter one / Someday the darkness will meet the sun.”
“All the songs are my personal story, and they emphasize parts of my life I wouldn’t normally expose,” Lynne said. “The album is really a letter to everyone I know. But I wanted it to be that kind of expression for others as well, so when they hear a song, they’re encouraged to keep moving. They see themselves in it, and they identify.”
And while Lynne will be backed by a full band at tonight’s show, it’s the intimacy of her words that give her music its power: It’s not enough for her to move people; she wants them to seriously consider what she’s singing about and to let it change something inside them.
“When the show ends, I don’t want people to just say, ‘Oh, that was a nice show,’ ” she said. “I want them to say, ‘How did that change me, or how did it help me to perceive something differently about my life?’ ”