Filmed by Laura McGuire
Audio recorded and mixed by Tom Hutchens
Produced and edited by Natalie Taylor & Alastair Burns
A screwed ankle at 16 meant Lakyn was out form skate boarding for at least eight months. (Don't worry: he's still skating plenty.) Instead, he picked up his guitar, a recent birthday gift from dad. Taking on Zeppelin's cover of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" and Kings Of Leon ("Taper Jean Girl", "Day Old Blues") tunes, Lakyn scrawled each song learned on a list under his bed covers, embracing picking techniques from watching Dylan (Lakyn's favourite number: "I Shall Be Released").
A year or so later, and Lakyn was writing his own material, demoing on GarageBand and uploading originals and covers to YouTube. "At the time I wasn't thinking about a career; I just wanted to write," he remembers. "I attempted a lot of styles at first, to try and find my own road, my own path." Music was about showing emotion, and being honest. Each of his YouTube clips quickly gained popularity, both for his choices as well as his interpretations, views growing in the tens of thousands. "I did an acoustic Biggie cover ["Juicy"] because that song meant a lot to me. People were saying, 'You should cover Katy Perry, you'd get a lot more views!', but that just wasn't me." (A cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe", however, was intended to "make the song listenable," Lakyn jokes.)
With the fan momentum behind each clip growing exponentially (several now reaching 300,000+ views), producers working on a brand new TV production sat up and took notice. The following day was the final round of auditions for their program: could Lakyn make it to Sydney? The show was "The Voice". Mentored by Joel Madden (Seal wanted him too), Lakyn made it through to the semi-finals covering MGMT and Youth Group, suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of TV production, record labels, management and media requests. "Before 'The Voice' I'd only done about four gigs that year," he admits. "I was a bit hesitant at first, but what I wanted to get out of it is exactly what I've been given -- I had to learn to make the right decisions."
With the rollercoaster ride of "The Voice" behind him, it was time for Lakyn to get back to doing what he does best: making music. He enlisted Evermore's Dann Hume on production, and in July the pair headed to Dann's studio, the Stables, in Gisborne, VIC. Over the next three months they recorded tracks like the recently penned "Better Than That" alongside early song "Cold Winter's Breeze".
Excited about pulling a band together and having recently hit the road in support of Evermore and "The Voice" winner Karise Eden, Lakyn says he can't wait for listeners to get a taste of what's next. Delivering upon his promise, for Lakyn, Better Than That is just the beginning. "I only want to make the music I want to make," Lakyn insists. "That's what this EP is all about: being genuine."