Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                Lauren Flynn
                                Clinton musician Lauren Flynn will perform Friday at Ott & Hunter Winery Tasting Room with Seattle guitarist Nick Kurtz.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group Lauren Flynn Clinton musician Lauren Flynn will perform Friday at Ott & Hunter Winery Tasting Room with Seattle guitarist Nick Kurtz.

Clinton musician finds her voice

Lauren Flynn isn’t afraid of a tough crowd. Or of much, really.

The Clinton resident’s resume includes skin-thickening experiences such as stand-up comedy and professional wrestling.

Flynn’s worked in corporate hospitality and lived off the grid in a trailer in Malibu.

Flynn has also been writing and performing music for the past decade and will be showcasing her wide-ranging works at 7 p.m. Friday at Ott & Hunter Tasting Room in Langley with Seattle guitarist Nick Kurtz.

As someone who has made her living making noise on stage, Flynn might not sound like a person who’d necessarily enjoy the relative solitude and laid-back atmosphere of South Whidbey, but that’s exactly what brought her to the island.

Flynn admitted she also was motivated to make the move because she “wanted a better life” for her newly adopted puppy.

“I needed peace and quiet,” she said. “I just put everything in my car and came here,” she later added.

There weren’t many items to her name at the time, which Flynn said at least made it easy to fit it all in her car.

During her time spent in California, two of the places she’d been living burned down in separate wildfires, leaving her with few possessions, she said.

The blazes weren’t the only the source of turbulence in her life that sent her seeking out Whidbey.

While living for a time as a struggling musician and yoga instructor in Los Angeles, she experienced a series of dramatic events that felt like they’d come straight out of a country album, she said.

So she wrote about them in a country album.

“I really found my voice,” Flynn said. “It was true but also traumatic … I learned not to run away.”

In a moment that was what every burgeoning artist dreams of, a hopeful producer approached her at a gig and asked to produce her album.

However, after touring with the songs regionally, she said she felt stuck in a rut.

She quit drinking, which had been a major factor in her past series of dramatic events. To keep herself occupied during this transition, she enrolled in a stand-up comedy workshop.

She spent the first six weeks of her sobriety performing on stage twice a week, and even though the comedy was difficult, she never felt better.

Around New Year’s Eve 2017, she was on the phone with a friend, telling her she thought she needed to escape the chaos of L.A. She was tired.

That friend, happened to be a Whidbey Island resident, who had a rental studio apartment that just became available.

In July 2018, Flynn stepped off the ferry and thought, “Oh, this is cool,” she said.

After settling in, she finished a collection of songs she’d begun in California and recorded them at Sound Trap Studios in Freeland.

Flynn will be performing those and others in her repertoire Friday; her works range from folk to rock to pop.

Flynn hadn’t set out to be a musician. In fact, she didn’t play an instrument until adulthood and she’d been told as a child she wasn’t a good singer. She’d studied business and worked in the hotel industry for a time.

One of her first creative outlet came about after she’d seen a news feature on a wrestling school nearby. It intrigued her enough that she skipped one of her night classes she’d been attending to go.

The first day, she was the only woman, she got the wind knocked out of her and she loved it.

Flynn traveled with the league and learned to help sway the audience into rooting for the pre-determined winner and to booing the “bad guy.” She always preferred being the bad guy.

A photographer boyfriend and his creative-type crowd sparked her desire to find an artistic pursuit. She bought a guitar and began teaching herself. A roommate later saved that guitar in one of the fires that claimed her home.

Eventually, she started playing on street corners late at night when people were maybe a little too inebriated to care about the quality of singing.

She’s continued to try and improve and evolve her music writing and performance.

Flynn said she recently purchased recording equipment and wants to dabble in new genres.

All her experiences have shaped how she performs and carries herself.

Flynn said the best compliment she’s ever received was after a show, someone told her she “owned the stage.”

“I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself,” Flynn said, “over and over and over.”

• Lauren Flynn and Nick Kutz will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at Ott & Hunter Winery Tasting Room. Tickets are $10.

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