A quick search of her name in the archives of this newspaper shows Alexis Lynn has been busy on local stages in recent years – at the Surrey Shines showcase, Cloverdale Market Days, Canada Day events, “Lunch & Lyrics” concerts at city hall plaza, and elsewhere.
The singer/songwriter has been writing and performing songs since her early days at Clayton Heights Secondary, where she graduated in 2017.
But really, her love of making music began before her teenage years, at the age of nine, when she began seriously delving into the pop/R&B of Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, among other artists, with thoughts of crafting songs of her own.
“I was always singing in elementary school, and begged my parents to put me in singing lessons, and they did,” Lynn recalled. “They’ve always been supportive. Then I took piano lessons, a little bit of guitar, mostly to accompany myself when writing songs, which I started doing when I was 16. I wrote alone for a long time.”
For Lynn, those early gigs in the Surrey area were a calling.
“Doing shows like that, Surrey Shines and stuff, I used to be really nervous about them but I loved it so much,” Lynn said. “I always just wanted to go back up and do it all again, play again. It just felt so good. Even now I still get a bit nervous before shows but now it’s more of an excited nervous – just excited to perform my music for people.”
A lifelong Surreyite who is now 21, Alexis Leibenzeder embraced “Lynn” as a stage name somewhere along the way, and now keeps busy in a music career that appears to be gaining momentum.
She earned the Achievement by a First Nations/Indigenous Artist award at the fourth annual Fraser Valley Music Awards last fall, and Lynn’s “Worst Behaviour” was last month named among the Top 50 songs, as judged by CBC Music, in the broadcaster’s annual Searchlight contest.
With an increasing number of solo, club and festival gigs, Lynn is involved in music nearly full-time at the moment, other than her part-time work with an entertainment company at local bars.
“When I’m not doing that I’m pretty much doing something music-related,” she said, “either songwriting or performing, and over the past year I’ve been doing all my graphics and the lyric videos, logos, edits, all that, so that keeps me pretty busy. I don’t do my actual music videos, but all the promos and teasers, all that good stuff, album covers. It’s something I enjoy, so that’s the good part.”
That DIY effort could pay off for Lynn, who is booked to perform another solo show at Langley’s Trading Post Brewery on Friday, April 3, and counts The Railway Stage, Celebrities, the Roxy among Vancouver-area venues she’s played in recent times.
“I was just recently booked to perform in Winnipeg on June 26th and 28th as a part of the Sākihiwē festival,” Lynn added. “It is a festival that takes music to low-income neighbourhoods so less fortunate Indigenous families can participate in the arts. I’m very excited about it.”
To date, Lynn’s discography includes last year’s Things Get Good EP, which features the Searchlight-worthy “Worst Behaviour” and six other songs. Her plan to release a new song monthly yielded “Circles” back on Feb. 14.
“That was kind of the first of the year for me, and I’ll probably spread them out once every two months. I have three or four songs lined up,” Lynn noted.
“I wrote ‘Circles’ last year,” she continued, “and it’s about growing up and growing out of friendships, because I’m kind of in that weird age gap where I’m still friends with people from high school but some of those friendships are kind of dwindling, you know. It’s sometimes hard to keep in contact when you’re not around those people every day, like you are in school. That’s all about proximity, and so this is about friendship circles getting smaller and that’s not always a bad thing – you know, it’s OK to have a quality group of friends, not quantity, in that sense.”
Looking ahead, Lynn’s plans are to play larger venues more often.
“Places like the Trading Post are great, where I play piano and guitar and have some tracks, but I’m trying to get more shows in Vancouver, at clubs, so I can play with my band, which is what I really love doing.”