There are many of us out there that create music for the sake of creating music. No huge success or fame is needed. It is enough to allow the music to just enter the world to hopefully make it a better place for others. This seems to be the purpose behind the newest Christmas song by Lynne Taylor Donovan.
We caught up with the amazing singer to get a little background into her story and her new track “Dear Santa”. Enjoy the interview:
First off, What continues to drive you to create music?
Playing it and creating it is all I’ve ever known. It is a major part of who I am.
There’s been times in my life where I’ve had to take time away from recording and/or performing and I truly experience a sense of loss. My music defines me in so many ways and simply is what gives me joy. It’s not about money, or ego or anything superficial . . . it’s a true expression of all the emotions and thoughts I hold within myself.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m not even sure what “my sound” really is as I don’t consciously create one and actually strive to make each song unique so that it stands alone.
I guess in some ways my sound is just me. I always have trouble with that question and usually I just answer by saying . . have a listen cause I’m not sure! ( ha ha ha)
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you over the years?
It’s a list too long to say.
The element within each artist that has influenced me the greatest would be their “heart”. Intense emotion in a song has always put me on my knees. A song that can make me cry, imagine, feel good, or take me to a place in time is truly what pulls me into an artist.
I’ve never wanted to “sound” like another artist but rather wanted to make people “feel” like other artists have made me feel.
To name a few . . Patsy Cline, Barbra Streisand, Adelle, Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Nicks, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke; and my first influence who actually inspired me to start singing was Susan Jacks from the 70’s duo The Poppy Family.
How does a song come together for Lynne Taylor Donovan? What is the songwriting process?
Another tough question. The process is never the same twice. Inspiration is the only common denominator for me. There are songwriters who just sit and write songs all day long. that, unfortunately, is not I! That is why I also depend on other writers for material.
Being naturally impatient, “want everything to happen right now”, kinda person, the songs that I write come fairly quickly. I struggle with struggling, so if it doesn’t flow immediately then it usually goes in a file of many lonely, uncompleted songs.
So when I self-pen it usually happens within a short period of time and comes to me in my head, both lyrically and melodically.
Cowriting has worked well for me in the past when I am under a timeline to get a song or an album completed. Collaboration is an awesome and exciting process where another person’s input can prove to be an amazing and fruitful experience!
Tell us about your new Christmas song “Dear Santa”?
Dear Santa was written by talented Canadian writer Tony Koenen who pitched it to me thinking I would be the right person for the song. I instantly loved the message as the commerciality of Christmas has always made me sad.
I am an only child who was raised by my mother and we had very little. It made me sad when I saw all the Christmas toy commercials on T.V. knowing that I wouldn’t be getting any of them . . . and although my mother did the best she could and showed undying love for me, I was conditioned by advertising into believing that Christmas meant gifts and gifts meant love and the bigger the gift the more loved we were.
I also thought that if we didn’t get want we really wanted that we were somehow bad. ” You better watch out . . you better not shout, . . . he’s makin’ a list checkin’ it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice” . . . so very sad but children believe this narrative.
Now, as an adult, I see how painful it can be for children who are less fortunate and even those who are, being sent that message. (Our family gives gifts for sure, we just don’t make it the focus or allow it to define our Christmas.)
I am a Christian and believe in the true meaning of Christmas and sadly somehow over the years we have forgotten what that is.
Our family enjoys giving gifts however we don’t allow it to define our Christmas choosing to focus on what’s important . . . love of family, giving of ourselves, togetherness, and last but certainly not least, the birth of Jesus.
What do you love (and/or hate) about Holiday music?
I love Christmas music! I love the sense of the true meaning of Christmas! I just really never want to forget the importance of what Christmas itself means and the celebration of that through the music that honors that.
I also enjoy the fun “Holiday” music . . . nothing like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer” to get the fun of the holiday season started!
Share some advice for other singers seeking a long career making music?
Be true to yourself . . . for there will be no success without it. Be in control of your own career. Play as much and as often as you can even if it’s for free. Connect yourself with good, honest, talented people in the field. Have a backup source of income. Fame is overrated and can come with it’s own challenges and sacrifices. Pay your dues . . and know that you have a less than 1% chance of rising to the top so be in it for the right reasons knowing that you may be performing in coffee shops for the rest of your life. (hopefully not but remember there is joy and income in that too.) And remember you’re as good as your last gig!
What does the future hold for Lynne Taylor Donovan?
Making more music, performing more music, and releasing more music!
Thank you for this opportunity to participate in this interview!!
Merry Christmas and have a blessed Christmas (with not “too” many presents under the tree!! ) Ho Ho Ho!! xoxo