Lisa Loeb is a lady of many talents. Already an established singer, she has diversified her career by writing books, acting, diving head first into the world of kid’s music and starting business ventures outside of music. With everything on her plate she will always be known for her music. The ability to write songs about relationships is the staple of Lisa Loeb’s career. More times than not the subject matter is about breaking up, leaving, and lost love, but due to upbeat rhythms, pop melodies and her unmistakable voice she steers the songs away from being down and depressing. After an extended hiatus to attend to various other ventures, she has returned full force picking up where she left off with another batch of songs showcasing what she does best. There is one difference to the new album, No Fairy Tale, it has taken on a harder edge than her previous work achieved by working with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory. The writing is still the same, the voice is still the same just the folksiness has been exchanged for driving guitars and thumping beats. It is a nice change of pace.
This weekend she returns to Atlanta with her band Nine Stories and will be playing music at the Variety Playhouse. Loeb is out on the road introducing the new tunes to music fans everywhere but do not worry the set list will still be full of the hits everyone wants to sing along to.
With a busy schedule to stick to, she was kind enough to answer a few questions I had for her about her music, career and Saturday nights show.
CM - The majority of the songs on No Fairy Tale seem to be a bit heavier in the guitar department leaning the album towards a pop/rock feel as opposed to the pop - pop/folk sound you are known for. Are my ears just playing tricks on me, or is this what you were trying to achieve?
LL - Yes! You're right. I made this album with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory with that in mind. He came to me with the idea to produce the record this way, and I was all for it. It's more energetic, more electric, more driven, but still song based like my other records.
CM - Once again you have written a batch of songs that deal with heartbreak, bad relationships and questionable choices, masking the subject matter with upbeat and pop filled melodies. The songs sound happy but that is not always the case. Why these methods as opposed to a more somber or darker arrangement like other musicians deliver?
LL - I think making the album was a chance for me to make music that has energy - especially after spending so much lovely time at home with my two young children. It's fun to play with a band and not always play so quietly. I always decide which direction to go with the music based in what kind of relationship it should have with the lyrics and this time, these arrangements really worked for me.
CM - When you write and record songs is the process a set format you follow (lyrics, music, and record) or is it more organic with the songs evolving into the finished piece?
LL - The writing always happens in different ways. Sometimes the idea of the song and the lyrics and music follows, sometimes the lyrics first, sometimes the melody first.
CM - It has been almost 10 years since your last non-children’s music release, is this due to having a full plate so to speak (Writing, acting, eyewear etc.)?
LL - Yes! Exactly- I kept starting a grownup project, but then would get distracted by other projects or my personal life.
CM - After the jump into the world of children’s music did you need to step away from it and write No Fairy Tale, kind of like a person who is around kids all day and crave interaction with other grown-ups?
LL - That's an interesting way to look at it. It was time for me to make another grown-up record. I still love making kids music, but I was excited to play with a band and write some songs that have more grown-up themes.
CM - Which is easier to write, children’s music or grown-up music?
LL - Kid's and grownup music get the same treatment, although sometimes with kids' music, I end up making more clever lyrics, lately in collaboration with my co-writers, Michelle Lewis and Dan Petty, whereas with my grownup music, I often write stories that are more abstract or centered in emotion.
CM - Did you ever catch yourself subconsciously writing a kids lyric for this record?
LL - I didn't. That would probably be more of a funny record, huh?
CM - I have spoken with other musicians who get upset that people know them for one or two songs when they have extensive catalogs, some even refuse to play said songs. While your body of work has received outstanding critical success many folks only know you for one song, “Stay”, does it ever get frustrating or do you take it in stride?
LL - I feel that it's a blessing to have a song that's so well known. Some people have a nostalgic relationship with the song, but that usually brings them into my current projects as well. I have that relationship with many many songs I loved in my past.
CM - Are there any new singers and/or bands that have grabbed your attention these days?
LL - I like the band The Wombats!
CM - Is there anything special people of Atlanta should look forward to when you play here on March 16th?
LL - I'll play with my band, 9 Stories. We'll play some new tunes and some classics and requests, and of course, "Stay (I Missed You)"! You can tweet me requests @LisaLoeb
There you have it, get on twitter and request your favorite tunes, then mark the show on your calendar for this Saturday night at the Variety Playhouse. Get out of the house and make your way to Little 5 Points for a night that should be entertaining.