A little mystery is good.


It worked well for singer/songwriter Lera Lynn. The Nashville-based  Lynn’s song “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For” was featured in the  teaser trailer for HBO’s second season of “True Detective.”


The song prompted many an internet search for the mysterious singer  behind the song.


Lynn is no longer a mystery. She worked on the series soundtrack with  legends of the music industry T-Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash. Burnett  even suggested Lynn to play the role of the singer of the Black Rose  on the series. Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto agreed and Lynn was featured;  transformed into a junkie singer who easily fit in with the denizens  of the bar.


Lynn’s turn with “True Detective” in 2015 would inform her next studio  album “Resistor” in 2016. The album was a darker take than what was  featured on Lynn’s first two albums.


Lynn is about to launch a tour with John Paul White (of The Civil  Wars) that will see them play at Mr. Small’s on June 23.

The Swerve Magazine spoke with Lynn in May about the upcoming tour,  her time on “True Detective" and the virtues and drawbacks of being a  true independent artist.


The Swerve Magazine: This is a nice tour that you have starting with John Paul White.

Lera Lynn: John Paul has been on my radar, well, obviously because of his work in The Civil Wars, but especially since he and I had music on the “True Detective” soundtrack. I think it is a really great bill. I don’t know why we haven’t thought of it sooner, honestly.

John Paul and I will be meeting each other for the first time on May 23. We’re working on a little collaborative thing that we will be releasing soon.

SM: There is a whole tour set up in June, and this is the first time that you are going to meet him.

LL: That is usually how it goes (laughs).

SM: While talking about John Paul White, you and “True Detective,” that show was a pretty big thing for you. Considering you were two albums into your career when you got the show, how much did it alter the path you were on?

LL: Maybe not as much as you would think. It cushioned the ticket sales a little. It helped me reach a larger fan base. It is not like I became famous or anything (laughs). It was not like some overnight success story. It is like, “Oh, some more people know about my music now and are coming to the shows.” Which is great, that is what you want.

SM: Critics thought you went a bit darker with your third album “Resistor” after your time with “True Detective,” but there are tinges of darkness in your first two albums as well.

LL: It is an interesting challenge trying to make a follow-up record after working on the “True Detective” soundtrack because a lot of people were just hearing about me for the first time and they were attracted to that darkness. I wanted to make a record that was true to me as an artist which includes darkness, and light also, and fun and sadness. All of the feelings. But I didn’t want to alienate any of the new fans either. I hope that the record satisfies a range of emotions. I hope that there is something for the “True Detective” fans and for the people that have been following my music for many years.

SM: How tight of a line did you have to walk to try and keep both sets of fans happy?

LL: You know ideally you make a record that makes your fans happy, but in reality, you have to be true to yourself as an artist. If you are trying to please other people in your art, then you’re going to fail. It was in the background. It was something that I needed to consider. I don’t think it necessarily mandated what I did.

I think another way of framing it is, not unnecessarily like walking a tightrope, but I think that “True Detective” opened a new door for me and allowed me to go in a darker place. It has always been in there like you said. Most of the time in the music business, people want you to create products that are marketable, easily consumed and the dark stuff isn’t. They don’t play it on the radio. So, that side of me has never really been encouraged. People have always said, “Maybe try a major key. Or a faster tempo. Or more hopeful lyrics.” Having that experience making that music and working on that soundtrack really allowed me to express myself more freely. It let that part of my art show through more.

SM: Being an independent artist, how important is that for you in doing what you want to do?

LL: It is hard for me to say because I’ve never been on a label. I had offers to work with a label. As soon as it became apparent to me that they were expecting to have some creative control, I got really turned off.

It has been crucial to me up to this point. I also will say that it reaches a certain point in your career when you need help on the business side. We have done a great job of putting together a really strong team and squeezing every penny that we can. It is tough to make it in this business, especially without someone bankrolling you. I do really relish the creative freedom that I have, for sure.

SM: Would there be a time or if the right offer comes along that you would go with a label?

LL: Absolutely. I’m not in any way, like, against labels. It is just the right thing has not come around. I’m not going to let that inhibit me from releasing records.

SM: You are pretty hands on with all sides of your career.

LL: I am, indeed.

SM: It has got to be a lot of work.

LL: It is a lot of work that is why there are no days off (laughs). If I’m not touring, it doesn’t mean I'm just setting around. There is always something to do.

SM: So what do you do when you do get a day off?

LL: (laughing) Float down a river. Go for a hike. Brunch.

It is easy for people to think that when you’re not on tour that you are like, “Wheee, party!” But I schedule time every day to work on writing and other things. You've got to keep creating music. So that is what I’ve been doing a great deal of lately is just writing.

SM: Ideas for the next album?

LL: Yeah, yeah. Tons. I’ve been making demos and just tossing somethings out there to see what we can conjure up.

SM: Any idea when you will get back into the studio?

LL: I think this summer or fall.

I mean, I’m ready to roll. Let’s do it.