At just 21 years of age, singer/songwriter Deena Lynch has released her first album and completed her first overseas tour, performing seven shows in five cities throughout Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
In August last year, she was nominated as Female Artist of the Month by Star Central magazine; her album, Lone Wolf, was hailed by Brisbane’s Traxx Radio as Australian album of the year; and her first single Wanderlust hit #11 on the 2012 Top 50.
And she’s partway through a marketing degree at Bond University.
It’s an impressive resume for someone who sang publicly for the very first time just a little over twelve months ago.
"A close friend of mine died in 2011,” said Deena. “It was one of those moments that makes you take a long hard look at your life and I made a decision to follow his example of living life passionately and without fear.
“I’d written some songs that laid out my loves, dreams, triumphs and losses with total raw honesty, so I decided to compile them as an album – mainly to preserve them for myself.
“I was so afraid to do anything with my music that I ran away to California to record what became the Lone Wolf album and then to attempt my first gig – unfamiliar faces are much less daunting!
“No-one was more surprised than me when the album started to sell and the single, Wanderlust, started to get airplay on radio. I also found a real love for performing live and I’ve been going from gig to gig ever since.”
Born in Japan to a Taiwanese mother and an Irish father, Deena grew up “culturally confused” in Brisbane. She started playing the piano at six, picked up the flute at ten and bought her first guitar at a garage sale when she was sixteen.
With their simple melodies and heartfelt lyrics, her songs reflect this innate musicianship and Deena’s eclectic, quirky take on life.
“When I was recording Lone Wolf, I travelled to New York, Las Vegas, Arizona, Mexico and Canada during the downtimes. Wanderlust came about as a reflection of my love to go exploring.
“Another favourite from the album – Come Over – was written as a light-hearted joke about a boy who worked at the hardware store across the street.”
With excellent Year 12 results, Deena had her pick of universities and initially moved to Melbourne to study engineering but, as part of the change in direction following her friend’s death, she decided she wanted to be closer to home.
“I really wanted to incorporate Entrepreneurship into my studies and Bond was the only university in Queensland that offered it,” she said.
“I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business with a Marketing major because I’ll be able to use those skills in my music career.”
In the meantime, Deena is juggling Bond’s demanding three-semesters-per-year study schedule with touring, live performances and work on a second album by being “super, pedantically organized”.
“I try to use the university holidays to schedule my tours,” she said. “A few people had approached me about playing in Malaysia and Taiwan so I headed to Asia for twelve days in the May university break.
“Then, in September/October, I did an east coast tour from Sydney up to the Sunshine Coast. My favourite stopover was Newcastle where I extended my stay to do an extra three gigs.
“And at the end of this semester, I’m hoping to tour Tasmania. I love the fact that my music takes me to places I haven’t been.”
But Deena’s next live performance will be a lot closer to home – in fact, just a few steps away from her lecture rooms.
On Sunday, October 27, she will bring her unique sound and captivating life lyrics to the on-campus ADCO Amphitheatre, supporting local indie band Taylor for the final Live at Bond outdoor concert for 2013.
“I’m planning an intimate, solo, acoustic performance showcasing some of my favourites, as well as rare tracks from the Lone Wolf album,” said Deena.
“I love the idea of just stripping everything back so I can revisit my life’s highs and lows with an audience that really appreciates live music and storytelling.”
Live at Bond is a free outdoor concert series, staged at Bond University’s ADCO Amphitheatre. For the final event of the year, Deena kicks off the entertainment at 3pm on Sunday, 27 October, followed by Taylor.
Free parking is available in parking area PG3. Wine, beer, champagne, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks will be available for purchase onsite.