Singer, Songwriter, Author, Actress, Designer & More Talks About It All!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 14:57

An Interview with Lisa Loeb

by: Casey Pukl

Is there anything Lisa Loeb can’t do? I think you’d be hard pressed to find something. Not only is this queen of the 1990’s pop charts working on a new album, but she’s also writing children’s books, recording children’s songs, designing eyewear, acting, and to top it all off, she’s pregnant again!

Prior to Lisa’s show here this week with Jill Sobule, I had the chance to catch up with her and find out what she’s been up to, and some great information about her show here on Friday!

CP: Before we get started, I just want to say congratulations! I heard that you’re pregnant again!

LL: I am! Thank you! It’s really exciting and interesting and wonderful being a mother of a two year old, so it’ll be an even more different and interesting experience having two kids!

CP: I know you’ve been doing a lot of children’s music and books recently, so do you think that this will take you even further down that road?

LL: Probably. It’s funny; it was really more by coincidence than by plan that I started doing kid’s music before I had kids. But I’m learning more about what I think kids might want now after having a daughter. But I was doing kid’s music just because I like good kid’s music, and I wanted to try and make some.

CP: Parent-friendly kid’s music is always appreciated!

LL: Exactly.

CP: I’d love to get into what you’ve been up to lately. 

LL: I’ve been playing concerts here and there, a little less touring than normal just because I’m working on a new album. Also, with a two-year-old daughter, it’s a little harder to get out on the road, but I’ve been working on a new album that should be out later this year with Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory. It’s a punchy poppy/rock record. And I’ll be playing some songs from that at the shows in San Diego for sure— the acoustic versions, not the ones with the full band obviously. So I’ve been working on that record; we just finished mixing it, so I’m very excited about that.

Then I put a kid’s book out in October with a record called “Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs”, so I’ve been promoting that a little bit and playing some concerts for that. And then I also have an additional kid’s book coming out this next October, which is kind of a follow up to the one that is already out, along with a collection of movement songs.

I’ve also been doing a lot of voice-overs for TV commercials and some for animated TV shows. I’ve also been doing a tiny bit of acting. I was in the movie “Fright Night” that came out last year, and some other projects. And then there’s my eyewear line! I’ve been designing some new eyewear with a company that’s actually based down in San Diego.

CP: I have to admit, I’ve been eyeing a set of frames in your collection for a few weeks now. 

LL: That’s awesome! We have some new styles coming out in the spring, which will be really cool. We’re actually doing a photo shoot with the new ones that I’m really excited about. I’ve been doing a lot of different projects.

CP: How did you find yourself getting into so many different avenues? Was it something that just came really naturally to you?

LL: Yeah. I just do what I like to do. It’s a combination of things that I create and come up with, and things that people ask me if I’m interested in doing, and they bring things to me. Luckily we’re in a time and age where a musician can do more and be more than just a musician without it saying anything bad about the music. I remember back in the 90’s when being a musician, if you mentioned wanting to do other things beyond being a musician, people were a little bit doubtful about that. I don’t think people understood that musicians might do other things besides play music.

But nowadays I think it’s almost expected, and now it’s normal. It’s nice that the general public opinion lines up with what I love to do. Along the way I had a cooking show, and I still love cooking; I’m working on a project that has to do with cooking. I love making music, but I also love collaborating with different people on different types of projects. 

CP: I think it’s really cool that you’ve embraced this whole shift to really branding yourself more so than just yourself as a musician. The whole business has really shifted toward that angle of really branding yourself and all of the things that you love to do.

LL: Yeah, more and more. It really spans the range. I was at the NAMM trade show hanging out with a lot of rock and roll guitar players, and then the next day, I was at a librarian conference promoting my kids book and hanging out with librarians (laughs). But that’s all very normal. On the surface it looks like two groups that are very different, but there’s a cross section where you realize it’s similar.  There are so many people with different interests, and I think it’s fun to be able to go in and tell my story and hear other people’s stories. I like working with different types of people.

CP: Going back a bit, if I read this correctly, you are still the only artist to ever have a number one Billboard single without being signed to a record label, correct?

LL: That’s what I understand. It’s been wonderful to have such an independent start. It’s always given me the confidence to do things the way I feel like they need to be done. I think it’s important to take advantage of the music business and how things work. I always try to keep on top of the best way to put records out and promote them, but I think just having that independent spirit helps. I come from a place, I think a lot of musicians do, wanting to make music in a certain way, and then they figure out how to sell it.

CP: Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process?

LL: I’ve written music ever since I was six years old, and part of it is sitting down with the guitar, or when I was younger the piano, but sitting down, messing around, coming up with things that sound cool, and putting words to them. Other times words come to me, and I want to put music to it. But different elements of a song come to me at different times, either because I’m sitting down looking for it on purpose, or just because I’m walking around and something pops into my head.

There’s a process that I call, “doing your homework,” which just involves sitting down, figuring out what you’re actually writing about, and finishing the song. Sometimes that process is faster when I collaborate with other people, sometimes it’s a little bit less painful, so I’ve been collaborating more and more over the last ten years. On my kid’s music, I’ve been collaborating with Michelle Lewis and Dan Petty, and I’ve collaborated with a lot of other songwriters, but I still write by myself. Like I said, recently I collaborated with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory; we wrote some songs together. But it’s just a process. It’s not an easy process for me. It usually takes some time and some patience and focus. I wish I could figure out exactly how it works.

CP: I think we all wish we could boil it down to a science.

LL: Yeah, but unfortunately it’s not science. It’s an art, and then there’s an element to finishing a song that makes it a craft. You have to be able to edit things. I don’t usually just sit and write a bunch of lyrics. It’s a process.

CP: Sure. I’d love to go back into the new record you’ve been working on with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory. Do you think this is a big departure from some of the records you’ve done before?

LL: I think for people who know my music really well, they’re not going to think it’s a drastic departure, but for people who know my music more from my handful of songs that have been on the radio, they’ll think it’s a poppy/punky/rock record than what they’ve heard. I’ll talk about it more when the album is actually out.

CP: What are you most looking forward to about coming to Anthology?

LL: I’ve heard that the club is a great place for songwriters to perform. I also love Jill Sobule. She’s one of my favorite people, and I’m really excited to be sharing the bill with her. So I’m looking forward to that, and sharing new songs, older songs, and everything else in an intimate setting. I’m actually taking requests for the show, so if people want to request something, they can tweet me @LisaLoeb!

Special thanks to Lisa for her time! Be sure to tweet your requests to her before the show!

Lisa Loeb on Spotify

WHAT: Lisa Loeb w. Jill Sobule
WHEN: Friday, February 3, 2012, 7:30 & 9:30pm
TICKETS: $10-$49 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile