Just Breathe Inspire Presents
Loni Lincoln, Singer and Songwriter
Loni has been part of our community since the start, if you’ve attended the our events before there’s a good chance you’ve see her play. Joining and supporting her on her journey create her album has been a huge privilege for us, she took some time out to tell us about her journey and the inspirations behind the music.
Tell us about yourself
I have been writing since I was 7 or 8 years old, it all started with me making up words for pop songs and then I started making my own songs. But I have always wanted to sing for a reason, and inspire with my music. I picked up a guitar when I was about 11, and taught myself how to play from a piano book from the local library. The first song I learned was Yellow Submarine, I grew up loving The Beatles, Elvis and Queen - I really loved the power and the emotion that you can feel from a song, especially a rock song or power ballad.
As I grew up I started getting into Alanis Morissette, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow and P!nk and this really shaped my early style as a female singer song writer, I loved the way these powerful women shared their wisdom and stories in their songs, and I was inspired to do the same. Music has always been a force in my life, helping me channel my emotions and to cope with struggles in my life. So I hope that when people listen to my music, they can feel comforted, inspired or moved to take action the same way these artists made me feel as a child.
In addition to singing I also teach maths and yoga, I believe that my love for maths has contributed to my ability to write as there are many similarities in process, I know that may sound strange to many - but the skills I have learnt in both of these practices helps me to problem solve, and find sequences and patterns. For me there is a formula to writing, I believe that everyone has creativity within them you just have to find something that calls you.
What is the inspiration behind the album?
My album is community and connection. “No Walls” is my celebration of human connection and diversity in our world. I am a quarter Chinese, quarter Malaysian and half English, so I have always found it really interesting to mix with different cultures and learn. We are stronger when we collaborate and we are currently experiencing a lot of separation and instability in the world. My album is reaching out to people and offering support saying “I see you”.
“We are stronger when we collaborate and at the moment we are experiencing a lot of separation and instability. My album is reaching out to people and offering support saying I see you.”
What has it meant to be a part of the Inspire programme?
The Inspire programme has elevated and challenged in a way that I couldn’t have imagined possible. When we started this process I was unsure of what I needed to be or what I had to do to record an album. Over the last year I have had to rise up to challenges, learning new skills and moving out of my comfort zone to understand the process of recording an album. I’ve written 3 new songs in the process, and have written my first ever piano piece. Not only that, Michael and the Just Breathe team have given me a platform where I can reach like minded people and grow in confidence as an artist. It has been an invaluable experience and one day I will give back what has been given to me.
What do you hope to inspire through your craft, music or art?
My music is my creative output, it is where I share my deepest thoughts, passions and feelings. I write in the hope that my listeners will feel supported, listened to and free. I want people to think, this is me and I can do anything. I hope people listen to my music and feel released, inspired and able to break from their current situations to move towards their passion as a community, giving them the permission to step forward. When you step onto a stage it is easy for people to start to paint a picture of who they think you are - it is important to me that my audience understand I am imperfect and human - but that I am also passionate and that is all you need.
Tell us about a song that means something to you…
My song ‘Ripple’ was inspired by someone I met whilst volunteering at Crisis, a homeless shelter and charity in the UK. There was a man who stood up to speak and share his story, a skylight ambassador who was a previous Crisis guest. Having previously gone through the system and spending much of his life living on the streets, he wanted us to understand his experience on a personal level. He wrote a poem about the pain and low times he struggled with during this part of his life, and how the community and support of Crisis helped him to overcome these hard times - giving hope, compassion and strength to those who may find have found themselves in the same situation. His story is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and his poem made a really big impression on me. The lyrics are below.
I've seen darkness so I can show you the way
I've felt weakness, so I can give you strength
I've been helpless, so please take my hand
When the pain goes away
Please help somebody else
I've been lonely, so let me be your friend
I've been selfish, so let me show you I care
I've been restless, so go on take my bed
And when the hurt begins to fade
Please help somebody else
I've been aimless, but now I’ve found myself
I've been faithless, but some how I got blessed
I've been breathless so let me give you air
So when the tears dry from your face, please help somebody else
I’ve been broken, but I live for another day
I’ve been frozen, but I’ve learned from my mistakes
I was hopeless, but I finally found myself
And now I’m okay
I’m gonna help somebody else
I've been lifted, so let me take you there
I've been gifted, so let me share my wealth
I’ve broken into pieces so babe I understand
When the suffering turns to faith please help somebody else