Logan Lynn describes himself as a “singer and songwriter, although probably singer/songwriter doesn’t really evoke the kind of imagery that I am wanting,” and much to his credit, the image his life’s work evokes is far more than this. With numerous singles, EPs and albums under his belt. the Portland artist is now bringing a new album, adieu, and a new campaign to fight stigma around mental health.
Adieu is a notable departure for Lynn, who describes the shift as a move from “electro-pop” to what he calls “organic music,” a process that was as much about music as it was about self care and awareness of mental health.
“The techno was probably a product of me not knowing what I was doing and just being a DJ, it was like an accident,” Lynn said, and it was after what he called a “public mental health breakdown” in 2010 and a period of reflection that the album began to take root.
With ongoing mental health challenges in his life, Lynn said he “didn’t really know what to do with those feelings, and so I did what I used to do with feelings and I wrote songs.” The process was difficult, Lynn said, adding, “I don’t think any of it was easy, which is why it was four years in the making.”
Stylistically, Lynn credits Liz Phair and the Sundays in part as guiding his musical style, and adieu’s style represents a type of music he feels he should have been making in the first place. Being homeschooled also contributed to his style today.
Phair, Lynn said, “Taught me everything I know about music, frankly—her and Amy Grant. It’s quite the mix.” Phair provided the antithesis to Grant, rounding out his early influences.
Other major influences for Lynn include Portland locals Elliott Smith and the Dandy Warhols and what he called the old Portland scene, a scene he described as dirty, grungy rock.
“[The Dandy Warhols] took me under their wing, just as Elliott had done,” Lynn said. The feeling of Old Portland, magical as he calls it, is evident in adieu.
“There is an element of Old Portland in the feeling experience of the record,” Lynn said.
During the long process toward adieu, Lynn kept himself busy in the community.
“I think my music led me into community work,” Lynn said, and that it drew him into work with the Q Center and then Cover Oregon for the Affordable Care Act rollout. It was this work that led him to being approached to start work on a community engagement program for Trillium Family Services, Oregon’s largest provider of mental and behavioral health care for children and families.
“If the whole city can get behind the social movement of ‘Keep Portland Weird,’ surely we could get people to rally around keeping Oregon well, and from there I launched it,” Lynn said.
Keep Oregon Well. Working with Sheila Hamilton, author of All the Things We Never Knew, a memoir about her husband’s suicide and her family putting their lives back together, Lynn began the campaign. Keep Oregon Well, is “a coming out movement” for mental and behavioral health discussions, Lynn said.
As with much of his life, music is a key part of the campaign.
Over the past year, Keep Oregon Well hosted over 100 shows with headliners like the Dandy Warhols, Walk Off the Earth, and even Kevin Bacon. The campaign uses music to start a conversation, with artists playing three songs and engaging on the idea of ending the stigma of mental health. Many of these shows in the concert series are at the Skype Live Studio, mere blocks from Portland State.
When asked what PSU students can do to help the campaign, Lynn suggested students take the pledge online to fight behavioral and mental health stigma with Trillium. Lynn added that he hopes people “feel inspired to honor every part of them,” and to recognize that “you can be successful and depressed.”
Adieu is set to be released on September 23 on CD and red double vinyl, and Lynn will be playing two live shows: one at Mississippi Studios on September 10 and another close to campus on September 30 at Skype Live Studio.