For the past year, Cecilia Witt's life has been a blur of school, band practice and performances. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter, who goes by "Cc," has been cutting her teeth on the Savannah music scene as a solo artist and as lead singer for the band Lyn Avenue.
There are many days when Witt goes straight from class at Armstrong Atlantic State University, where she studies graphic design, to gigs around town. Two or three times a week she'll sing solo acts, with the weekends reserved for Lyn Avenue performances. Then there's homework, practice, designing fliers and keeping up with nearly 15 social media accounts.
It's a hellish agenda to maintain, Witt said, and it requires a heck of a lot of determination. And coffee. Lots of coffee.
"In the past year we've been trying to take it to the next level professionally," Witt said of Lyn Avenue. "We were kind of at garage-band status the past two years."
The band, which formed in 2010, has Witt on vocals, her boyfriend, Patrick Ellington, on guitar, Jance Renteria on bass and Randy Cuba on drums. All four attend Armstrong together.
The group started as a pop band, playing in basement bars in Savannah and earning experience but very little money. They released a self-titled EP and took it to local record labels, only to be politely told they were too green to sign.
It wasn't until Witt wrote a country ballad that Lyn Avenue decided to change musical directions.
"We changed over to the country stuff and people really started liking it," Witt said. The band gradually dropped their pop songs from sets and added country covers like "Folsom Prison Blues," an instant crowd favorite.
"We stopped trying to run from our roots," Witt said.
Now Witt usually sports cowboy boots on stage. Her voice, clear and sweet, is not far from the likes of Taylor Swift, an artist who has successfully merged pop and country in her music. Witt doesn't do Swift covers, though. Her musical influences are closer to Miranda Lambert and Kimberly Perry from The Band Perry, she said.
Lyn Avenue played at the Bluffton Arts and Seafood festival in October, and Witt will be performing at The Farmers Market of Bluffton on Nov. 21.
Plans for the group include recording a full-length album, titled "The Other Side," this winter. They have a campaign on online crowd-funding platform Indiegogo to raise funds for the record. They've raised about $1,400 of their $5,000 goal so far, Witt said.
The band will have a CD release party March 1 at Dubs Pub in Savannah, and will then go to Nashville over spring break to pitch their new CD to the country record labels there.
"It's really nerve-wracking, but at the same time really exciting," Witt said, "because we could either get lost or get found."
Follow Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.