#CMchat Exclusive Interview: Nick Lynch

Nick Lynch grew up in Watseka, a small town in Illinois, close to the Indiana border.

Country music lyrics are typically based on real life situations.

How do you think growing up in a small Midwestern town has influenced your writing and song choices?

“Growing up in my hometown was honestly pretty awesome. It was totally like a country song! We never locked our doors, you left the keys in your car (unlocked!), and we truly didn’t have a care in the world growing up. Road our bikes everywhere, jumped in every puddle we could find on our block, and you just had to be home before the Sun went down! LOL”

I Call Shotgun.

He has been singing since he was a child – vocal lessons, choirs, and show choirs. By the time he finished college, he was well on his way to a career in music. In 2008, those paths lead to American Idol and a golden ticket. 

 You auditioned multiple times for American Idol. Tell us about the experiences and how they impacted your career.

“I think the easiest way to describe trying out for American Idol would be simply stating that it covers all the senses. It a crash course on what the music business really is like! Early on when I tried out, I hadn’t really done much when it came to getting in front of live crowds, outside of the occasional singing competition or show choir event in Junior High and High School. Then the last time I went there was almost a 10 year time difference, and I had been traveling all over playing shows 3-5 times a week. I’m truly not sure whether you can mentally prepare yourself for the situation. It’s just very cut and dry. You’ve either got that something or you don’t. I had the drive and the skill… But I was (and kind of still am) very set in my likes and dislikes of what I’d like to do as an artist. Some might say that’s ridiculous but don’t take it too far. I am just not the kind of person that wants to be molded like putty into something he isn’t. I’m totally willing to hear people out and compromise, but at the end of the day, I have a certain skill set. I was always taught not to be afraid to be who I am and I’m not! If that means I’ll never reach the heights I’ve dreamt of…Well, I say failing as the person you are is a million times better than failing as someone you’re not. I can live with failing while being me!”

I read that you’ve worked with well-known vocal coach Mark Goff.

How did he help develop your signature vocals? How would you describe your music?

And after your first appearance on Idol, you signed a production deal with an indie label in Orlando. The deal fell through due to a lack of funding; you were released but did not retain the rights to your material.

Looking back almost ten years later, how did the experience shape your career?

“Both of these questions kind of tie into each other so I’ll answer them both together if that’s ok. To make a long story short…Mark is actually from my hometown. I had taken vocal lessons from a woman in town who knew him pretty well back in the day. She had always encouraged me to reach out to him but I didn’t really know him except through stories from around town. After I came home from American Idol I decided I’d try and reach out to him to see if he might have some time to talk. I never honestly really went to Mark for help with my technique. Not that I thought I was perfect but I’d been taking vocal lessons for a long time. After a while, you either learn how to sing correctly or you don’t, then it’s just muscle memory. I, in the end, went to Mark to get help making a demo to eventually, hopefully, get signed to a deal. You see he had been part of a couple different hit TV shows before the days of American Idol. He had also worked closely with the now jailed ‘Mr. Lou Pearlman‘ and he had made Mark the vocal and band leader of his soon to be a musical empire.

Then Mark had been working with N’Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and so many other people that were either super famous or well on their way to being famous. That obviously wasn’t how it shook out for me. I met with Lou a few times but I didn’t really fit into his boy band plans. So Mark was the one that introduced me to the people that worked for the independent label.

In the beginning, the deal sounded way too good to be true, and in the end, it was… Mike Madden was the head of one of the largest music distribution companies in the nation/world and he wanted to make his daughter famous. So while cutting a demo for his daughter I walked into a situation where they had decided to start their own label. This with the idea that Mr. Madden would be in the position to put the artists front and center in every single store they had.

Mark introduced us to some people that we thought were good people, Mark included, but in the end, they really weren’t. I spent practically every dime I had taking lessons from him and eventually moved to Florida to work more with them. A little further down the road my dad and grandfather bought into the label to speed the process up on their recommendations of course! Mr. Madden lost his job, the access to the stores dried up, and of course, the money that we bought into the label with was used to make the artists ahead of my albums and I got left in the dust. My money obviously wasn’t rolling in and as you can kind of assume I no longer was much of a priority for Mark or anyone else in the group.

It’s truly been quite some time since I’ve even thought about it or talked about it. But that situation alone was a hard lesson to learn and really hard pill to swallow. Especially since I thought I could trust someone who grew up in my hometown. It immediately taught me that I had to get thick-skinned quick and get back to trusting my gut. To this day I trust my gut more than anything! If I get a bad feeling 99% of the time my guts right! It still isn’t fun learning those lessons but hopefully, in the end, they pay off.”

Honestly.

After Orlando, Lynch moved back home. He began singing for the Ken Arlen Orchestra in Chicago and at numerous different events.

You’ve sung at a wide variety of venues and shows – at the Kentucky Derby, with the Ken Arlen Orchestra in Chicago, on ABC’s Rocking New Year’s Eve, opening for Chris Cagle, on stage at Toby Keith’s, weddings and political fundraisers.

How different is it to prepare for each?

“Wow, I would say they are all very different. Most of the Arlen Orchestra gigs were Wedding/Corporate events that were black tie situations. They are all very regimented in kind of set in what material you’ll be doing. The thing that doing Ken’s gigs gave me was a stage 2-3 a week for 4 years. It put me in the frame of mind that I needed to be in to understand what it took to make things happen. Good mood-Gotta Sing, Sick-gotta sing, sad-gotta sing etc. I learned more during that period of time singing with Leslie Hunt (who was also on American Idol), Mike Avery (someone I consider to be one of the best vocalists in Chicago), and Cristina Sanchez (who brought the Latin Sexiness to everything we did). I had to immediately bring something to the table and I learned so much from all of them. I’ll be forever grateful for those experiences.

What I learned from the opening slots like Cagle…those can be different. There are guys like Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, or Lonestar that were incredible. Get up there and do your thing and then come hang out with us after the show! For me, I get a rush out of being up there! Live shows are also fun for me because I enjoy reading the crowd. One city can be completely different than the next. One room might just want to party so hard, and then the next night you might have to play a completely different set because they want to line dance most of night. It always keeps me on my toes!”

Lucky Break (acoustic version).

Lynch’s Facebook biography reads,

From getting golden tickets on American Idol in 2008 to rocking New Year’s Eve on ABC in 2013, Nick has been gearing up for his time to shine on the Country Music Scene. He’s a little bit Country, He’s a little bit Rock and Roll, but he is all Party!”

He’s a lot busy on tour with his band and at home, with his wife and baby. 

Tell us about your band – Andrew Denlinger, Justin Bromley, and Mike O’Meara. Are you working on new music?

“All great guys! Drew has kind of been my Richie Sambora of sorts. I lean on him a lot. I, for the most part, am not a huge talker and especially when I’m on stage! He has no fear and loves to talk to the crowd. So we play off of each other really well.

Justin is the newest guy in the band. Even though we practically grew up in the same area we never met each other. I needed to find a new drummer and someone recommended him to me. I knew when he walked into the room that he was the guy. He just had that calm, I’ve got this kind of feel, and I love that about him.

Mike, I’ve known longer than anyone. I had tried many years before to get him to join up with us but he had a pretty steady gig and didn’t want to give it up. Then we started taking off while his gig was fizzling out and I was finally able to get him to join up with us. He’s honestly one of the most amazing guitar players I’ve ever seen. Truly skilled and an all round good dude!

As for new music, I am hoping to get some new tunes out by summers end. With a new baby, and moving to Nashville in October things are a little chaotic!”

 Last month, Lynch and his band played at Chicago Cubs Jon Lester’s NVRQT fundraiser event.

You are performed at Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Jon Lester and his wife Farrah’s fundraiser event for NVRQT to benefit pediatric cancer research at Joe’s On Weed.

How did you get involved with Jon’s charity?

 “We did and I can’t tell you how much we love doing it. I’ll never forget being asked if I was interested! I got an email from a guy I work with occasionally for bookings asking me if I was interested. I, of course, said ‘yes’ and I later got a phone call from the lady in charge of the event. It’s just an awesome event and pretty great to see all the support they are able to get for it.

Jon and Farrah are very nice people and it’s always a plus when you are doing events like that working with people that don’t have a big head over everything. They could, especially after winning the World Series here in Chicago, but they don’t. They’re just good people! They love country music so those are definitely my kind of people.”

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy tour schedule to answer our questions!

What’s the best way for fans to keep in touch?

 “Thanks so much for asking me to do this. If anyone would like to follow the band they can find all our links on the website or just search NickLynchMusic Thanks again and take care

Check out Lynch’s music on iTunes.

Author: Donna Block

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