Jacob Interviews….Singer-Songwriter Lenny Mink

Singer-songwriter Lenny Mink combines multiple genres of music to make an incredible concert experience for concertgoers. (Photo property of Lenny Mink.)

 

By: Jacob Elyachar

Earlier this month, I had the chance to cover on the Dancefestopia Dance Festival in Kansas City, Missouri.    One of the artists that stood out to me was singer-songwriter Lenny Mink.    Mink, who describes himself as a musical citizen of the world, opened the festival with his band and the crowd was receptive to the performance.   I had the chance to correspond with the rising singer-songwriter as we talked about songwriting, his rotating band and his advice to aspiring singer-songwriters.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in becoming a performer?

Lenny Mink: I’m really not that interested in it actually; I see it as a necessary evil because songs don’t sing themselves! I do love it most of the time, but it’s the writing, playing, and recording that I love more…I guess I perform for the audience, to channel energy and create that positive cycle with the listeners.  Sharing energy, sharing ideas, creating a mood, and taking people on a journey are what I love about it. I was involved in theater and other things like that as a young man so I guess I’ve been on the stage in various ways over the years.

JE: What goes through your mind when you write songs?

LM: Depends on the song. It’s very difficult at times and painful, other times just pure joy.  Often both.  Sometimes its the love of language and the sound of words that inspires, other times it starts with the music and then words come later.  Most of the time I have no idea really where it all starts, it just happens, I get in the zone and the rest is just there waiting to be heard.  People say things all the time that I paraphrase in songs; you got to keep your ears open!

JE: If you had to describe your genre of music, what would it be?

LM: Rock?  I write all kinds of music and songs.  I believe the audience chooses you, not the other way around. I’d be curious how others see this; I can’t really give it a fancy label, or define it narrowly enough. I think all music has merit – like Duke Ellington said, there are two kinds of music – good and bad.

JE: If people viewed your about section on Facebook page, you describe your band as “the house band at the post-apocalyptic desert oasis.”  Can you tell my readers about the story about that statement?

LM:  That probably means that the band and I (The Lost and Found) range all over the place in terms of material we choose. Sometimes soft, sometimes hard, sometimes really abstract and obscure, other times straight from the heartland. I guess the idea is that if the final war begins and we blow up most of the world, you would want a band at the last desert oasis that didn’t bore you and led journeys to diverse musical locales. Who wants to listen to the same sounds all the time? Plus it seems like there is a lot of doomsday nonsense around, so we are just riffing on that idea. You never know…

JE: You have rotating guest artists join you on stage when you perform.  How does it work?

LM: It depends who is in town and who’s available. When we go on the road, I also like to invite local horn players or percussionists to sit in with us.  It keeps everyone on their toes a little and also adds some extra flavor.

JE: What would be your advice to aspiring singer-songwriters?

LM: One, don’t listen to anyone’s advise for at least 5 years at least in terms of the ‘song’ part of it. I remember once an ‘important’ recording engineer argued with me about changing the words to a song because to him it ‘didn’t make sense’. It’s poetry man! Ever heard Dylan? Ween? How about the Beatles? Don’t let anyone choose your words for you.

Two, learn as much as you can about MUSIC, that’s half of it, right? In other words just write your words, find your own lyrical voice. But don’t neglect music theory, learning an instrument, all that. I often meet people that claim they are songwriters, but really they are only singers with melodic ideas and lyrics. They need collaborators, and that’s okay, but songs require music! Everyone benefits from learning an instrument; especially more than one instrument at least well enough to get by.  It all makes you a better writer.

To watch a video of Lenny Mink and the Lost and Found performing at Dancefestopia, click here: http://youtu.be/yY3Xuq2sclE

To learn more about Lenny Mink, visit his Website: http://www.lennymink.com/

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar