Portraits: Inemi Abieyuwa Ese
Having made waves with the track Move on Gilles Peterson‘s Brownswood Bubblers 13, London artist Lynda Dawn is ready to bless the world with her first EP, At First Light, with production from Al Dobson Jr.
Below, Bonafide is very pleased to premiere the single Fonk Street, out today.
Hi Lynda! Please could you give us a rundown on your musical career so far?
Well, I’ve been making music for a quite a few years now… I started off as a session singer and backing vocalist. Then I ended up getting into songwriting, mostly for other artists behind-the-scenes.
To tell the truth, it’s taken some time to build up the courage to put out music that is unapologetically me. In an industry where you’re told, “this is what sells and this is what doesn’t”, it’s all too easy to get caught up and lose your sense of self.
After years of making music that I felt wasn’t an authentic representation of me, I walked away and decided to start again. That’s how Lynda Dawn materialised.
How does your upbringing feed into what you make?
I was raised in a very musically inclined and eclectic household. My Mother encouraged me to join the choir of our Pentecostal church when I was 12 years old along with my younger brother who joined the church band and ended up learning how to play keys by ear. My church upbringing definitely played a large role in shaping my artistic identity.
But apart from gospel music, there was also plenty of secular music in the soundtrack of my childhood.Unsurprisingly, I grew up around a lot of boogie, soul, funk and jazz. But I also have fond memories of dancing to Nigerian afrobeat and highlife from my parent’s record collections.
Your music wears its heritage proudly on its sleeve, how hard is it to find a balance between being retro and driving forward?
I tried not to overthink it, but I wanted to make what felt honest to me. Retro jazz, funk and soul has pretty much always been what I’ve gravitated to and resonated with the most. So I guess it’s natural for those influences to flow into my creative process.
I like to think of my sound as a marriage of old and new, for young and mature audiences alike. Not copy-cat or pastiche.
What does your working relationship with Al Dobson Jr look like, and how did it come about?
Al is hands down one of the most talented producers I’ve ever collaborated with. He’s incredibly prolific and has a great ear for music. I’m eternally grateful for him helping bring my vision to life. We both share a similar taste in music and we understood each other’s vibes very quickly.
My younger brother Jason also helped out with additional instrumentation and we all had a lot of fun creating together. It never felt like work, it was more like a family affair.
What lessons have you already learned about striving forward in the industry?
Strive to be yourself! Never let anyone else dictate who you are or what you should be doing. No matter what people may think of your art, as long as it’s what you believe in, that’s all that matters at the end of the day. As long as you’re content with your music.
Please tell us all about At First Light!
At First Light represents a new beginning, a new dawn in my musical journey. I was going through many transitions that were almost happening simultaneously in my personal life.
This EP essentially represents starting over, especially with songs like Arise and Any Way You Want. I like to think of this record as uplifting.
What’s next for you?
Who knows! The music industry is constantly changing and if I’ve learned anything in my ventures, it’s that nothing is certain.
While I am excited about the future I’m also enjoying taking it one day at a time and not putting too much pressure on myself. I just aspire to continue making music that brings me joy and hopefully others too.
The single Fonk Street is out today and premiered below. At First Light will be released August 30th, pre-order here.