Listening to Lisa Loeb’s music today, makes me nostalgic for all the times she came to my rescue as a teen. I didn’t connect with any of the perky pop at the time, and didn’t have much of a patience for the doom and gloom of the grunge scene. I wanted a singer who could sing about heartache and still wrap her voice around a sweetened-up tune. Which is why I felt so lucky when I stumbled upon Lisa’s wispy hit single “Stay” one evening on MTV. Finally, a singer who had a lot of feelings, but not the kind that made her slit her wrists for her audience or throw her cat across the stage.
Indeed, Lisa seemed more interested in getting to know her listeners than putting on a show for them. When I played her songs, she seemed to be right there with me, in my bedroom, assuring me it would all be okay and that she emotes about boys a lot too. It was embarrassing feeling so fully in sync with someone I didn’t even know. It also felt selfish because Lisa had helped me sort out these different emotional dilemmas and all I could do for her was buy her album. And I didn’t even really do that because I had just snatched it off of Limewire. I’m sorry Lisa!
Fifteen years later (yeah, I know…) I finally had a chance to email Lisa for this interview with HelloGiggles. I was too shy to tell her how much she meant to me as a teen, but I did get to gab with her about her new baby, her upcoming album and that time she mistook Zac Efron for a Jonas brother.
Hi Lisa! Thank you for chatting with me right after having your second baby. Mazel tov! How is baby Emet doing?
Emet is doing great, thanks! Eating, sleeping, burping and all of those cute baby activities.
Is your daughter Lyla Rose excited to have another kid in the house?
She’s very excited to be a big sister. We’re still figuring out all of the scheduling between the two of them. Sometimes it’s a little tough when bedtime reading comes at the same time that the baby needs to be fed, but we’re just learning about how to work it out.
Tell me about your transition to writing children’s music. Was it difficult for you to write songs that were lighter and bouncier? Did you ever just want to throw some heartache in there?
It’s really fun to write children’s music. There’s more of a focus on telling a very specific and visual story. It’s more imaginative and sometimes has more silly rhymes and images than in my grownup music. For the most part I’ve written the kids’ music in collaboration with other great writers, which makes it more social than writing grownup music alone. I keep the heartache for the grownups.
Sorry but I have to ask: Who was “Stay” about?
“Stay” was written loosely about someone I was dating at the time. There are parts in the song that are more autobiographical than I normally write!
There are parts about feelings that are true, but as a songwriter, I like keeping the facts and fiction to myself. I hope the listener will connect with the song the way they feel like they should. Especially when most songs have an imaginative/crafted element, unless we go into each song, each line, each word, and all the details, it’s really hard to take it apart. Kind of like unmixing purple to get red and blue.
Were you nervous about the boy’s reaction to the song?
I wasn’t that nervous about it, since we were working together at the time. I think some people understand that when a song is written about them, it’s flattering because it shows that it’s a very important relationship, even if it’s not about all of the positive elements of that relationship.
Have you ever removed a lyric from a song because it was too personal?
I have twisted lyrics while writing them so that the negative emotion is turned into a powerful positive one, but usually songs are inspired by personal things rather than being literal.
What is the most embarrassing conversation you’ve ever had?
That’s an interesting question. I think the time I confused Zac Efron for one of the Jonas Brothers was super embarrassing, but because of the confusion it was a short interaction instead of a conversation.
Lol was he upset about it?
He wasn’t too upset- he was more factual. He said, “No, those are the Jonas Brothers.” But not rudely at all.
If you could make your own girl band, who would be in it?
I love playing with Maia Sharp and Jill Sobule. I also love Rickie Lee Jones and the ladies from the Go-Go’s. I’m not sure if that would make a great girls band, but those are some of my favorites. Ooh! and I love Imogen Heap and Maria McKee’s emotional solo records, and recently got to record some songs with Tegan Quin from Tegan and Sara. She’s really talented too.
If you were to write a song lyric about how you are feeling right now, what would it be?
Something about being sleepy and wanting to head upstairs to play with my daughter, but trying to finish up a feeding with my baby son. See… that’s why I don’t write literally about my life. That’s not a great song.
What is your next big project?
I have a grownup album coming out in January that was produced by Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, mixed by Brad Wood. I also have a kids’ book and CD coming out next April, which is a follow up to my current kids’ book and CD, Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: the Disappointing Pancake and other Zany Songs. I also am always working on new styles and frames for my eyewear line, Lisa Loeb Eyewear, which is available on-line as well as in stores!
What can we expect from your grownup album?
My grownup album is much more punky/poppy/rock-y than my previous albums. It’s very energetic sounding and there are collaborations with some interesting artists who I’ve been inspired by, including Tegan Quin from Tegan and Sara.
So cool! I’m really excited about this.
Image via HTBackDrops