"...the lyrics and guitar riffs of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young played in a perpetual loop through the Land Rover’s speakers on early morning drives to school"
Wynnm is a Folk Singer and Song Writer from Tuscon, Arizona, currently living in Amsterdam. I met Wynnm on a recent trip to Amsterdam through a friend, although a brief hello this girl had a warm, down to earth presence and I wanted to know more about her journey. What better way to know more about a person then through their voice? I was introduced to her first song Under filmed on a rooftop in Amsterdam, whilst the sunset as she sang. Her music is defiantly one to bring chills, from the dreamy sounds to the lightness of her voice and guitar. The Moon Song paints a picture of her story brought to life, the feelings of warmth and home are felt. As I have learnt over the years, singing offers a raw and realness of the person who sings, and Wynnm’s music resembles this beautifully. It is a soulful glimpse of her story, something that is needed to be shared and experienced.
What is the story behind you becoming a Singer/Songwriter? What led you to Singing and to Music?
In the waning, hot months of my 13th summer, entering the 7th grade, I got in trouble with my father for lying about my whereabouts, or breaking sundown curfew, or hanging out with the wrong people. I don’t remember specifically. My punishment for breaking his trust was that I was to be locked in my room with an old junior guitar he had bought years before with high musical hopes for his daughters, and was not to exit the room before I knew how to play something - anything. Since I was young, the lyrics and guitar riffs of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young played in a perpetual loop through the Land Rover’s speakers on early morning drives to school.
My father himself is a very talented harmonica singer. So on that fateful day, when I cursed the commanding nature of parenting and frustratingly fumbled with throbbing fingers through a rendition of “Eli the Barrowboy” by The Decemberists, a punishment was turned into a passion. A passion that drove me to stand on stages and write and interpret. I remain with a dream to play music because it was what drove me to a life full of risks, and from this, I feel a complete, whole, and strong sense of self when I write and perform.
"I remain with a dream to play music because it was what drove me to a life full of risks, and from this I feel a complete, whole, and strong sense of self when I write and perform."
Is there a moment, place or time when you just had a thought or a feeling where you felt incredibly happy and knew you were on the right path?
I was born in the heat of Tucson, Arizona, but grew up in the great pine trees of Idaho. One of the grandest moments of clarity I’ve ever experienced is the feeling of writing songs in the desert, looking out over sands and spikey trees. For a while I thought that my music and being was rooted in the being a child of the mountains, but the happiness that washes over me when I serenade a Southwestern sunset is indescribable. It gives me an immense comfort to continue creating, traveling and playing.
Were you afraid of turning your dream into a reality? If so, what helped you overcome the fear/s?
Isn’t everyone! What is there to face if not fear? I believe I’m overcoming uncertainty every day, haha, even in choosing what I’m going to eat for lunch! Music is very personal, so to turn one’s dream into a reality is to become absolutely vulnerability with people you may never know. However, I had an interesting moment with this notion during a concert one evening in Amsterdam at a lovely venue called Paradiso where I was sitting gazing over the balcony at all of the faces turned attentively towards the stage, wondering how I could ever know the intricacies and beauty of each individual life in that vast, stain-glass windowed room. Then it became so clear, the only way I’m ever going to experience people in the volume I desire is if I become a musician, and share my experiences. The audience is inherently resonant with vulnerability because they accept the interaction. It’s a commonality; it’s mutual support. So the fear is not rooted in turning a dream into a reality - it’s rooted in discovering the multitude of realities. The audiences, the musicians, the solitudes, the struggles and the triumphs.
What do you love most about following what lights you up?
The vibrant characters I’ve met throughout the years are the reason I write and perform. I firmly believe humans drive humans, and to have a vessel like music to document and celebrate the people, feelings, and experiences of this life is irreplaceable. I also love that I get to interpret and facilitate a solidifying of places at specifics times in my music. So even when I leave a place, it never fades as an experience for me.
Did you have any mentors or teachers along your journey? Are there any key lessons you learnt from them?
My very first vocal instructor is this incredible opera singer in Minnesota, his name is Mr. Benoit. Some words he’d say to me as a budding singer-songwriter were, “something else is in there.” Whether he was referring to my voice, my drive, my potential, my character or what, those words really present me with a challenge and a goal in music - find what that something is! And maybe I never will, but the search will ultimately present me with something.
"The sheer existence of love, loss and all that we have the potential to find ignites"
How important do you believe it is to find a community or tribe with similar interests?
The music scene in Amsterdam is one of the most loving and supportive communities of musicians I have encountered thus far in my music career. There is this unbelievable and unconditional stream of positivity, and as one of the first times I have solidly resided in a place focusing on music, I am humbled every day by people’s love and humility. I find it immensely important to act as and find people to be vessels.
Is there any advice you would offer someone who feels uninspired or wants to create their own path?
Remember that everyone gets a little lost sometimes, but there’s actually so much to be said about feeling lost. Lost can be described as a negative thing, yes, but it is also the state of being “not found,” which has so much potential in the way that it communicates that something is waiting, brewing and asking you to go for it. But even I know that it’s not always that black and white, so just stare at the sky a while, maybe. Or something/someone you really love. The sheer existence of love, loss and all that we have the potential to find ignites.
Are there any particular ways in which you believe you have grown from pursing music?
I put a lot of myself into music, which means that originally I put a lot of myself into people that gave me the experiences I write about. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, to love and to lose. But honestly I believe you can’t give mere bits of yourself to people because bits will cloud the reality of the self even more. I have experienced the opposite as well, and have been quite self-suppressive at times, but this medium gives me so much relief with self-expression, kind of like I don’t have to explain myself beyond my songs, and therefore the music I create becomes the authentic, concrete representation of myself. One day that will translate to a deeper understanding of myself, and a grander security with interactions, I believe.
For some beautiful music by Wynnm head to https://soundcloud.com/wynnmmusic.
You can also follow her journey and latest gigs on her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WynnmMusic/