by- Tom Kubrak
June 25th 2018, Manhattan, New York City
The night was calm and the streets were lively. The trains were running smoothly. The residents of New York City were out, like usual, and ready for a good time. It was the first night of the week and the activity was alive. The restaurants were getting their Monday night specials prepped for their evening crowds, who were already starting to rush through the doors to claim their reservations. For the others… they were just hoping there were some spots left to eat a good meal, have a good drink and of course… listen to some good music.
Going into the night, much preparation needed to happen for everything to work out smoothly. Firstly, the band had to get together for rehearsal and plan out the agenda of songs to be played for the evening. Then, once that was done and everyone bought into the game plan for the night, they could be confident going into the evening at the legendary venue. The legendary venue called The Bitter End, who has had musicians like: Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Jackson Browne, Neil Diamond, Gavin DeGraw, Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, Randy Newman, Billy Crystal, Tommy James, Norah Jones, Donny Hathaway, and Curtis Mayfield.
Going into the evening you always have those before show jitters, but looking at the likes of the person, that people from all over the city and country have come to see, you couldn’t even tell where those jitters were.
She was at the front door greeting her audience, having casual conversations, and doing her best to at least say hi to everyone before they grabbed their seats in front of the red brick stage that has held up some of the most powerful voices to ever release their sound into the city.
The many locations of the people who came to see this talented woman included…
Manhattan (The show took place in Greenwich Village)
And maybe people from other countries and cities but this is what we know.
Regardless of where all these people were from, it was certain that there were some super fans. One person confidently stated from her seat in the front row, mere inches away from touching the red bricks.
“If there was an official fan club for her, I would definitely be the president of it.” The potential president of the Lynn Lockamy fan club stated.
Yes, it’s cool to hear someone over the radio, online or on a video, but there’s something about seeing someone in person that just allows you to experience the music in a different way and allows you to feel the emotions that are coming from the artist and what it means to them. You get a sense of why exactly they created the song and why they decided to put it out there in the first place. Especially, in an intimate space like a bar or indoor venue it allows you to feel it… up close and personal.
The people who have come to see this performer are in for a hell of a treat. So as the people are getting settled into the small tables, that fit closely together, giving you enough wiggle room to sit comfortably, the performer starts making her way to the stage. Being a personable and well loved performer, for her vocals and not, she’s still giving each person the respect they deserve so they can finish up their individual conversations.
Then… you can see her making her way to the red brick stage. Her band is ready for her. Their ready to create the vibe with her. They want it. They feel it. All that’s needed…
The mic is screaming at her as she makes her way as quickly as possible.
Getting to the mic, the sound engineer runs a quick sound check with the band. It clears. The band and her have been waiting for this for awhile. They’ve put countiless hours into this.
Most importantly though, her audience is ready. Her audience, filled with people that have been seeing her for years, and some who haven’t heard her voice in person yet ever.
The host/manager gives the cue.
What’s in store for the evening… who knows, but the people want what they came for.
An epic evening supported by the voice of…
It was Friday June 2nd 2017, on the other side of the world. A place known for its treacherous terrain and ruthless army, that used to run this corner of the world. Lynn had been a full time musician for about five years now and she found herself in an unfamiliar place. A place that welcomed her in with open arms but all the while, one that Lynn hadn’t seen before. One that she hadn’t experienced and didn’t expect much other than some cold drifts of air and to perform at the venue she was planning to sing at. It was…
It wasn’t particularly cold in this place that only bears a few months of summer-like-weather. In fact, it brought some intermittent rain. What was about to happen to Lynn is something most musicians dream about for a long time but aren’t ever prepared for when the moment occurs. When it happens there’s not much a musician can do because at times, during this journey of becoming a musician, it’s so foreign and seems as if this moment will never happen.
A common mistake that many musicians make, who have dreams of making it their career. One that oftentimes, takes them out of the game for good. One that they just can’t fully see, because it has not happened yet. For the ones who decide to bear the storm of artistry and wait for it, the moment, can’t fully be described in writing.
It’s a moment that Lynn, may have not fully prepared herself for, but one that she didn’t ever allow herself to say, ‘This is never going to happen.’
As Lynn took her steps into Red Square in Russia, and walked by the President of Russia’s home, it happened. Over the loudspeakers in The Square a song started to play. A familiar song that was first written over 6 years ago. A song that was imbedded deeply into her heart and soul. A song that the people of Russia started jamming to. They felt it in that moment when it played over those speakers.
“I broke down and I cried like a baby. I cried so hard. Plus, I started screaming and my band leader thought I lost my mind.”
When the beat came, it caused her ears to immediately perk up and bellow over at the waist. Hostile Takeover was playing and Lynn started going crazy. No one really knew why but she just couldn’t contain herself. One of her band members started filming her because her cries went on for so long
As she fell to the ground it was a moment that can’t truly be described but one that caused an overflow of emotions to come out of her.
It was a moment that won’t be forgotten. A moment that took her many many years to put both of her feet in and take the biggest leap of faith that one could imagine. One that brought her to Red Square in Russia on that day in June. It was a moment that reminded her about all of the sacrifices that she had to make to get to this moment. That day, will be etched in the history of Lynn’s life as a groundbreaking one. A groundbreaking moment that would lead to more possibility doors.
When Lynn got out of College it was an uncertain period of her life. School was such a big part of her life. It was almost ingrained in every person in her family that you will go to college. So when she graduated from The University of Virginia with degrees in Political Science and African Studies she had some choices to make. Choices that would define her life in the coming years. ‘Go back to school and further her education or go into music?’
After arriving back home to lay the options on the table, in front of her parents, and getting their thoughts on what to do, she made up her mind.
She chose both.
“That was after applying to law school and all the above and my mom, oh follow your heart, my dad was more on the vain of go to law school and so I chose to at least try my hand at music and see what happens.”
And so began a period in her life, mixed with many jobs during the day and a lot of gigs at night, to showcase her musical ability.
She became a Junior College professor at a school in Midtown Manhattan.
“By day I was a college professor and by evening I was actually singing and pursuing my love of music.”
Working two to three jobs and a maximum of three it definitely wasn’t easy. With aspirations in education ranging towards a doctorate degree she had a love for school but wasn’t willing to give up her passion for music
Going on Tour
Sometime in the late 90’s was when Lynn, who had been performing Gospel music, since she can remember, went on a tour of Europe performing with a band. She went to Italy, Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland.
It was a great experience that brought her around the world tasting the different cultures culinary scene, experiencing new languages and getting a taste of where a career in music could take you.
Coming back from the tour, she had wrote a lot. A lot of Soulful Music. Those writings had to be put on the shelf for the time being though.
When the tour ended she decided to take a job at Drake Business School, that no longer exists, in the Financial District of New York City. She eventually was hired as the Dean. She ran two of their campus.’ One on William street and another on Broadway.
“From the moment I left college until I’d say 2000 I was burning my candle at both ends constantly working.”
Some way or another, she never let go of her love of music. The Love, that she tackled during this period of her life when the sunlight above the city streets that she grew up in dwindled into the night. When the streetlights came on and took the place of the sun’s light, she went all in to her dreams determined to make it happen for herself. Not ever knowing how long it would take or what she would have to endure.
It wasn’t just music that was in her heart though, it was another thing. Another thing that kept her going and busy during those evening hours after one of her 9-5’s, an occasional lunch break, and just whenever she could break out of the office for a little bit.
“Anytime I could have a moment to myself during the day I would actually go on auditions for Broadway musicals.”
She went back and forth auditioning for these shows. One show she went back 17 times after getting called back to audition for the part of Joanne in one of the productions.
Finally, the day came after countless auditions when she got the call she had been waiting for. The call that could be the start of a new chapter in her life.
She made another decision based on her love for someone that had been one of the most important figures in her life from the moment she was born.
The dream was put on pause for someone that had taken ill and Lynn had decided to take the role of their caretaker.
“She had it for twelve years. The last 4 years of her life I took care of her and so I was able to lecture part time, sing part time, and be with my mom part time all those years.”
Her mother had always been an important figure in her life. She never had to worry about food being on the table and she always could count on her mother, when she was younger, to help her out with those homework assignments.
She decided, during that time, to apply for another round of school to get her masters degree. She ended up getting accepted but then something happened that would change Lynn’s plans yet again.
In 2004 the day finally came. A day that she didn’t prepare for. A time that she didn’t think would ever come.
She lost her biggest cheerleader.
“I was completely devastated and really didn’t know how I would recover I didn’t think I would have the resilience.”
She put her next round of school on hold as she recovered from the loss.
In that period after losing her mother it put a void on Lynns heart and mind for many years.
Before passing though Lynn received some words from her mother, that might be some of the most important words she received from her to propel her in a new direction for her music career.
These words were everything. When you look up to someone and you don’t receive these words, it’s something you try your hardest to get but sometimes it never comes. It’s something that leaves your mind at a place that causes you to become a different person, in a desperate search to receive these words. Words that cause you to do things that you never imagined doing. Things that you do in this state of mind, that make you constantly question yourself saying, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’
But for Lynn after years off having one foot in the water and one foot out she received words, aligned in a sentence, that Lynn may have not foreseen getting. Words that validated her mothers love for her in a different way.
“She said listen I’ll be honest with you, if you ever stop singing it would break my heart so you know even if you never get your masters degree keep singing.”
The words moved Lynn.
“That stamp of approval was everything for me.”
She made another decision. She got on a plane heading towards France, two years after her Mom passed, not knowing anyone.
Making The Jump
“I think that you know to some extent you just gotta take a risk and so I did.”
With a lot saved up from her time in teaching, she was able to make this trip. She discovered a lot about herself on this trip. It was a trip that allowed her to just think and spend some time on what she wants to do next with her life.
It took some risks to get Lynn to going full time in music. This trip wasn’t the final stamp on her going full time into music but it was a trip that opened her mind giving her some much needed strength. It took another 6 years for Lynn to put both of her feet into Music.
Once she got back from the trip she took a job at the largest chain of Beauty schools in the country. She ran the largest location at their flagship Manhattan campus.
In 2009 she hit “the glass ceiling of the beauty school and left.
“I bet on Lynn for awhile and I just literally just kept spinning my wheels and hoping that something would happen.”
Somewhere around 2011-2012 she began one more 9-5 stint. She started off as a consultant and then moved to full time as the Schools Director for a year at The Phoenix House, which was a drug and rehabilitation program. The school ended up being being sold to the Board of Education, soon after, absorbing her entire departments salaries and positions. Thus it prompted another move and decision.
After the final stint she made another decision that would last her, what she thought would be 3 weeks, but turned into 4.
She got on another plane…
…towards Dubai. With one mission.
“I said someone is going to hire me and I don’t know who it is, I don’t know how it’s going to happen but it’s going to happen.”
After the first 3 weeks and nothing coming out of it, she was brought to what would turn out to be The game changing decision in her music career.
She decided to stay an extra week.
A week that ended up being the week that everything happened for her. She met someone at a club after they saw her song. He hired her to lead the band at an infamous Ball. A ball with some of the drivers of the economy in the Middle east.
It was a formal ball called, The Diamond Ball of Dubai and Africa, to bring together these people. This event, which was littered with some of the heaviest money that a person could imagine, including someone in search of something. A musician trying to make it happen for herself.
She performed and owned the stage. A stage that was far from intimidating, because it was a stage that she had been preparing herself since her early days performing gospel music in churches. A mere 6 hours after her performance, she hopped on another plane headed to…
She recorded the song called ‘Warning.’
A police officer who owned his own driving school and someone who had a deep love for music. He owned a record collection that was passed down to Lynn. Something that is priceless to Lynn. With his extensive music collection, she was able to hear some of a lot of the classics. He also had a great voice that was only heard in the home though.
“My dad didn’t want me to go into the music industry he thought it was the worst industry. He just didn’t think it was for his daughter.”
Although Lynn loved her father and listened to his advice a lot, she just couldn’t listen to him on this one thing.
After that moment in 2012, everything else seemed to fall in place for her career.
“So since then, I haven’t done any 9-5 and I am now fully positioned in music.”
The history of house music is one that Lynn respects. It’s one that Lynn realizes that without it she might not be where she is today.
“The singers that I admire most were singers with big voices, singers who were expressive and you could hear the emotion in their voices they were great interpreters of music.”
Frankie Knuckles, one of the founders of House Music, heard one of Lynn’s songs.
“Frankie Knuckles, which is one of the biggest producers heard the song and requested the vocals and said I have to remix it.”
A remix that would put her into an album with 7 remixes of her song done by 7 different producers who picked up her song.
Not fully wrapping her mind around the fact that this is actually happening, she realized the song that she recorded in this guys home studio was picked up by one of the biggest and loved DJs in House Music.
People like Frankie Knuckles, who is known as The Godfather of House Music, not only helped launch House Music out into the world from the stage of The Warehouse in Chicago, but he ended up helping launch Lynn’s career.
Lynn’s incredible journey obviously is a critical part in bringing Lynn to where she’s at today but looking back something that brought her to truly understanding music and songwriting was her love of something that she spent hours daily just thumbing through textbooks and dictionaries trying to understand it.
“I always loved poetry and I always loved the English language. I
love the English Language so much It’s so flexible.”
It’s had her audience in disbelief on how she put some words together and combined them to the point of actually making sense.
A fan of her music messaged her one day in awe in reference to one of the parts of her song “Hostile Takeover” when Lynn used the line, “Unforeseen Merger.” She goes, ‘“What would make you use…” and I says my mother was a banker and she says are you serious Lynn!”’
“At The Club”
Since going full time in music, she has traveled the world. An ever expansive world, that has allowed Lynn to meet some individuals that have not only become good friends with her but have helped her put out her music so people can enjoy it in the way that they see fit. The music that was deep in her heart for years. Songs that were written during that stretch of working many jobs to survive in hopes of one day going full time.
Some of these projects had been dormant for years. Some projects that came about while she was vacuuming.
A producer out in Germany had tried to produce one of her songs she wrote.
The song “At The Club” which some argue is her biggest hit, sat in her computer for 10 years, after the Producer wasn’t able to make it happen because he couldn’t clear a sample by the Commodores and so she never heard from him again.
Full Time Musician and Her Life Lifestyle
An industry as rough and tough as the cowboys who used to run the badlands, and the mid-west cattle drives fending off the people threatening their business’ Lynn has fought it head on and has refused to listen to the ‘industry standards.’
“I don’t think ageism should happen at all in any industry but it does. I’ve seen some really great talent disposed of and dismissed based upon age.”
Since 2012, having found the people to finally put out her music to the world, she has developed a loyal following that keeps her posted with where her music is being played. She was sitting in Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan on New Year’s Day, not having a performance for the first time in a long time when she got a few messages. One of the messages read…
“Let me show you what your music does.” And the message included a video that showed a club in Brazil going crazy for her song that she had no idea was going on as she sat supporting her friend on the other side of the world in New York City.
The things Lynn does that some people don’t realize is her contributions in her community in and around New York City. She goes around to many places including nursing homes, where they aren’t able to go to shows anymore. She then comes to them and gives them a proper show that they haven’t seen in ages.
“I perform at a Nursing home the way I would at a club, I do not harness anything. I give them a full show. I want then to feel everything I feel. I want their adrenaline rolling.”
She covers “the Gamut.” Starting in the 30’s and going all the way up to, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Ellen Fitzgerald, and today’s music with Robin Thicke and Bruno Mars. She wants them to hear every type of music and connect with what their grandchildren are listening to too.
All the while putting her own “Lynn touch” on it.
It was one performance that stood out at the Little Neck Nursing Home in Little Neck New York where she decided to be a little gutsy. Something that’s not uncommon of Lynn to do on a daily basis, but she decided to play a classic by Sam cooke called “A Change is Gonna Come.” A song that these people knew. The people didn’t believe she could do it but she did it anyway and she did it the only way she knew how to.
At the end of it, some of the people had some words they wanted to exchange with Lynn about this risk she decided to take. She got much love for how she did and it was actually a breath of fresh air for Lynn since she knows these people know this music. They grew up listening to it and that validation from them meant everything. On top of all that she got a call the next morning…
The director of the nursing home called her and as Lynn recalls, she couldn’t even breathe when she got the call from her as she said,
“They said you have to bring her back. I’ve never seen people move like that.”
At an age like that how could you believe that the people in a nursing home can move in that sort of way. I mean the average age of a nursing home is around 65. Lynn doesn’t care about that though. She believes everyone has a little bit in them and is going to do her best to squeeze the energy they have left out of them and give them a memorable experience. It feeds her and keeps her going.
“What brought me joy was a woman who was in a wheelchair and was determined to get up and dance. What brought me joy was when I sang an old love song and this women said that’s my song and she cried.”
It’s not just these moments that remind Lynn why she’s a musician. It’s also her…
“They mean everything to me. Anybody who loves my music and not just my music, my voice, my expression of emotion in telling the story that is a song, I appreciate them.”
A community of people that has taken her all over the world. Her people, her fans, the ones that support her and bring the music to a whole other level.
If the producers didn’t like the way she sang she wouldn’t be on a record but if the fans didn’t want to come to the show then… there wouldn’t be a show.
The talent that started in Gospel, then moved to R&B, House Music, and finally Soulful House. It has brought her to a spot where at one point she had 7 songs in the Traxsource charts and was battling with herself for the top spot. Eventually leading to Traxsource to give her a call stating “We’ve never had anyone do this before, we want to have you be our first ‘Artist of The Month’
People want to talk to her. She has been invited to share her thoughts on the industry on radio shows and podcasts. An industry that Lynn was on the edge of for countless years but just didn’t know how to break into it.
She was finally able to but she doesn’t forget the sacrifices that she needed to make to do it.
How did she keep going for all those years and what keeps her showing up week after week?
When you see her on stage she’s jumping up and down and nothing can stop her. It’s the fight. In order to fight though, she has to keep her body in excellent shape to be able to go through every performance at her best.
“I don’t like to feel winded so I go to the gym 4 times a week minimum.”
She does things including, strength training, yoga and pilates to perform at the level she does, constantly moving around on stage the way she does.
A life that many people don’t survive in because it’s just too damn difficult. Yes, it’s been a long “Harrowing Tale” through an industry that will spit you out before you have the chance to finish your blink.
Lynn is in it for the long haul though. She’s performing on any stage that can withstand her talent and fit her sound, that is projected out to the people who have come to listen to her passion.
There’s so much more to come in this journey. Don’t expect to see Lynn getting off of it anytime soon either because she’s in it for the long run.
The Night Coming to a Close
The performance was coming to a close at The Bitter End in Manhattan but before it’s over it’s time for one more thing. One more song that she needs to play in order to be satisfied when her audience walks out the door. She has a song that has been getting the people going for decades now.
A song sung by a king with…
‘Lynn’ Touch’ to it.
“The Way You Make Me Feel” – by Michael Jackson
She respects the ones that helped build these stages and these Genres of music. People like Whitney Houston , who’s voice inspired her to be the type of musician she is today. Musicians like Michael Jackson who helped launch a new age in music and inspired countless people to delve into being a musician.
After she finished, Lynn left the people that travelled to see her with one final thought that would hopefully keep them going until her next show.
When and where is the next show?
Make sure to catch her at the next show.
And say hi.
Also get excited for her album coming out soon.
Keep going Lynn.
“I would tell them the greatest investment that you could ever make is in yourself.” -Lynn Lockamy
Note- Originally posted to Soulful House Nation- Summer 2018.
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By- Tom Kubrak
Email- Tomkubrak.firstname.lastname@example.org for writing inquiries
IG & TWTR @tomkubrak