Southern California provided the inspiration, overall vibe and backdrop for the video shoot of Sandra Lynn’s latest single, Hey California.
The summery track is a preview to the artist’s forthcoming album which will be launched in January.
Since the release of her self-titled EP in 2014, produced by Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus, Lynn has been on the road and opened for Kenny Chesney, Cole Swindell, Kenny Rogers, Josh Thompson, and Jana Kramer.
Sandra spoke with me about the new track, her love for Southern California, and gave us insight into what she’s got planned for her soon-to-be-released debut album.
What was the writing process for Hey California, and what message did you try to get across?
When my producer and I first sat down to write Hey California, I told him I wanted to write a country song that had a little bit of a The Beach Boys’ vibe to it. My parents always had The Beach Boys’ records playing when I was a child, and their album, Endless Summer was one of the first records I remember hearing. I also wanted to write a song that gave a nod to my Southern California roots and that had a fun, feel-good vibe to it. I feel like Hey California is one of the lighter, more playful songs off my upcoming record (due out early next year) that I was excited to share as the first single out of this new music I’ve been working on.
What was it like filming the music video?
I had a blast shooting the music video for Hey California. I was grateful to be working with such a talented team of creators—the awesome crew we had behind the camera, as well as my actor-friend, Liam McNeill, who played our on-screen ‘Mr. Hey California’. We spent two days running all over Los Angeles to several iconic locations, such as the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, as well as up and down the coast of Malibu. Being a native Californian, it was exciting for me to get to film in all of these various spots, and be able to give fans and viewers a mini glimpse into what Southern California looks like.
What reaction have you had from fans to the new song? And, is it still exciting hearing it on the radio for the first time?
I’ve gotten so many sweet messages and shout-outs from fans over social media and email. I feel like a lot of people pick up on The Beach Boy’s vibe we were aiming for when we wrote the song, and had lots of folks tell me they’ve added it to their summer playlist on Spotify. I was blown away to see the song at over 200K streams on there. It is absolutely exhilarating and surreal every time I hear my music come on the radio for the first time. I was pulled over in my car on Pacific Coast Highway, in California, the day Radio Disney premiered Hey California during their ‘Country Spotlight’ hour, just so I could catch the debut of the song on the radio for the first time. It’s a moment I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to experience.
What can you tell us about the upcoming new record to be released in January?
This will be my debut full-length album. Any time I put new music into the world it’s a combination of both excitement and nerves, hoping the music will resonate with listeners the same way it resonated with me throughout the creative process.
With this upcoming record being my first full-length record, it’s feels like I’ll be introducing my ‘baby’ to the world. After I came off the road in 2015, I really wanted to dive into my songwriting with writers based in both Los Angeles and Nashville, and go deeper than I’ve ever gone before. Some of the more up-tempo songs on the record, such as Hey California, have a more playful vibe to them that I hope might speak to women of all ages, but there are also songs on this record that go a bit deeper and really hit those moments us girlfriends like to talk about behind closed doors—those vulnerable, divulging moments we like to dish on with our girls and get real about.
I feel like that’s what the female artists who I have always looked up to did with their music, and what I strive to do with my own music.
Will you be working with any of the same people who you collaborated with on the EP?
Some of the same amazing musicians who played on my EP can also be heard on my upcoming record. Grammy-award winning engineer Ben Fowler, (Sara Evans) has produced much of the record, as well as recorded and mixed the entire body of work, and Grammy-nominated producer, Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark) has three tracks on the album, including Hey California. I was also able to write with some incredible hit-makers for the album such Tia Sillers, Victoria Banks, and Canadian country music artist, Paul Brandt as well as rising young songwriters, Bobby Hamrick and Jake Scott.
Is there a clear theme forming, or is it coming together organically?
I especially wanted to speak to women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with the song choices on the upcoming album. Music for me has always been a hopeful escape—whether it’s dancing along to a song and singing it at the top of my lungs, or listening to a sad song and crying my way through it—I always feel better on the other end of it, and so I’m drawn to try to deliver that in the music I write and create.
You’ve been busy opening for some amazing acts lately. What has the experience been like for you?
The one thing I love about getting to pursue a career in music is it’s not just about being in the studio, but it’s also about being able to get out in front of a crowd, and connect with a live audience. I love meeting fans before and after shows, and it’s such an incredible experience getting to see fan reactions during a performance. It helps me, as an artist, learn what connects, and what doesn’t, and if these folks are out their spending their hard-earned money on show or festival, I want to try to give them the best time that I can and share my love of country music with them.
What have some of the more established artists (Kenny Rogers/Kenny Chesney) been able to teach you, or what have you learned from watching them work?
Being able to watch some of these more established artists from the side of the stage is like being in a master class, and learning from the best. These artists, especially Kenny Rogers, have been at this for so long and know how to entertain an audience.
For me, not only do I get to watch them perform as a fan, but I also get to learn from them, and the one thing I can always see in their faces – that I feel is something no artist should ever forget – is just to have fun! When folks are out listening to live music, they’re there because they want to have fun, and they seem to have the best time when the artist onstage is having fun.
What’s next for you? Will you be planning tours around this new album?
I absolutely will be planning live dates around this upcoming new music. We’ve got some dates in the works for the fall, as well as starting early next year.
We haven’t announced the date yet, but I’m excited to share that I’ll also be releasing a second single off the record this fall. Folks will be able to receive all of these updates and more on my website and by following me on social media (@sandralynnmusic).
Sandra Lynn’s single Hey California is available to download and stream now. Watch the music video below: