Few people in the world get me the way that Lindsey does. Maybe it’s our jobs, (Lindsey also sings and writes in a duo called Farmdale), maybe it’s our hometowns, (Lindsey comes from Maine which has winters that rival Canada) or maybe it’s our deep, deep passion for 90’s R&B, (we can sing every riff ever written and have been known to spend our Saturday nights together ordering spicy pizza and hunkering down for an epic belt party until the neighbours bang). Maybe it was a given that we would be friends, but it was not a given that we would meet.
Five years ago exactly, I was in Los Angeles for the first time. My month there was filled with co-writes and studio time and I felt like a newborn baby. I had never written with a stranger, let alone with someone who was actually making their living at it. Song writing is a gentle beast. It takes patience and a willingness for hard truth and it is the most vulnerable I have ever felt. The concept of walking in to meet someone and jumping into that vulnerability seemed odd, and through most of my co-writes, it felt that way too. Then there was Lindsey. She welcomed the band and I into her impossibly adorable home with her impossibly delicious homemade guacamole and for the first time on my first business trip, I felt like I was in my own home.
We dove in. We wrote two songs in three hours. Our second song, “Imposter” went on to be the first two placements I have had in TV with One Tree Hill and Pretty Little Liars. That was not Lindsey’s first, though. Five years before we met Lindsey was preparing to make the move from Maine to LA. A year before she had seen that Old Navy ad featuring Ingrid Michaelson, (who is signed to the same publishing company as Lindsey and I) and she made a goal of having her own commercial. Right before leaving her little hometown for the big city, she got news that she had landed her song with Tim Meyers “Brand New Day” in a national Target Commercial. She says this was the validation she needed and has since had her songs placed in some really cool places, (like T-Mobile and X-Box with her band Farmdale) and sung by some really cool people, (like Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato and Deanna Carter).
So who is Farmdale? Made up of Lindsey and her boyfriend, Ben Burgess, Farmdale is a new band that just happened. Literally. Lindsey and Ben are both full-time artists/writers and after a busy year writing for other artists, they decided to take a few weeks off from music. However, music had a different idea. Ben was new to production and while messing around in their home studio Lindsey caught the bug of inspiration and just eight months later, they have a bunch of placements with their first full-length record. This has been so exciting for me to watch as I have seen how hard they have both worked and as Lindsey put it, “it’s a good lesson in letting go of the “trying” to be creative and just letting the creativity flow naturally”.
It has been especially exciting for me to watch her career unfold. She is constantly shifting from solo artist to songwriter to back up singer, and now to band member. Watching her jump head first into new endeavours is something that has changed me as an artist.
JA: Did music choose you or did you choose it?
LR: Music chose me. Definitely. No question. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else with my life. In kindergarten, there was a day where we had to dress up as what we wanted to be when we grew up and I put on a fancy dress and told the class I was going to be a singer. I felt very passionately about whom I was and what I was going to do from a very early age. It also didn’t hurt that I was constantly surrounded by music growing up. Both sides of my family are very musical. Everyone on my father’s side of the family can sing and play piano by ear and I was no exception. I just joined the fun and was too stubborn to ever consider doing anything else with my life. Why not do the thing you love most?
JA: Do you find yourself to be more inspired when you’re happy or sad?
LR: Tough question! I can’t honestly say that I’m MORE inspired either way. My inspiration comes in all sorts of circumstances and I don’t really have any choice about when it comes. It just sort of happens. I could be driving or cooking and all of a sudden, I hear a whole production in my head, melody, chords, all the instrumentation…everything. I think for me it has more to do with being relaxed and in the present moment. Some of my best ideas come when I’m not trying to come up with anything, when I’m just being.
JA: In 10 years, will you be doing more writing or singing?
LR: Well for me these go hand in hand so I’ll always be doing both. I have a lot to say so I’ll always have something to write about and singing is my favourite way to express myself so as long as I’m alive I’ll be singing whether anyone wants to hear it or not. Ha!
JA: What’s your favourite thing to write about?
LR: Anything positive or inspirational. I just want every song that I write to leave people feeling hopeful or excited about life. Even in sad songs, I try to make sure that there’s a message about overcoming pain or trouble. I strongly believe that we’re all responsible for our own happiness in life and I want to empower people to be their biggest advocates and to love themselves unconditionally in spite of their faults. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. That’s what unites us! In every situation, we can choose to see the good or the bad. I aim to always see the good and I prefer to write songs that help other people see the good for themselves as well.
JA: Dream collaboration?
LR: You know maybe it’s being in Nashville and getting back to my country roots but I’d love to work and write with Vince Gill. I grew up listening to him and I still love his songs as though they just came out yesterday. And that voice! He’s just incredible. I’d love to see what we could come up with together.
JA: Live through your passion or live through your fear?
LR: Live through your passion and face every fear head on until it’s nothing but another lesson to learn and grow from.
Lindsey Ray links:
From these City Streets,