Freshman on track for R&B stardom



Amy Cooknick

Londyn Goines lives for the spotlight.

Since writing her first song when she was 9 years old, Goines, freshman music major, has grown in talent and ambition, turning her passion for music into a serious career.

In 2009, Goines released her first album, a three-track CD entitled “Young Girl.” All of the songs on the CD are written by Goines, including the title track, which she wrote as an inspirational message for women.

This spring, Goines is repeating the feat with the release of her second album. Like the first, this CD features all original songs that showcase Goines’ emerging style.

“I’d say I’m more of a pop/R&B (singer), and I really like some neo-soul stuff,” Goines said.

She compares her “pop side” to Beyonce, drawing on Beyonce’s dance moves as inspiration for her own stage performances. Alicia Keys influences Goines’s R&B leanings and devotion to piano, and Erykah Badu’s neo-soul style has helped Goines to find her own style.

“Hence the Afro,” Goines laughed, indicating her Badu-inspired ‘do.

The upcoming album, tentatively scheduled for a March release and so far untitled, is the result of four months of writing and recording. Goines anticipates that the CD will include around 12 to 14 songs.

Like her debut album, the new CD will be released under the label Image Productions, the company founded and owned by her parents, Brenda and Leonard.

When planning a CD, Goines said that she doesn’t focus on the whole collection at once.

“I have to take it song by song,” she said. “I’ll just put that down on paper, and then as I come up with new ideas, I just keep coming back to that sheet of paper.”

Goines collects songs in a notebook as she works on them, and once she feels a song is ready, she prepares to add it to the CD.

No one, other than Goines’ few closest friends, is allowed to hear a song until she is fully satisfied with it as a final product. Even her family members are refused a listen.

She laughed when asked how she knows a song is ready to record.

“I’ve said all I need to say and then the beat is over,” Goines said.

Goines’ budding musical career is the result of a lifetime love for performing and a firm dedication to bettering herself as an artist.

“I’ve always liked the spotlight since as long as I can remember,” Goines said. “And I’ve always liked writing and playing piano and singing.”

Goines has musical talent in her blood. Her cousin Mickey McGill is an original member of The Dells, a soul group formed in the 1950s and still performing today. Although McGill is the only member of Goines’ family to make a career singing, besides Goines, everyone in the family shares a passion for music.

So even though Goines’ family was never able to afford voice lessons for her, they still gave her many opportunities to sing.

While doing chores around the house, Goines would harmonize with the other members of her family to make their work go faster.

At church, Goines and her mother led the music for Sunday morning worship. In high school, Goines was a three-year member of the Twinsburg High School Great Expectations Show Choir. At age 16, Goines performed on her own in front of her first live audience.

Goines credited Great Expectations with helping her to improve the performance aspect of her solo shows by getting her comfortable with the dramatic side of performing for a large audience. She described performing with Great Expectations and performing as a soloist as “very similar, except for now the spotlight’s all on me instead of a choir of kids.”

Currently, Goines performs with the Kent State Women’s Chorus in addition to her solo work.

Since 2009, Goines has performed in Cleveland at Luke Easter Park, IngenuityFest and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among other venues.

She has lost count of the number of solo shows she has done, but her favorite was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2010 where she performed in front of a crowd of thousands.

In addition to performing solo, Goines has opened for acts such as Eric Roberson, Morris Day and The Time and The Temptations.

While working around such esteemed acts seems like it would invite the opportunity to ask questions of the experts in her field, Goines said there really isn’t time for such interaction when she is opening for an act.

“Usually behind stage and behind the scenes, it’s like a lot of rush, rush all the time ‘cause somebody else is always going up, and then you have to get out of their way so that they can just have the space to chill and breathe,” she said.

Goines learns the most from the overall experience, although she does get to interact some with her headlining acts.

On stage, Goines admits to going through performance jitters, but said that they never hurt her act.

“I get the good kind of nervous where it’s just like, ‘OK, I’m tired of waiting.’ The waiting process is the worst for me. I just want to get up there and do it, and when I get down, I want to do it again.”

She prepares for performances by keeping her lips sealed until show time. She does vocal warm-ups but always refuses to talk until her performance.

“I have to go and be by myself and relax,” Goines said. “If I’m stressed out, then the whole performance I feel won’t go my best and it’s just bad.”

What stresses her out the most, though, is not the crowds, but the clothes. Deciding what to wear for each show is the hardest part of Goines’ job, she said. She’s still trying to find her signature wardrobe for performances.

Once she steps on stage, however, wardrobe worries never hold Goines back.

“I love the adrenaline rush and just kind of moving the audience’s emotions just with what I say and the songs I sing,” Goines said. “I like being in the spotlight, performing, being on stage and under the lights.”

The next crowd Goines hopes to share her talents with is the Kent State audience. She is working on getting a show on campus soon.

Goines’ music major allows her to focus most of her time on bettering her music and performances and on reaching her ultimate goal of being nationally recognized.

“In five or 10 years, I plan to be on the national stage and be on TV and really be seen in the spotlight, making lots of hits and songs and CDs,” Goines said.

Her goals are high and her ambition is clear, but Goines remains humble and appreciative of where she is and the family and friends who have helped her to get here.

Goines advises her fellow students to stay focused if they want to achieve their goals.

“Don’t let other people’s words or opinions sway you,” Goines said. “Just stay focused and do what you do.”

Contact Amy Cooknick at [email protected].