Lyn Besse McGinnis

LYN Besse (maiden name - pronounced BessEE) McGinnis (married name) is a blue sky prairie girl from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada.  

One woman, one guitar & a suitcase full of original songs.  

From singalongs to soulful ballads, Lyn's song are wrapped around a good story and served up with distinctive vocals & a little sass on the side.

Lyn got her first guitar at 12 for $10 and a stick of gum. Originally a closet singer/songwriter, Lyn finally took her music out of the bathroom (best acoustics in the house) to the rest of the world after attending her first songwriting workshop with Kim Fontaine, David j Taylor & Jay Semko and went on to record her single song CD The cardinal in the window in 2007 to raise money for cancer research, followed by her full length debut album All Over the Map in 2009The album title answers the question "so Lyn, what kind of songs do you write?".   Lyn credits Kim Fontaine, Jay Semko & David j Taylor for inspiring, motivating and mentoring her out of the bathroom!

Her 2nd album Next Time Around was released in October 2013 and was nominated for the 2014 Saskatchewan Country Music Association's ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR!  In 2014, Lyn released her single song The Veil of Tamar - check out the blog story on this one.  

Her 3rd album A Simple Life was digitally released in October 2018 with a physical release in 2019 & nominated for the 2019 Saskatchewan Country Music Association's ALBUM OF THE YEAR.   Lyn released her first "real" music video on Christmas Eve 2018 for the song You Shine.

The bathroom sessions continue....

Lyn's songs So it begins & I Waited for You were both written as wedding gifts; recorded on a Zoom H4 in her bathroom; and later mastered along with the other songs on All Over the Map & Next Time Around.

Right after her showcase at the 2009 Saskatchewan Country Music Awards playing songs from All Over the Map, Lyn sold a CD to Deborah Lauren, a prairie country legend, in the Ladies Room.  "The music is finally out there but now I'm marketing in the bathroom!" 

Following her participation at the 2017 Saskatchewan Country Music Awards Songwriters Circle, a fan approached her in the Ladies Room about a House Concert.  "And now I'm booking shows in the bathroom!"



       - Semi-finalist in the 2020 US Songwriting Competition​​​​​​

       - Semi-finalist in the 2020 UK Songwriting Contest

- Nominated for Album of the Year (A Simple Life) - Saskatchewan Country Music Awards 2019

- Organizer and Participant in the Songwriters' Circle at the 2019 Saskatchewan Country Music Awards in Saskatoon April 2019

- Semi-finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition (announced in April 2017)

- Participant in the Songwriters Circle at the 2017 Saskatchewan Country Music Awards in Saskatoon March   2017

- Four songs recorded by other Canadian artists

- Finalist (I'll Hang the Moon) & semi-finalist (The Veil of Tamar) in the 2014 UK Songwriting Contest

- 2014 SaskMusic grant for a single song recording (The Veil of Tamar)

- Nominated for Roots Album of the Year (Next Time Around) & Emerging Artist - 2014 Saskatchewan Country   Music Awards

- Co-facilitated a songwriting workshop through Sound Advice at the 2013 Juno's in Regina SK

- Won an international lyric writing contest through SongLink in 2012


Look for Lyn in her favourite venues - house concerts, coffee houses, songwriting circles & other intimate settings.  Lyn is also pitching her songs to other artists, TV & film & other artists; teaching songwriting; and developing commercial partnerships.  And, of course, writing new songs!


2016-2018 Shows Around Saskatchewan 

2013 "Next Time Around Tour" included shows in Saskatoon, Regina, Hope BC & Lund BC.

2010 "Gypsy as I Go All Over the Map Tour" with Cathleen Lesperance was billed as Two Women, One Convertible & A Whole Lotta Music!  Playing intimate venues, Lyn developed a comfortable rapport with her audience; sharing the stories behind the songs & they all have a story.  


Lyn has written songs in many genres and has notebooks full of hooks, ideas & phrases as well as a cell phone full of recorded la de da melodies.   She has co-written in person/online; with one or more co-writers & large groups; locally, nationally & internationally. 

Songs 4 Nature organized through buddy Dr. Glenn Sutter at Royal Sask Museum is her yearly songwriting retreat.  A long weekend immersed in nature & creativity at locations around Saskatchewan.  

Lyn started off attending songwriting classes and then went on to teach.  Assisted with facilitator duties at the University of Saskatchewan USCAD Songwriting I and II Workshops in 2009 & 2010; at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus Songwriters' Retreat in 2010 with Jay Semko, David j Taylor and Kim Fontaine; & in 2012 with Dean McTaggart and Kim Fontaine.  Lyn partnered with Kim Fontaine to offer a one day Songwriting Workshop through Sound Advice as part of 2013 Juno Week in Regina.  In June 2014 & 2016, Lyn faciliated songwriting workshops  - THE ART & CRAFT OF SONGWRITING with students from Amy Nelson's Sing Like a Star Studios in Regina.  

Striving to be a lifelong learner, in April 2013 Lyn completed a 6 week online songwriting course offered by Pat Pattison through the Berless College of Music in Boston. (RIP Pat...we miss you)

In 2012, Lyn won an International Lyric Writing Contest advertised through SONGLINK INTERNATIONAL (based in the U.K.).  Songwriters from around the world submitted lyrics to an established melody written by Ronnie Hedderwick, a composer from Spain.  Lyn won, received a cash prize & retained writer credit for the collaboration entitled "I'll Hang the Moon".  Ronnie surprised Lyn by having a demo made in London, England with the perfect young voice.    The song was a finalist in the 2014 UK Songwriting Competition.  


SOCAN, Songwriter's Association of Canada; SaskMusic; Folk Music Canada; Folk Alliance International; Canadian Country Music Association; Saskatchewan Country Music Association; the Canadian Academy of Recording Artists & Science (CARAS); & the Canadian Independent Recording Artists'Association (CIRAA).


Lyn is a songwriter always; a sometimes singer; a life long traveler; a total beach bum; a bicycle and motorcycle rider; a passionate but uneducated gardener; a speaker of passable French and fluent pig latin; and a lover of reading, movies, and cooking when she feels like it.  Lyn can't do geometry or whistle; detests clutter and lineups; seeks simplicity but often creates havoc; and is well known to do things she's totally afraid of just so she knows she alive!  Latest adventure - learning to surf in Hawaii.  Next up...skydiving!

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