By Lauren Kirchmyer
Imagine your fifth grade self, standing alone on stage with nothing but a microphone. The lights are shining down on you as hundreds of eyes stare, waiting for you to sing.
When it was Jennafer Lynsey’s moment to take the stage in her fifth grade talent show, she was excited to share her voice, something she hid up until that moment in time. A backtrack began to play Queen’s “Somebody to Love” as she sang along, blowing the audience, and her unsuspecting parents, away.
“I didn’t realize that girl had that voice and everything inside her,” her father, David Pochatko, said.
Jennafer knew at that moment music was her passion and began writing her own songs, picking up guitar and piano when she found time. Though her mom, Judi, knew Jenn was working hard on her music, David was kept in the dark.
“I wanted to keep it to myself and grow at my own rate,” Jenn said. “I wanted to be who I wanted to be and I wanted to do it my own way, so I sat in my room and wrote songs.”
She didn’t want to play for her dad until she felt completely ready. The day arrived late 2013.
“One day she came downstairs and said, ‘Dad, I want to sing you a song,’” David recalled. Her hands were shaking and she felt terrified as she sang him a song she wrote about her bullying experiences, accompanied by basic strumming on her guitar.
“She sang me the song and I knew it was time to take the next step,” David said.
They began networking and finding local performing opportunities. The pop-rock singer soon began playing at open mic nights around town and made her way to stages at festivals such as Music is Art in Buffalo and HollowFest in Clarence. She even performed at The Forvm in Amherst, including the opportunity to open for Aaron Carter and Jeff Timmons.
The now 18 year old graduated from Clarence High School in June and moved to her new home in Nashville, Tenn. on July 6.
“We miss her but you can’t make it in Buffalo. You have to go one of the centers of music,” David said.
“I can’t describe how it feels when you have a child and see them work with the enthusiasm Jenn has towards achieving that dream and going over all these obstacles. It’s exciting for me and makes me feel good that she’s happy and loving what she does,” Judi said as she turned to look at her independent baby girl. “I’m really happy for you.”
“Awe, thanks mom,” Jenn replied with an ear-to-ear grin on her face.
Since moving, Jenn has been working with many songwriters, including Jonathan Jackson from the ABC series “Nashville.” She is managed by Mike Kraski of Tenacity Management and Consulting, has her own website, and is excited for her lyric and music videos to come out in the near future promoting her demo songs.
She hopes to play for thousands of fans someday and continue inspiring people with her music. Her dream is to sell out Wembley Stadium in London, England.
“I have tattoos and my dad doesn’t, so we made a deal that if I sell out Wembley Stadium he’ll get a tattoo,” she teased.
Though Wembley Stadium may be a while away, Jennafer is excited to return home to play at Buffalo Iron Works. The all-ages show begins at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26 and tickets are available for $5 at the door and online. Jennafer is also one of three singers performing at the Buffalo New Year’s Eve Ball Drop this year.
“Buffalo helped me start off. It has such a huge support system for music here,” she said. “They really want you to succeed in your music and I really appreciate that.”