Lisa Loeb: Interview with the musician, children's author and eye wear designer

By Sari N. Kent,

Musician Lisa Loeb, is best known for her 1994 smash hit “Stay (I Missed You,)” which was included in the 1994 Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller romantic dramedy Reality Bites. Since then, her five studio CDs include her major label debut, the gold-selling Tails and its follow-up, the Grammy-nominated, gold-selling Firecracker.

In addition to her music, Loeb has also worked in film, television, done voice-over work and released children’s music. Her first joint children’s book and album titled Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs was published in 2011 and her second children’s book titled Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Moving and Shaking is due to be released April 2, 2013.

Loeb’s latest CD titled No Fairy Tale, is her seventh full-length CD, her first on 429 Records and due for release on January 29. Loeb and co-producer Chad Gilbert, of New Found Glory, teamed up to record a “poppy-punky-rock album,” which features Loeb’s signature sound, shaped by Gilbert’s OC punk vision. On the album, she also collaborates with indie darlings Tegan and Sara as well as Hello Goodbye, Morgan Taylor, Maia Sharp and Marvin Etzioni.

On top of all this, Loeb has two children and is currently working on a new eye-wear line called “Lisa Loeb Eyewear” in partnership with Classique eyewear.

TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Sari N. Kent got the chance to talk to Lisa about her new album and all of her other upcoming projects.

SNK: You earned a degree in comparative literature from Brown University, how did you go from that to music?

LL: Well, I was actually playing music while I was in college. So they both happened at the same time. I think the degree was a way to get a regular degree while I was playing music a lot in college.

SNK: Early in your career, you were part of a duo called Liz and Lisa, can you tell me how that came about?

LL: We were an acoustic duo, we met our freshman year of college. We were roommates and we ended up playing together for like six years.

SNK: Fellow singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik also played in the band during your final year of college. How did that happen?

LL: He auditioned for the band, we were looking for a guitar player and he was one of the people who responded to our search and so we ended up working with him because he was the best guitar player I’d heard in a while. He was great at creating textures, at learning songs, playing solos, basically doing everything we were looking for. He’s really talented.

SNK: You burst onto the mainstream music scene with “Stay (I Missed You)” in 1994. How did that song get included in the 1994 movie Reality Bites, which is one of my favorite movies?

LL: Well, my friend Ethan Hawke heard it and Ben Stiller, who directed and acted in the movie decided to put it in the movie and the record company put it on the movie’s soundtrack.

SNK: You reunited with college music partner Elizabeth Mitchell on the award-winning children’s CD and companion book Catch The Moon in 2003, how did that come about?

LL: Barnes and Noble asked if I’d make a record different from the records I normally make. So I released the record with them. Then I realized it was something I’d always wanted to do. While thinking about how to make the record, I kept thinking about my friend Elizabeth Mitchell, who was already a children’s artist, so I asked her to make the record with me. We worked on it together and it was the first time we’d worked together in a while.

SNK: Your latest CD titled, No Fairy Tale, which will be released on February 5, is described as a “punk-pop-rock” record, can you elaborate on that?

LL: Well, first of all they changed the date, it’s coming out January 29. Second of all, it was produced with Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory and he came to me with the idea and I agreed to make that record. I thought it was a cool idea, very high energy, rock record.

SNK: Many of the song titles on the album sound very personal, like “Weak Day” and “Ami, I’m Sorry.” What was your inspiration to write the songs on this album?

LL: Well, the songs were written over a number of years. So, it was everything from reminiscing about the 90s to remembering what it was like to be in high school with Chad and I together. It kinds of reminds me of how I felt in high school. So, yeah, a lot of the songs have a personal element to them.

SNK: This is your first album on the 429 record label, how did that come about?

LL: I hadn’t really been with a formal label in a while and wanted to be a part of the marketing and distribution of the record, to see what that was like again.

SNK: The first single to radio is the title track of the album, what made you choose that track to release first?

LL: I just think it’s a real catchy song and I like the philosophy of it. So I thought it would make a really good first single.

SNK: On the album, you also collaborated with the Canadian duo, Tegan and Sara, what was that like?

LL: It was really amazing. I’m a big fan of Tegan and Sara and I started writing a lot of my own music after listening to them. They brought a dimension to the record that it didn’t already have. It was a great experience getting to work with them.

SNK: Your second children’s book titled Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Moving and Shaking is being released in April, can you tell me a little more about that?

LL: It’s the second book in a series. The kids will be able to sing along. It’s kind of like old school interactive like before the Internet.

SNK: In 2008, you launched The Camp Lisa Foundation to help raise funds to send kids to camp and you recruited other musicians like Kay Hanley, Nina Gordon and movie star/comedian Steve Martin to record a companion CD titled, Camp Lisa, with the proceeds all going to charity. How much has the foundation raised and is it still going strong?

LL: It’s going strong, I’d like it to get stronger. We’ve sent, I don’t know the exact number of kids we’ve sent to camp. We’ve raised thousands of dollars and I want to do more. I think camp is an important way for kids to spend their time, to get to know themselves and interact with other people and it’s also fun.

SNK: You’re also currently working on an eye-wear collection called Lisa Loeb Eyewear in partnership with Classique Eyewear, can you give me some more information on that?

LL: You can get more information if you go to the web site, lisaloebeyewear.com. It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to have my own eye-wear line so I could share my eye-wear with everybody else. I lot of people out there have different skin tones, shaped faces. It’s strong and stylish.

SNK: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

LL: Well, I’d like people to follow me on Twitter. It’s so much fun.

Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaLoeb!

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