Schooled From Day One

Lessons from a local singer/songwriter/empowerment speaker 

Kayla Lynn is here to deliver a message.

Kayla Lynn’s mother runs a music school in West Virginia, and the family lives on site, so from her earliest days, the local musician was fully immersed in an unusual world. The experience was so complete it never occurred to her that musical multitasking was a challenging endeavor. She learned to sing and play bass at the same time. Today, Kayla Lynn lives and continues her musical studies in Western North Carolina. And with the return of opportunities for live music, she’s often found on stage with her band, The Change, or with other all-star aggregations. 

What was it like growing up in a music school?

It had its pros and cons. My mom is a musician, so the “pro” was that from a very young age, I was playing music, and I was constantly in an environment where there was somebody to learn from. I was always growing musically, and it was really fun. But the “con” was that there was no privacy, because I lived in a business. There was just music 24/7, constantly, all night and all day. 

Was there ever any doubt that you would be a musician? 

Absolutely not. In high school, my mom started homeschooling me so that I could tour full time and just work on music. I’ve known for a really long time that this is what I wanted to do and how I wanted to spend my life.

Has bass guitar always been your primary instrument?

Fifteen years ago, I started an all-girl band with Ar’yan Graham, my drummer. When we started, we were playing pop songs, and we all switched instruments: bass, drums, guitar, piano. I eventually fell in love with bass; every single time anybody else wanted to play bass, I would start complaining: “Nope! This is my instrument!” I started playing it full time in about high school, and then I was like, “This is the only thing I want to play.”

Did you find it a challenge to be able to develop your vocal skills and play bass at the same time?

Ever since I picked up an instrument, my mom was making me sing at the same time. So now, if I can play it, and I can sing it, I can play it and sing it. People ask me, “How do you do that?” And I don’t know. It just feels natural. 

You have songs on Spotify and an album coming out later this year. What message do you aim to communicate with your music?

We started the One Voice tours in 2014. We traveled to elementary, middle, and high schools all over the East Coast, spreading a message of positivity and kindness. Every artist that we have on the tour has a different story, so they sing and then tell their personal stories of overcoming adversity. For me, I’ve talked about mental health a lot, because I had struggles when I was in school. I learned really early on that music has an impact, and it connects people in a different way. And I like to use it for bigger things than performing.

Kayla Lynn & The Change play 185 King St. in Brevard on Friday, Aug. 20, 8pm. $7. For more information, call 828-877-1850 or see 185kingstreet.com. 

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