May 29, 2014 2:56 PM

Lisa Loeb is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who was the first unsigned artist to have a number one platinum-selling single, her hit “Stay (I missed you),” without a recording contract.  Since her single, she has gone on to record multiple CDs, she has worked in films and television, she has written children’s music, and started her own eyewear line.  Twelv magazine had the honor and opportunity to sit down and chat with Lisa before her concert at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center last Thursday.

 Susan Schell: How do you prepare for a performance? Do you have a pre-performance ritual?

Lisa Loeb: Yes, I warm up my voice, I write out my set list, and I put on my make-up.  

SS: What was one of your favorite experiences as a musician?

LL: That’s a big question! Probably one of the coolest things was when I got to go to Cuba with a group of musicians from the United States and England and then write with musicians from Cuba. On that trip I got to write with Burt Bacharach and hang out with some of my favorite musicians. They were really inspiring, everyone from the Indigo Girls, Meshell Ndegoeocello, to Chu Chu Valdés.   

SS: What is your songwriting process?

LL: I try to capture ideas when I have them, either on my cellphone or by writing them down. Then I have to sit down at some point and finish them up like homework.

SS: So what inspires your music, what gives you those thoughts?

LL: Coffee mainly. Coffee inspires my music. When I drink coffee I start getting ideas. Otherwise some things that happen in my life inspire me, things I see in movies inspire me, and sometimes literally just the coming together of words in my head inspire me to figure out what the whole song means.

SS: I know your songs have appeared in a lot of TV shows and movies. You were recently on the debut episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, how do you like working on these types of projects?

LL: I like working on all different kinds of creative projects. Working on collaborations is quicker so that is really fun creatively. When I’m working by myself sometimes that can take a lot longer. So when I have inspiration from outside of myself I look forward to having those experiences.

SS: I know you’ve been working in music a long time, but did you ever want to do something else?

LL: I wanted to be an actor. Along the way I thought about wanting to be a psychologist. I wanted to be a mom and I am a mom now.

SS: In recent years you started an eyewear line, how did that begin?

LL: I always wanted to have an eyewear line. I’m always looking for the perfect pair of glasses in every store. When I had an opportunity to create my own line inspired by my glasses that were slightly retro but sophisticated and hopefully sexy, I jumped at the chance. Now I can tell all the people that come to me asking me where I get my glasses where to find them and they can feel comfortable in their glasses as well.

SS: Cat-eye glasses have become your signature look, but what other frames do you like?

LL: Cat-eye is my signature but we also do metal frames and plastic frames. Some of them don’t look as cat-eye or as retro as the ones that I’m currently wearing but they all subtly have a lift to lift and flatter women’s faces.

SS: You are always very busy! What are you working on now and what is next?

LL: I am constantly off and on tour. I have a small role in a movie that is coming out this summer and a song that my friend Chris and I wrote for the movie so we will be playing some concerts around that time. I’ve got new kid’s programs that I’m working on and some new kid’s music. I have a kid’s musical that I’m working on that will be out probably in New York City in 2015 and I’m just continuing to make things!


The concert that followed our interview was an impressive mix of old and new songs. Lisa Loeb was on the acoustic guitar and Chris Unck backed her up on the electric guitar. There was an exclusive first-time performance of her new song “3,2,1 Let Go” that she and Chris wrote for the movie Helicopter Mom. During the show, Lisa was charismatically joking and telling stories between songs and at one point she even offered to share her drinks from backstage with the audience because the venue did not have any beverages for sale.  They played a number of songs from Lisa’s latest album No Fairytale as well as one of her famous children’s songs “The Disappointing Pancake.” The performance of her hit single “Stay (I Missed You)” was particularly symbolic as this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the song that propelled Lisa Loeb’s career.


 WRITTEN BY: Susan Schell







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