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EXCLUSIVE SHOOT: Rydel Lynch Cover Story


EXCLUSIVE SHOOT: Rydel Lynch Cover Story

The 22-year-old on life, love & being a role model

It’s no surprise that young women all over the world call Rydel Lynch their role model. But it’s not something she had to adjust to as R5’s popularity surged. “Ever since I was little, being at dance studios and acting in summer plays, I was always friends with the girls younger than me,” she explains. “They looked up to me and I was like their big sister.” Even now, she finds herself in the same position. “My brothers’ girlfriends are always younger than me, so I guess you could say I’m the leader.”

And while she’s happy to be a role model, she wasn’t always so sure about singing in front of an audience. “I was 15 when Riker and Rocky started jamming with Ellington,” she remembers. “I’d gotten home from dance late one night and they had learned ‘Get Back’ by Demi Lovato. They were like, ‘we learned it, come sing it.’ I was super embarrassed, mostly just to sing in front of Ellington. I was like no way! He’s my crush! But my mom told me to get up there and sing, so I overcame my stage fright and did it.”

Singing may have been one thing, but playing piano was a whole different animal. “I hadn’t played piano since I was five,” she laughs. “And I only did that for a year, so I couldn’t remember anything!” In R5’s early days, Rocky would tell her what keys to play and when. “I had no idea what I was playing; I just knew visually by looking at it,” she recalls. But even as Rydel got more comfortable behind the keyboard, she remained unsure about her role in the band. Then, one weekend, she attended an important dance competition instead of an R5 performance. “The boys came home and they were like, ‘Rydel! That was our worst show ever! We needed you so bad! We just missed you and it wasn’t the same!’ They were going on and on. I was like, wow, they need me! It felt empowering!” And with that, her uncertainty completely disappeared. However, her feelings for Ellington only continued to grow. “I had a crush on him since the beginning,” she says.

As her bond with Ellington grew stronger and stronger, R5 got bigger and bigger. The band went from jamming out at the Lynch home to playing state fairs to accomplishing what every band dreams of: getting a record deal. She’ll never forget the day the band signed its contracts. “I was like, wow, this is official,” she remembers. “I guess I better start practicing a little more!” And that’s the beautiful thing about Rydel – she may look like a movie star, and her band may be selling out venues all over the world, but she remains the same humble, happy-go-lucky girl from Colorado who was embarrassed to sing in front of her crush. When our phone conversation took place, Rydel was visiting her grandparents at their cabin in the mountains, with barely any cell service, and enjoying every second of playing cards, making quilts, and cooking homemade meals. “I just do me,” she laughs. “And people like that I guess!”

People don’t just like it; they love it, and now, Rydel has millions of followers on social media. “If you really, really think about it, I could send a tweet and it reaches all these people and it touches them and they feel something – just from something so small,” she says. “It’s so cool, and so humbling, but it’s so crazy – it’s on another level.”

R5’s latest album, Sometime Last Night, is on another level as well. Rydel is particularly proud of “Repeating Days,” which was written by Rocky, Ellington, and Ross. “The very first time I heard it, I was amazed,” she says. “I was like, wait just you three wrote this? The lyrics are so poetic. You really feel something when you listen to that song.”

It’s one of seven songs that the band wrote on the album, which would surprise those who perceive R5 to be a manufactured band, due to Ross’ roles on Disney Channel. “It’s a natural human thing to do, to construct an opinion without knowing anything,” she says. “We’ve come so far and each year our fan base gets bigger and people understand the real us.” Plus, that Disney connection has attracted some of Rydel’s favorite fans. “I love the little kids,” she laughs. “They’re precious. If we’re doing a meet and greet, and they come in and give me a big hug, I’m like oh my gosh, I never want you to leave!”  


Photographer: Joe Magnani

Story by: Colleen Broomall

Hair: Matilde Campos

Styling: Robiat Balogun (Jacket: Akris, Top: Alice & Olivia, Skirt: Maje, Shoes: Schutz)

Makeup: Joseph Adivari

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