When Deena Lynch made her live music debut at West End’s Music Café in 2013, she had more reason than most to be nervous.

Following the death of a dear friend, Deena had taken a six-month pilgrimage, backpacking around the US. When she returned, her backpack contained 12 songs in the form of Lone Wolf, a debut album voted by Brisbane’s Traxx Radio as Australian album of the year. It was a big surprise to friends and family. She hadn’t sung before. She hadn’t played guitar before.

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“I picked up a guitar and was being influenced by everything around me, exploring my thoughts and the artistry. The album title reflected my journey, as during the completion of the project I kept it hidden from everyone,” she said.

Lone Wolf is a stunning piece of work, charged with raw emotion and yet accessible and solicitous. Although inspired by artists such as Johnny Cash, KT Tunstall and Jeff Buckley, this is — at times — more in the avant-garde style of Talk Talk or David Sylvian than the singer songwriting sentiment of Megan Washington. It blends Deena’s charismatic vocal style with stripped down, soulful musical arrangements that performers of a later vintage would be drooling over.

Fast forward to 2015, and Deena is now a multi-award winning artist, promoting her sophomore album, Black Cat. Joined this time by a band, consisting of Joe Fallon (Lead Guitarist), Jasper Gundersen (Drums) and Jack Walton (Bass), Black Cat is far more overarching and Deena’s creativity is matched equally by her charm. “It’s my heartbreak album. Everyone’s got to have one. It helped me find out more about who I am. I believe that it’s a better representation of me, but being part of a band allows an open platform and the collaboration means we get something that reflects all of us.”

West End remains Deena’s spiritual home, even when she is performing far and wide. The last few years have seen her play throughout Australia, as well as the US, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Festivals such as the Caloundra Music Festival, Laura Street Festival, Scorcherfest, Music on the Glade and the Tet Festival (USA) have all cemented her position as the most exciting fresh face in Australia’s indie music scene. “West End is the friendly face of Australian art. There are so many great venues supporting live music, and I love the way that people randomly ‘pop in’ to see what’s happening and who’s playing. Plus, the food is great!”

The future for both Deena and West End appear intertwined. Pushing boundaries is the work of the artist. Maintaining a vibrant scene is the task of others. “Development in West End is a good thing, although it’s a shame that there is such a high turnover of venues. West End will always be Brisbane’s musical heart.”

Deena is at the top of her game. Gigs in and around West End are planned and a new single is out at the end of September. To share in the talent and discover more, visit www.deenamusic.com.

Words by Colin Bushell | Images Paige Vaughan