Interview With Lynda Cullen – first published in Downtown/The Evening Echo 2014-4-10

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Lynda Cullen is a familiar face to the regular gig goers who attend the monthly KC sessions in The Crane Lane, which she hosts, and the sessions she plays around Cork City in places like Sin É and Henchys. While these gigs can be solo or with fellow musicians and always feature a blend of original work and covers (her stunning version of Richard Thompson’s ‘Beeswing’ is something to behold), her forthcoming album ‘Paper Boat’ is a personal project made up of songs she wrote herself, and one, which was written by a regular collaborator, Fintan Lucey.

Describing your own original material is always a toughie for any artist but Lynda explains hers as “I would say that the album is folk/pop, my songs are mostly acoustic guitar based, with a pop feel, but still earthy. Some of the tracks are quite rhythmic and danceable, while others are more solemn, a mix of light and dark I would say.”

Lynda took a circuitous route to get from her hometown in Wexford to launching her debut album in Cork 15 years or so later, “I’ve been writing songs since I was 16, apart from the occasional open mic here which I’d shake my way through. I didn’t perform till my mid 20’s. At that same time I spent 5 years teaching English in Seoul, Korea and got to know some local musicians. We released an album in 2005 that picked up 3 awards at The Korean Music Awards!”

That experience led to Lynda questioning her next foray with her music, “I guess at the back of my mind, I always wondered whether I was really talented, or just the ‘token foreigner’, so in 2006, I decided to come back to Ireland to study music, try to hone my song writing skills, and learn about the workings of the music industry so I moved to Cork to do the Music, Management & Sound Course at Colaiste Stiofain Naofa.”

Lynda credits the course with it giving her a real insight to her chosen career, “I knew nobody when I arrived, but it was an amazing situation because you find yourself in a room with 45 musicians/engineers, all wanting to work in music, and there’s a great atmosphere there. It’s not always easy, but neither is the music business, and I think it’s an excellent way to learn about it. After 3 years there, I released an EP ‘The Orange Tree’ and tried to put into practice what I had learned. It’s been a long, long road to releasing ‘Paper Boat’ and I’m really glad to be finally releasing it, it is my first full solo album, and I am very excited to be releasing it! I’m proud of it, and that’s the most important thing to me.”

Lynda enthuses about the musicians she plays with regularly, “one of the things I love about Cork is the number of incredible musicians and songwriters here. Fintan Lucy is one of the most powerful songwriters I have ever heard, which is why one of his songs, ‘Who Feel The Most’ features on my album. Through running The KC Sessions, I’ve come to know so many wonderful, talented people, and I feel really, really blessed to be a part of the scene here in Cork.”

Paper Boat will be available from Thursday 24 April at Plug’d Records, Opus II on Oliver Plunkett Street and iTunes.
The album will be launched on the same date in The Pavilion with support from Sean Kelleher and Eoin Rua.
For more information or to hear her music go to http://www.lyndacullen.com

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