“You’re going to laugh at this one!”
That is Lynn Campbell’s response when asked about the inspiration behind her song ‘Romance is Dead’, the fourth single from her upcoming debut album The Story of Jack and Mary.
Lynn- who has worked as an administrator for Ifac for the last 21 years- explains that the album’s origins go all the way back to 2013, when by chance she came across a five-minute TV clip that she couldn’t stop thinking about.
“My son was off school sick or something like that so I was off work that day and I had to run an errand up in Ballybofey,” explains Lynn. “I was flicking through the stations before I left the house and there was an episode of The Jerry Springer Show on. I don’t watch The Jerry Springer Show, but at this stage anyway there was a man on and he admitted live on TV that he had had an affair.
“I thought, ‘you must be crazy’, this is what the show was about. I thought this was mental. I was driving up to Ballybofey and I was wondering what happened after the show. Did [the wife] leave him or did they argue backstage? And I was thinking away and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be a really good idea if someone wrote a song about that?’
“By the time I got back from Ballybofey, which was an hour later, I had the first verse and the chorus written for ‘Please Try’, which is a story about the man and the woman breaking up.”
Lynn enjoyed elaborating on this story so much that she worked on the song for the next few weeks. Once she had finished writing ‘Please Try’, she was still full of ideas for more songs to follow.
“I wrote another song about what happened before the breakup, and then there was another song about what happened after the breakup. And I went back and forward until I realised I had a whole album written.”
Grabbing the opportunity
Lynn was in the recording studio in Ballybofey, near her hometown of Lifford, soon after writing her album. She received positive feedback from her family, in particular from her brother who Lynn says “will tell you if he thinks you’re good or bad, he’ll not hold anything back.” However, raising her sons, Joseph (19) and Shaun (14) and working full-time meant Lynn had to keep the album on hold.
It was only during the COVID-19 lockdown that a friend in Scotland heard Lynn’s music and played it on her radio station. From here, Lynn decided to put her music out there.
“When everything was completely locked down, I started writing again,” says Lynn. “I thought, ‘Right, you only live once. Song writing makes me happy. I’m doing it for myself, I’m not doing it to please anybody else. Not everybody is going to like what I do, and if some people do like it, well then that’s a bonus.’
“I sent it out to a few radio stations to see what kind of feedback I’d get back, and it just started snowballing. One station started passing it on to another and before you know, I was being played in countries all over the world. I couldn’t believe it.”
This gave Lynn the confidence to reach out to Canadian musician Dan Washburn, whose music she was a fan of. Asking Dan to collaborate on her song ‘Romance is Dead’ took a lot of courage for Lynn, but he agreed without hesitation. However, it was when Dan suggested another musician to work on the song that Lynn was left in total disbelief.
Friends in high places
When Dan asked Lynn if she wanted him to ask his friend Chris to do the guitars on the single, Lynn agreed, unaware that this friend was in fact Chris Leuzinger, Garth Brooks’ lead guitarist.
Upon discovering who he was, Lynn thought, “‘There is no way that ?man is going to do it,’” says Lynn. “And he said, ‘you leave it to me.’ So I had sent Dan the original draft of the song that I had recorded after I wrote it years ago.
“Chris was in the middle of doing rehearsals for Garth Brooks’ Irish tour last year. So he sent it to Chris and asked if he would play guitars on it, and Chris said yes. Not a bother.
“He went into Dan’s studio in Nashville and instead of recording one guitar, he recorded three. He sent me a lovely message then saying he had really enjoyed the song and it was a very fun project to be a part of and wished me well with it.”
As well as topping radio polls in the US and Australia, Lynn has been nominated at the Fair Play Country Music Awards in Holland for the last three years. Last year she won the award for ‘Best Female Voice Overall,’ beating over 2000 entrants from all genres. This year she is nominated in nine categories, including for another song written with Dan Washburn called ‘Irish Women Could Rule The World,’ which she describes as “very upbeat, and a little bit cheeky.”
Lynn is currently working to release her debut album later this year. Although she still describes music as her “hobby”, there’s no doubt that she has enjoyed her experience.
“For somebody from Lifford to have people of that calibre working on your songs, that to me is amazing. I am absolutely delighted and over the moon with it.”
Lynn’s single, ‘Romance is Dead’ featuring Dan Washburn and Chris Leuzinger on guitars is being released on Friday 24 February. You can listen to Lynn’s music on all major platforms including Spotify and iTunes and she can be contacted on Facebook at Lynn Campbell Music.