From playing the guitar to soothing her sick father to preparing for her first official live performance, this San Clemente High School senior has enjoyed how music has impacted her life trajectory.
Lindsay Coulson, 17, is in the budding stages of her music career and looks to release her second single, “Sweatshirt,” to streaming platforms Feb. 1. The track will come after Coulson received positive feedback from her debut song, “Special,” released in August and has amassed roughly 34,000 plays on Spotify.
“I’ve been struggling a lot over the past year, but I feel like I finally have a purpose,” Coulson told San Clemente Times about her future in music. “I feel like I can make a difference through my music.”
In anticipation of her upcoming single’s release and her Feb. 2 performance at San Clemente’s OC Tavern, she is partnering with the Orange County Rescue Mission to collect sweatshirts and other clothing for the underprivileged and unhoused populations.
Coulson said the idea of such a charity drive came together while she was picking up her own sweatshirts to use for the new record’s cover. Once she realized that she didn’t wear many of them, she thought she had an opportunity to donate gently used clothing to make a change.
Her first foray into music began around four years ago, Coulson said, when she taught herself to play the guitar by learning all her favorite songs. The inspiration came from her favorite artist, indie rock singer Phoebe Bridgers.
“I saw her playing the guitar on YouTube, and I was such a big fan of hers,” she said. “I thought, ‘If she can do it, I can do it, too.’”
She bonded with her father during his battle with cancer by playing his favorite songs for him. Eventually, at the beginning of 2022, she graduated to writing her own songs.
Coulson met her now-manager, Spencer Askin, while taking classes from Los Rios Rock School in San Juan Capistrano, where Askin taught. The two kept in touch as her music skills progressed, and he started to help her by playing most of the instruments for her recordings.
“He just helps me through everything, like booking shows and all of that,” said Coulson. “He’s super funny and a great guy, and I’m so lucky that I have him in my life because I wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”
With Bridgers and other artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy as lifelong sources of inspiration and music, the young singer said it was easy to find her sound quickly.
Combine that with her favorite act of throwing up the ubiquitous hand symbol for rock music, in which the index and pinky fingers are extended, and Coulson’s joking self-description as a “rock chick” has come to fruition,
“At this point, it’s really not a joke, it’s just who I am,” she said. “I love playing music and recording music. It’s become my personality at this point.”
Following the release of “Special,” which was a more upbeat song about a relationship she was in, Coulson said “Sweatshirt” is slower and sadder.
“It’s really about a relationship ending but still having hope that maybe in the future when you’re older and more mature … one day, things can be rekindled and it won’t hurt so bad anymore,” she said.
Coulson added that she was “super excited” for people to hear it.
For her show at OC Tavern, she’ll be performing with her Wool Club bandmate and fellow Triton, Logan Zanella. All profits will be donated to the OC Rescue Mission.
“I’m hoping a lot of people show up, and not for me, but for a bigger purpose,” said Coulson. “It’s not just about the music. I love that there’s a purpose behind it.”
She is also in the process of making her first EP, “Believe It,” which has an unknown release date but six songs that are already prepared to be on the record.
Coulson said she’s hopeful for her music career.
“My goal is that if one person can listen to my song and relate to it, then I’ve done my job,” she said.
To contact Coulson about contributing to the clothing drive, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets to the OC Tavern show on Feb. 2 are $5, and options for additional donations will be available.