To much of the world, she’s Lyn Lapid—an up-and-coming songwriter-musician with characteristically melodic vocals and captivating song premises. But to me, she’s Katelyn—a high school friend I endlessly bombard with texts about Reign and Toby Regbo.
I vividly recall one of the first times I witnessed Katelyn’s aptitude for music: a mutual friend’s birthday party, sophomore year of high school. No doubt an inconsequential moment in the grand scheme of things, but something I now realize was a precursor to my friend’s artistic journey. Much to her light-hearted dismay, our friends pleaded with Katelyn to pull out her ukulele and sing “Happy Birthday.” Strumming her way through the generic tune, Katelyn unknowingly elevated the song to the next level, incorporating her intrinsic flair and awe-inspiring pitch.
Flash forward to 2022, and Katelyn is now signed onto Republic Records—a record label boasting Taylor Swift and Conan Gray—after debuting her original songs on TikTok and quickly gaining popularity as ‘Lyn Lapid.’ She first shared a sample of “Producer Man,” a song in which she slams a music producer who tried (and failed) to undermine her as a young artist. After “Producer Man” became the most-viewed original song on TikTok in 2020, Lapid wrote and released “Itsy Bitsy,” a cynical take on the nursery rhyme of the same name, as well as “Infinite,” best described as the anthem for Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). Of late, the Filipino-American musician released “In My Mind,” a single she declares is ‘for the quiet kids’ and one that has gone viral on TikTok.
But even with three music videos under her belt, totaling nearly 13 million views, Lapid had yet to take to the stage until she began touring with Claire Rosinkranz in late 2021. Featuring stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C., and Brooklyn, the tour allowed Lapid to gain experience as a live performer, a vital step for any budding artist.
I attended Claire Rosinkranz’s concert at Songbyrd Music House in D.C., where Lapid opened the show with her original hits, as well as “I Guess That Was Goodbye” (an unreleased track), Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” and Toy Story 2’s (1999) “When She Loved Me.” With her strengths as both a vocalist and lyricist, alongside her emotion-evoking music and laid-back relationship with the audience, Lapid’s performance was both enlivening and emotional.
Despite any hesitation or uncertainty Lapid might carry as she paves her way through the music industry, the musician-songwriter continually makes one thing clear: she recognizes her strengths as a vocalist. In applying her music accordingly, Lapid elevates her proclivity for euphonious riffs, unbroken lines, and harmonious notes through supporting instrumentals. Setting the tone just before she takes to the stage, the opening of “Producer Man” is woven in, with echoey background vocals rooted in the faux crackle of radio static. Lapid establishes her musical prowess from the get-go, maintaining remarkable breath control and delivering every note crystal clear as she launches into the song. Likewise, during “Infinite,” a muffled beat underlies the song as Lapid’s ethereal, stacked harmonies build into the chorus, pairing beautifully with the uplifting piano incorporated to lighten the tone. The euphoric feeling established by “Infinite” is preserved surprisingly well onstage, aided by the drummer’s use of the snare and delicate cymbals. Even in “Itsy Bitsy,” a song one might claim is less complex amongst her repertoire, Lapid exemplifies familiarity with her vocalism: she breaks into a strong falsetto in the bridge, rising above the background music to ensure her voice is heard onstage. The rest of the song is sustained by impressive breath control through long, unbroken lines, a skill she exhibits time and time again.
When Lapid transitions into melancholy performances such as “I Guess That Was Goodbye” and “When She Loved Me,” neither emotion nor skill is jeopardized. She perfectly emulates the theme of “I Guess That Was Goodbye,” walking the fine line between bitter and sweet. Cymbals and an ascending vocal scale grow louder as Lapid builds to the chorus, harnessing the song’s sense of swelling emotion and captivating the audience. Seeing as ukuleles and delicate vocals are her specialty, the musician’s voice is incredibly well-suited for “When She Loved Me,” one of the first songs she became known for on the internet. The song itself is quiet in nature, but Lapid’s soft falsettos and electric ukulele work well in the concert venue.
Beyond Lapid’s impressive vocals, however, is the emotion and relatability woven into her songs—a perfect complement to the singer’s harmonious voice. True to the motif of “Producer Man,” Lapid cleverly conveys lyrics with a mocking tone, which, in turn, makes the audience passionate about her defiance against the unnamed ‘Producer Man.’ In regards to her way with lyrics, I recall feeling so alive during “Infinite” as everyone sang along to the lyrics, “Hanging out the side of fast cars / Wishing someone would break our hearts / Knowing that it’s in this moment / We are infinite.” Lyrics ultimately act by amplifying the aura of a song, and that is exactly what Lapid accomplishes here: the wistful and euphoric melody of “Infinite” is brought out in lyrics that paint a vivid picture of longing. Lines such as “I’m afraid I’ll give in before it begins” and “I’ve been living so vigilantly in time” encapsulate the fears and desires of the teenage experience, and I think that’s what enables “Infinite” to speak so well to Lapid’s demographic. The genius of “Itsy Bitsy,” a remarkably creative, dark twist on the spider-based nursery rhyme, also lies in its lyrics: “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout / Downed all the beer to drown the voices out / Up came the sun and brang back all the pain / So the itsy bitsy spider went out to drink again.” Manipulating well-known, childhood lyrics into a sardonic tune about alcoholism is a level of originality in its own right, but Lapid’s songwriting strengthens the catchiness of the song as well. “In My Mind” carries one of the most memorable choruses in her repertoire, with “People say I’m quiet most of the time / If only you knew what goes on in my mind” leading right into the beat drop. Lapid is not wrong when she says “In My Mind” is ‘for the quiet kids,’ and its lyrics perfectly symbolize that idea.
Lapid is no doubt brilliant at engaging with the audience through her music, skilled as a vocalist and meaningful as a lyricist. Especially relevant to live performances, however, is her candid and amicable relationship with the audience. Just before “I Guess That Was Goodbye,” Lapid takes a second to introduce the surprise song: an unreleased demo dedicated to her friends in the crowd, conveying her feeling of isolation when the rest of us left for college. She explains the sentiment of realizing too late that the world is moving on without you, as you settle into the panic of trying to slow down time between high school and college. Lapid’s decision to explain the meaning behind “I Guess That Was Goodbye” is a direct reflection of her desire to connect with the audience, something that becomes more evident as her set goes on. During “Love Story,” Lapid’s enthusiasm is absolutely infectious; she begins by jokingly asking if anyone has heard of this ‘little Taylor Swift song,’ before telling everyone to scream along. Despite her conversational approach to this portion of her set, Lapid’s singing remains consistent and withstands the lovable chaos. The excitement in the concert venue has peaked at this point, a pure, palpable energy that has everyone jumping along to the song. Afterwards, Lapid takes a moment to pull out her electric ukulele and allow the audience to calm down before transitioning into Toy Story 2’s “When She Loved Me,” an admittedly stark contrast to “Love Story.” Her ability to reign the audience in from the upbeat nature of “Love Story” to the melancholy feeling of “When She Loved Me” is telling, a true display of Lapid’s range as a live performer. By the time she has gotten to the last song in her set, it’s clear that the performer has grown comfortable with the crowd: Lapid doubles over with laughter when my friends and I accidentally yell lyrics at the wrong time, and even takes our friend’s phone from the audience to record the concert venue, all without a single falter in her singing.
Let me be crystal clear—I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t think my friend had immeasurable talent as a songwriter and musician. Lyn Lapid is only beginning her musical career, but she has already made monumental strides towards success as an artist—so do yourself a favor and stream her music in preparation for a second tour. Lapid is spectacular on Spotify, and even better live