Myra Flynn at Summervale!
By Zaidee Laughlin, Music Intern
This week at Summervale we are welcoming Vermont native Myra Flynn to the stage! A performer since childhood, Flynn has spent the last ten years developing her unique soulful style. With four albums, a jewelry line, a namesake wine, and numerous tours in the US, Wales, England, Ireland, and Australia, we are luck to see her grace the stage at the Intervale. This Thursday saxophone player Dave Grippo is joining her trio for a surely memorable performance.
Last week I got in touch with Flynn to talk about her work; here’s the interview:
How do you describe your music? Feel free to use genre labels, sentiments, or images.
I am an indie soul singer and songwriter.
I see on your website that you lead song writing workshops. Obviously these are intended to help other songwriters, but how do you think it also helps you in your own creation process?
Oh for sure! I always end up digging myself out of a songwriter's block during the teaching process. Especially with youth. Young people are so inspiring and write from that raw place we now have to struggle to write from. I love hearing their angst and longing and lessons learned and it certainly inspires me to remember to write from those places still and now! Just with a touch more wisdom, perhaps.
Your fourth album Never Mind the Mourning is distinctly more pop-y than your previous works. What inspired this shift?
I was always forced to make pop music as a younger person signed to a label in order to fulfill the tired archetype of the sexy light-skinned black woman who sang pop and danced around on stage in a skimpy outfit. I hated it so much I did a 180 once I went independent and instead barricaded myself behind a stationary piano and only wrote heavy and serious stuff. It was somewhat an act of rebellion and somewhat one of self discovery I suppose. And now, I'm older and wiser than either extreme and feel I can find a healthy middle in that duality. I believe Never Mind the Mourning did just that.
How does Dave Grippo add to your sound?
I like to think of Dave's sax as another vocalist on stage. But like a bigger, badder and louder vocalist! I like to weave in and out of melody and harmony with his sax and love to let him take the lead. Dave is just a thoughtful partner and player on stage with what I has shaped up to be pretty nuanced songwriting on my part so he doesn't have an easy job. It also helps that he is super human talented.
What are you looking forward to about performing in Burlington at Summervale?
I'm just so looking forward to being home and playing with my favorite players in an environment that supports community growth and art and agriculture. Vermont just gets cooler and cooler to me. I'm honored you all still embrace me and my music.