By Lily O’Brien
Singer, guitarist and songwriter Mia Rose Lynne is the first to admit that she doesn’t know exactly what to call her genre of music—so she just calls it “folk Americana.” The Novato native has a sweet, clear singing voice, decorated with just a bit of a country/bluegrass warble, probably the result of living in Nashville, Tennessee for the past four years.
Lynne grew up in a musical family—her parents, Barrie and Annie Ernst, perform bluegrass and Western swing. When they discovered that their daughter had a great ear for harmony, they made her part of their act. Her sister also sang with them, and Lynne says they were kind of like the “Von Ernst Family just traveling around and doing gigs.”
Lynne is back home for a month of gigs around the Bay Area, with her mom on string bass and her sister singing harmonies for some of them. “It’s definitely a family affair,” Lynne says.
Teaching herself to play guitar, Lynne initially learned to sing by listening to the Disney princesses, whom she was “obsessed” with as a child. But her first passion was theater, so after majoring in musical theater at Cal State Fullerton, she moved to New York City to give it a try. She ended up snagging a job on a cruise ship as part of a musical revue for a couple of years.
Lynne then landed a job in Nashville, which she soon discovered was not only a hub for up-and-coming musicians, but had a thriving theater scene as well. So she got involved with both.
For her 25th birthday, a bass player friend took Lynne into the studio to record one of her songs—and she got “hooked.” In 2014, she recorded Open Space, an album of original songs, and in January of this year, she made another titled Follow Me Moon.
Lynne says that in Nashville, many people pump out hits, but she only writes songs when she feels inspired—with lyrics from her heart. “I’ve tried to write more edgy stuff,” Lynne says, but admits that, “it just doesn’t come naturally to me.”
She acknowledges that a performer’s life can be financially unstable, but that she “wouldn’t trade it for anything.” And although Lynne would love to “make it,” she’s happy living in Nashville and working as a singer/songwriter and in theater. “I’m so lucky—I get to do both,” she says.
Mia Rose Lynne performs on Friday, July 15 at Trek Winery, 1026 Machin Ave., Novato; 415/899-9883. For a full list of Bay Area appearances, visit miaroselynne.com.