A California girl with a Nashville heart, Sandra Lynn is one of country music’s sweetest rising voices. After releasing a pair of upbeat singles — “Afterparty” and “Bar Hoppin’” — in 2015, Lynn returns with the playful, flirty “Hey California,” which she co-wrote with producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark). “I feel like this song is such a strong identity piece for me,” she says. “It represents some of my earliest influences, like the Beach Boys and Sheryl Crow, and captures my love for country music and my roots as a California girl.”
One of the first records Lynn remembers dancing around to as a child was the Beach Boys’ “Endless Summer.” No wonder her contemporary country sound radiates with a subtle West Coast vibe. Lynn grew up in a rural part of Chino, in “a neighborhood full of horses, horseback trails, and ranch-style homes,” she says. “There was a dairy farm down the street from our house, next to my elementary school and church, and no shortage of cows everywhere.” Lynn began singing at the age of seven, right before her family moved to Brea, CA, in Orange County. She spent hours watching the country music TV networks, gravitating toward such artists as Trisha Yearwood and Dixie Chicks, as well as Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Of the latter two, she says, “Aside from the fact that I loved their music and dynamic voices, they came across as wholesome, yet sexy and glamorous at the same time. They seemed like the girl next door you wanted to be best friends with; the kind of artist I aspired to be someday.”
While attending Pepperdine University, Lynn was gifted a copy of Patsy Cline’s Ultimate Collection by her aunt, which sparked her interest in other classic country artists like The Judds and Alan Jackson. Inspired by their timeless storytelling, she began looking for people she could write and record demos with after graduating. “I had always written, whether it was journaling in a poetic way
or coming up with my own lyrics,” she says, “but after college I put my focus on setting lyrics to melodies.”
Since then, Lynn has focused on building her career as an independent artist, traveling between Los Angeles and Nashville (where she now spends half her time) to work with some of Nashville’s hottest songwriters and hit-makers, including Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus (who produced her 2014 self-titled debut EP), Ross Copperman (who co-wrote and produced “Afterparty,” which was picked up by SiriusXM’s The Highway, and “Bar-Hoppin’,” which has racked up over 600K plays on Spotify), Jeremy Spillman (who co-wrote her debut track “You Belong” with Lori McKenna), Hall of Famers Gary Burr and Tom Schuyler, Tia Sillers, Victoria Banks, Paul Brandt, Mike Mobley, Travis Meadows, as well as rising young songwriters Bobby Hamrick and Jake Scott. She has also made a name for herself on the live circuit, opening for Josh Thompson, Kenny Chesney, Cole Swindell, Kenny Rogers, and Jana Kramer, performing during CMA Fest and on the KNE New Music Stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, and playing at local Nashville venues, including 3rd and Lindsley and The Listening Room.
After wrapping her last tour in the summer of 2015, Lynn decided to take some time to take her songwriting to a deeper place than she felt she had gone previously. “I wanted to access those vulnerable parts of me that maybe I was scared to tap into before, as well as continue to write and sing about subject matter that was meaningful to me in the hopes that it would resonate with the audience I want to connect with,” she says. “I really want to speak to women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who want to let loose at times and shake what their mama gave ’em, but who have also lived a bit of life. They aren’t out on their first date or having their first kiss. There’s depth to their story and in their experiences. I know these women are out there because I’m around them every day, in all walks of life.”
The result of her deep dive is Lynn’s upcoming debut album — a testament to how she’s grown as a songwriter, allowing herself to reveal deeply felt emotions and experiences and putting it all into the music. “Flying” was inspired by a close friend of Lynn’s who tragically passed away in a flying accident at the age of 22. “To me, it begged the question: ‘Do you live life to the fullest, knowing there are major risks and failures at the other end of taking leaps of faith?’” she says. “‘Diamond On My Hand’ touches on those moments in time that we all, as human beings, experience where you wonder if you’re loved for the person you once were to someone or who you are to them now,” Lynn explains.
To help Lynn realize her vision for the album, she turned to Grammy Award winner Ben Fowler, who has engineered records for such artists as Sara Evans and Love & Theft, and who produced nine songs on Lynn’s debut. “I feel like there's a new part of me that has been awakened as an artist and a person, and Ben really knew how to cast the right players to find the exact sound we wanted to create with each song,” she says. “He captured a vulnerability in my voice, honing in on the raw and vocally defining moments and capitalizing on them. He truly has a keen ear for finding those takes that carry the emotion just enough
without getting lost in it, but also conveying the story of the song. You feel like you're standing right in front of the listener and singing in their ear.”
That intimacy serves Lynn well, as she has set out to write relatable songs that convey hope. “Music for me has always been a sweet escape, whether it’s crying my way through a sad song or putting on one that makes me want to get up and
dance,” she says. “I always come out feeling better on the other end of it. That’s the goal I strive to hit when creating my music: that listeners will come away feeling less alone. As human beings, we just want to connect. We want to find those moments where we feel like someone else understands us, and that on some cosmic level, we can cry together, dance together, hug each other, and
laugh with one another. Music is about helping someone feel less alone in their joy, their pain, their highs, and their lows.”