Shattering Monotony with Lena Fine

Lena Fine is an authentic singer and songwriter making indie-folk tracks that invoke a sense of nostalgia for young coming-of-age people. Inspired by Pinegrove’s sound, Soccer Mommy’s relatability, and Joni Mitchell’s storytelling ability, Lena Fine’s relatable lyrics, and dazzling vocals have been compared to that of Lucy Dacus and Julia Jacklin.

Though she grew up in Montclair, NJ, Fine is currently based in Philadelphia, PA, where she attends Drexel University. She started pursuing original music when she was 14 and says “I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, but I wrote my first song that really stuck with me when I was fourteen. I’ve been singing since I was seven, but finding something that clicked and that people actually wanted to hear made me realize it was pretty much all I wanted to do.” Lena aims to create authentic music for whoever it may resonate with. In high school, Fine worked with producer Jake Weinberg of CRITTER, and has begun working with other producers in Philadelphia.

Having previously released three full-length albums, Lena Fine is currently working on new music with producers Bay Dupuy and Robert Fine, set to release in Summer 2021. She has two upcoming performances, including Drexel Flux’s Lawn Jawn online concert in May 2021.

Outlander: How did you get your start in music?

Lena Fine: I started singing when I was 7 and writing music seriously when I was 14. I had written songs before that but they were all kind of silly; it wasn’t until I was 14 that I wrote a few that I thought could be something real. Since then, I never really stopped and it’s just been a constant. 

O: Is there an artist that you look up to, whether it be someone who motivated you to begin your music career or someone whose work inspires you today?

L: Joni Mitchell’s and The Chicks’ storytelling abilities were always very striking to me. Though they’re very different sonically, I remember listening to both when I was little and wanting so badly to be able to do what they could. 

O: If you had to describe your work in three words, what would they be and why?

L: Poignant, introspective, honest.

O: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

L: Either when I finish writing a song and I just want to play it all the time, or when I’m recording and adding harmonies. There’s something about figuring out harmonies that’s incredibly therapeutic for me.

O: If you only had one sentence to pitch “Dance Partner,” what would it be?

L: It’s a song that makes it okay to romanticize the idea of someone.

O: As you are studying Screenwriting at Drexel University, how has your songwriting been influenced by your screenwriting and vice versa?

L: I think in both screenwriting and songwriting the goal is ultimately the same: make the audience feel something and connect. I think my songwriting is a lot more introspective because it’s all about me and my own feelings, whereas in screenwriting I kind of have more room to figure things out about myself and the world around me through different characters and voices. 

O: Since you wrote “Dance Partner” during a time of suffocating mundanity and desperation, do you want your listeners to find solace through your new single?

L: I hope so! The song can get a bit sad and I don’t want it to be a total downer. I think it will be interesting for the audience to interpret a song that was written during the height of the pandemic as we slowly start to come out of it. Everything’s opening back up and I think it will be interesting to see if those feelings in the song are more universal than just that isolated moment in time.

O: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your creative journey?

L: Making everything in my head tangible! Especially with recording, it can get really frustrating not knowing how to communicate the way I hear things in my head, and it taking longer than expected to bring all the sounds to fruition. It’s always worth the wait, though!
You mention that you first wrote your first song at 14 which jumpstarted your music career.

O: Can you tell us a little about your first song and how it helped you realize you wanted to keep writing?

L: One of the first songs I wrote that felt like a real track was “Boy in the City.” I think it was really good for me to be 14 and full of angst and kind of only having one place to put it, which was music. I had been singing for a while at that point and it sort of felt like an extension of myself, so writing music felt like the logical place to go. Once I wrote that, and it became a song I actually wanted to listen to, I started to think that maybe there was something worthwhile about it all. 

O: Out of all the songs you have written, which would you say resonates with you the most?

L: Either “Bittersweet” or “Thus Far.” I wrote “Bittersweet” at a time when everything felt like it was ending: my brother was leaving for college and everything felt like it was about to change. A lot of the song is forcing myself to see the good in the endings, but also just being honest about how sad it all is. “Thus Far” was really good for me to write because it forced me to take a step back and think about things differently. I wrote it as I was coming to the end of my senior year in high school and was just in this headspace of running out of time and remembering the things I could have savored more. I think I constantly feel like I’m running out of time, so it’s nice that I made something for myself that reminds me to stop once in a while. 

O: If you could give advice to other aspiring musicians from what you’ve learned, what would it be?

L: Always make sure you’re doing it for yourself! If you’re not in it enough, it’s not worth it and it’s not going to be a true reflection of who you are. 

O: What are you most looking forward to after the release of your new single, “Dance Partner”?

L: Working on and sharing the rest of the album! 

O: Do you have any upcoming projects that we should look out for?

L: I am working on an album that should be out later this year!

Thank you so much to Lena and Dime + Dog Records for sitting down to chat with us! We hope you feel inspired hearing about Lena’s story and creative journey. If you want to keep up with Lena’s latest adventures, make sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok!