Wynn's win? Success surprises city songstress

Unless you plan to join the celestial choir, a Winchester church may not be the best place for your musical debut. But that's where Robin Wynn, up and coming acoustic rocker, sang her first notes.

Now she finds herself, without any real past musical background besides "a John Denver album," in the semi-finals of a contest sponsored by Mountain Stage, the radio program credited with boosting the careers of Ani DiFranco, the Barenaked Ladies, and Ryan Adams.

Wynn says her song "Broken Sky" is about "being in a relationship but feeling alone and wanting to wake the other person up."

"Everyone is touched by it," says her label spokesman, Steve Momorella.

On Wednesday, May 18, after The Hook goes to press, Wynn travels to Bethesda, Maryland, to perform the song in the fourth annual Mountain Stage NewSong contest.

She says it was not until moving to Charlottesville in 1998 that she began to seriously pursue music. With a full time job in social services and a young child to raise, Wynn took three guitar lessons and then taught herself enough to enable her to begin writing her own songs.

She credits the Charlottesville community with encouraging her to stick with music, noting that "There are so many people to play with." She has performed at such venues as Starr Hill and the Gravity Lounge.

Wynn, who turns 30 on Saturday, works with her fiancé, musician Mark Goldstein, producer of OneTrueVibe Records, an independent label in Charlottesville that produced Robin's first CD, Oblivion.

The couple met while performing at Baja Bean in 1999. Wynn performs solo, as a duo with Goldstein, or accompanied by a five-piece band.

OneTrueVibe will release an EP at the end of July featuring "Broken Sky," with plans for a second CD to be released in December.

Mountain Stage, located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, has showcased performers such as Allison Krauss and Lyle Lovett. According to a release, the final round of the contest will be broadcast on more than 200 radio and TV stations worldwide.

Wynn currently works full time in social services, but she'll leave that job June 20 to play her music full time. Success on May 18 could mean qualifying for NewSong regional finals and potentially the national finals in late August.

The recent successes are hard for even Wynn to acknowledge. She didn't realize she was accepted into the semi-final round until she got an email from a fellow musician listing the winners.

Reading her name, Wynn says she wondered, "Is there another Robin Wynn in Charlottesville?"

Robin Wynn

Success surprised even her