Hi, I’m Annie Lynn. I’m a Midwest mom who’s been on a journey to rediscover herself after having two kids. I’m a former Twin Cities city girl who now lives in a small town just outside of Madison, Wisconsin where I grew up in the 1980s and 90s. I’ve been writing stories from my childhood, exploring the craft of songwriting, self-teaching myself guitar, and learning how to record my own music.
Why I started singing again after giving it up
My journey began in 2016 when I instinctively started singing made-up songs to my children after having stopped singing for years. I had grown up singing, even studied and performed musical theatre professionally in the Twin Cities area, which is why I moved there in the first place. But over time I had slowly given singing up. It wasn’t until I had kids that I started singing again. I noticed it calmed them and me. It was something I naturally did without even having to think about it. This realization sparked something in me, and I got really curious. It made me think I had a gift and passion I had been hiding away or lost over time that was just waiting to be lit up again. I remembered I had picked up a songwriting book at a used bookstore on a whim the year before. I didn’t know what to do with it at the time, but all of a sudden I got really determined to find out if perhaps I could learn to be a singer-songwriter.
How writing about my childhood led to my first song
In search of more clues as to who I am and why I am the way I am, I created a virtual online space I call “The Annie Lynn Club,” the blog on this website. Every Monday night after my boys’ bath time I’d sit down and reminisce and write stories about my childhood. Feeling nostalgic felt like an escape from the day-to-day challenges of being a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I had a sneaking suspicion taking a trip down memory lane would help me re-find myself, or at the very least be something my boys would find fun to read some day. Either way, I made it my mission for over a year to write a blog post and publish at least every other week. Read my very first post here: Why I love the color, yellow.
At first my blogging wasn’t connected to my songwriting at all. It was more like what I call a “micro-museum” of my life, based on found objects, memorabilia and keepsakes I’d kept over the years. But eventually, I started adding songwriting nights into my week and noticed that the more I wrote my stories the more it fueled my lyrics and song ideas.
Why going back to my roots fueled my songwriting
In the summer of 2017 my folks moved out of my childhood home in Madison, Wisconsin. I had lived there since I was four up until I left for college in Minnesota. Since 2000, I had been traveling back and forth from Minnesota to Wisconsin. Losing a physical place to come home to that was familiar was really difficult for me. During that time it made The Annie Lynn Club even more important to me as I found it to be a way I could preserve memories I had made there. That spring and summer before they moved I made multiple trips down with my boys to visit. My Dad and I also started to sing together in our old basement like we had when I was a little girl. I continued to write the blog but it was during this time I began to really write more songs.
The first song I wrote, recorded and co-produced in 2020 called “Carry On” came out of my time writing these childhood stories, and my quest to write a song that would help me during a difficult time.
How I learned to play guitar from an old cassette tape
In the spring of 2018 I decided I wanted to be able to play the songs I was writing. So the next step I took was to learn to play guitar. The first thing I did was borrow my husband’s grandpa’s old guitar he had left him. Then I found a couple of old how-to-play-guitar cassette tapes my Dad had given me way back in 1997. I had never listened to them before. I still had my old 90’s boombox so I popped them in and tried to see if I could at least learn how to tune a guitar. I began to push play and rewind over and over on that tape until I learned how to tune. Thinking that there had to be a better more faster way to go about learning to play guitar, I signed up for a beginning guitar community education course at my local city hall. I also got myself a digital tuner on Amazon! I took five of the six 45 minute lessons, and since then I’ve self taught myself.
My first open mic was in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe
From Wisconsin to Minnesota and back “home” again.
In the summer of 2019, I relocated my family from Minnesota, where I’d been for the past 19 years, to live in a small town just outside of the Madison, Wisconsin area where I grew up. It’s great to be “home” and I’m excited to continue this adventure!