Lisa Loeb is a singer, songwriter, children’s book author and eyeglasses designer who recently released an album titled “Feel What U Feel” and she is currently touring the country performing her music and promoting the twelve original songs that are featured on the album.
A woman of many talents, Lisa is also an actress, author, artist, and philanthropist who is touring around North America. Even her shows for grown-ups often include her original award-winning children’s songs as well as her big hit “Stay (I Missed You).”
Lisa recently discussed her music, concerts, and other creative endeavors:
Meagan Meehan (MM): How and when did you decide to become a musician and what about children’s music most appeals to you?
Lisa Loeb (LL): I’ve always been a musician ever since I was young. I loved playing piano, taking lessons and writing songs when I was 6. I also performed at school and in extra-curriculars in musicals and plays. When I was about 14, I started playing guitar with the help of a friend at summer camp as well as a little bit of exposure to guitar at the all-girls school I attended in Dallas. My friends and I always were deeply into music as teenagers, which followed my family’s love and obsession for music growing up- classical, standards, 1970’s soft pop, new wave, rock and roll, you name it! We all wanted to be musicians. I decided to play music for a living after I was already doing it in College with my friend Elizabeth Mitchell, we had a popular duo/band at Brown University called “Liz and Lisa” I like children’s music because it takes me into subject matter, humor, storytelling, and slightly different genres than I would normally work in.
MM: Can you tell us a bit about the songs on your latest album, “Feel What U Feel,” and the things that inspired them?
LL: The songs are good for now and for the past and the future, but they sound like regular grownup songs slightly influenced by all kinds of eras, disco funk, groovy 1960’s, light cowboy country, lullaby, and the list goes on. I wanted to write about things that were important to me but in the body of catchy songs. Songs about respect, having your feelings, being where you are and respecting the small moments in your life, dealing with overwhelming days, empowerment, encouragement. I was really inspired by Free to Be You and Me and even covered a song from that album, “It’s all Right to Cry” with my friend Craig Robinson. There’s a lot of variety on the album.
MM: How many songs have you written overall? Do you have a favorite?
LL: That’s a great question — over 100 at least! I love the new song “Say Hello” on Feel What U Feel which is a song about respecting others.
MM: Your concerts sound like tremendous fun! What made you decide to essentially turn them into mini-festivals with things like face painting, rides, games, and lots of food options?
LL: I play at festivals, and I’m headlining the Great Big Family Play Day in Los Angeles on May 7, which will offer all kinds of family fun. My concerts are not generally mini festivals. I love all of that, so I say “yes” to fun family festival opportunities. My shows for grownups are more straightforward and song-focused. Often, I throw in one of my children’s songs along with “Stay.” I’m looking forward to the residency at the legendary Cafe Carlyle, where the setting is intimate and I can interact with the audience.
MM: You’re also an actress and artist. What roles have you played?
LL: I have played teachers, musicians (surprise, surprise,) reporters, students. I love telling stories through acting. Some of my acting credits include the new Amazon Originals series Creative Galaxy and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I played a teacher in the Nia Vardalos film Helicopter Mom (and wrote the theme song), and I appear in the new Netflix movie Sandy Wexler with Adam Sandler.
MM: What was your childhood like? Do you think it impacted your journey into the creative arts?
LL: My childhood was really amazing. We had a lot of focus on school, and I went to an all girl’s private school, but we got to study so many of the arts, music, visual art, dance, you name it! Spanish class was one of my favorites: it included poetry, visual art, history, culture, food, communicating with others. I totally got sucked in. I have a sister and two brothers, and we spent a lot of time together playing inside and outside. We pretended we played in a band, we played Barbies, we played music, we used our imagination and made tents and artwork and played office. We all took lots of classes in the arts, from visual art to ballet, tap and jazz dance, piano lessons, ice skating, guitar lessons, and more. This ongoing experience with the arts made a huge impact on my journey. I could feel the pull towards imagination, creating and even the business of getting out there and letting people know about what I loved to do.
MM: You are a philanthropist. What causes are especially close to your heart?
LL: I love doing things that can impact young people’s lives. I run the Camp Lisa Foundation to send kids to camp who normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to go. You can buy my “Camp Lisa” record, and all proceeds go to the foundation. On the charity section of the Coffee Fool website, there’s a Lisa Loeb “Wakeup” blend that you can purchase, where all proceeds help send kids to summer camp.
MM: What have been the highlights of your career and where do you want to go from here?
LL: I loved playing my popular song “Stay (I Missed You),” just me and my acoustic guitar, in Madison Square Garden at a huge radio show in front of a sold-out audience, or should I say with a sold out audience who was singing along with me! I met David Bowie when I went to London to receive a Brit award. I met (Beatles producer) George Martin at the Brit awards, and he invited me to the studio the next day where Bowie was working. I receive videos daily of kids singing my songs with big smiles on their faces and hearts on their sleeves. I have so many highlights, it’s hard to know where to begin. I want to continue creating and telling stories in all forms and continuing to connect with people and figure out how to do good in the world while still prioritizing my family!
MM: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to forge a career in the creative arts?
LL: I would say to work on your craft and your skill — singing, playing, writing songs, and then learn as much as you can about the business and then figure out how to connect with an audience and grow your audience.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
LL: We’ve recently introduced new frame styles with Lisa Loeb Eyewear (Classique). These are available at boutique opticians and Costco stores around the country. Please check out my website and my social media (@LisaLoeb) to connect with me and see what’s going on in my world. I’m always making a lot of music and projects, and I’d love to see you guys there!
Lisa Loeb will be performing at the Great Big Family Play Day in Los Angeles on May 7 followed by a performance during a two-week residency at Cafe Caryle from June 6-17, 2017. To learn more, visit her official website, Amazon album page and see here and here.
[Featured Image by Lisa Loeb]