Singer/Songwriter Cristina Lynn infuses her music with a sound that is both fresh and familiar. This native of North Alabama combines new takes on country standards with original songs to deliver a performance that takes the listener on a journey through the past, present, and future of country music.
Growing up in rural Limestone County, music was an integral part of Cristina’s life. Raised on a capella gospel singing, she developed both a love for these traditional hymns and the ability to “carry a tune” without any musical accompaniment. Her vocal skills were further sharpened through performance with her high school FFA Quartet (the only all-female quartet to compete in the Alabama State Competition) and, after graduation, the Sweet Adelines. After a short period of fronting for a local cover band, Cristina decided the time was right to explore her own “sound” and began songwriting in earnest.
Recorded with only an acoustic guitar for backup, Cristina and guitarist / co-writer David Sheppard recently completed their debut album together. As a new artist she is quickly developing a loyal following, and is excited about any opportunity to share her music with others.
Recently, Cristina took a break from her songwriting and sat down to answer some questions about the influences and motivations in her life that drive her toward such a sought after dream.
Who or what is your biggest influence for pursuing your dream?
I love to speak to people through my music. I was told a long time ago that my voice was God's gift to me to share with the world. Wow! If that is not inspiration, I don't know what is.
From where do you draw your inspiration to pursue a dream?
I look to God for the guidance needed and I look to my family and close friends for the support and encouragement that is so necessary to pursue anything.
Who is your biggest influence in your songwriting and/or singing?
As an aspiring songwriter, I love to read the lyrics that were written by the great, Hank Williams, Sr. He wrote about simple, life changing events. He wrote about conversation and true feelings. As I listen to him, I realize there is a song everywhere around me I just need to find it. As an aspiring country music singer, I look to the late and great Patsy Cline. She had a way of bringing you into her music through her emotion and the feeling she sang with. Wow, to be able to tap into that level of singing!
From where do you draw your inspiration to write and/or sing?
I draw inspiration from everything and everyone around me. Every action and every word spoken or unspoken is a possible song. I guess what I mean is inspiration is all around us, as well as, in our hearts and our minds. Christ and his life are wonderful sources of inspiration.
Why country music over other genre?
I feel that country is where I belong. I am the most comfortable here! I grew up country and had the pleasure of gospel being interwoven with it. With country, I can mix to the two to help people know who I am as an individual. I love where I come from and I know where my heart lies. I come from the country and my heart is dedicated to Christ.
How did growing up in such a big family shape your personality?
I am the 4th child out of 5 kids. In a big family, you have to find ways to be heard and be seen. I have always been the child that tries to say what I think in a politically correct way. I do not always say what someone wants to hear, but I try to say it in a way that will bring a person back to reality and make that person think. I guess a big family helped me to really look deep inside my heart to find out what really should matter in my life.
How does your previous experience in other careers (Nursing & Sales) affect your current decision to pursue music? Did it hinder or help?
My previous careers have helped to make me who I am today and have helped to shape my heart and my mind. I have had both good and bad experiences that I can reflect on. These experiences have helped and will help me to write hopefully more meaningful songs.
Was this pursuit part of your life plan from the beginning? If so, how have you managed to stay on course? If not, what drew your interest and gave you confidence for success?
I have sung all of my life. I have always been told that my voice was special, but I never really investigated truly using it in a career. As the years have passed, I have noticed different things in life that keep bringing me back to music. Doors have been shut and doors have been opened. Some because of my persistence and others I am really not sure why. All I can come up with is that God has a plan for me and I am trying to follow. I said earlier he is my guidance. I believe if I work really hard and have faith anything can and will happen.
What gives you the courage or personality to get in front of crowds of people and expose your self-confidence and desire for success in an industry in which many fail?
I am a very driven and ambitious person with one of those Type A personalities. When I perform, I am the very same person on stage as off stage. I am just Cristina having a conversation with the listener. Instead of talking, I am singing.
What are your hopes or goals in the music industry, and what minor and major steps are you taking to get there?
Gosh, everything is a major step these days. The music industry is a tough one, but I feel like my life and my heart are in the right place to make something happen. What is that something? I am not sure yet, but I know time will tell. All I know right now is that I get up every morning, I work really hard at being the best Mom, wife and singer/songwriter and I always, always, always keep my faith to stay grounded.