We may be aging ourselves, but to this day we still know all of the lyrics to Lisa Loeb’s breakthrough hit, “Stay” on the Reality Bites movie soundtrack. Since then Lisa Loeb has been quite busy with her two kids, daughter Lyla (7) and son Emet (4.5), her continued career in music, and her awesome foundation Camp Lisa. She fills us in on her foray into children’s music, why sticking to your words is important and how summer camp was such an influential part of her life.
What is your backstory?
I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and spent my entire childhood loving and doing the arts — from dance to music, acting, and singing, starting with piano and moving to guitar. I’ve written music since I was 6 and really figured out that I loved making up lyrics and performing in summer camp where we got to do skits and songs. At Brown University, I formed a group with my freshman year roommate (Elizabeth Mitchell), and we became a very popular act on campus from the first time we performed and our entire freshman hall and friends packed into the club where we performed as an acoustic duo. That support in college pushed me to NYC where I moved after graduation. A few years later, I had the opportunity to provide a song for the Reality Bites movie soundtrack. Ethan Hawke, the lead actor in the film, asked me for a copy of the song, “Stay,” that I’d been performing in NYC. I had a great following in NYC and the song on the soundtrack put me over the edge. The song went to #1 without a record contract and I continued on making records. I’ve also created an eyewear line, wrote a musical, have done voice overs, music for tv and film, and performed all over the world.
What is your biggest superhero moment as a mom?
Hmm, I don’t know exactly. I feel as if I’ve run the race every morning when I’m able to complete all of my interviews, hair styled and colored, full face of makeup for a big meeting, dressed, bed made, kids’ beds made, lunches and breakfasts made, kitchen clean, cat fed, out the door and on time to two separate schools. I think it’s what all of us do!
What is your biggest fail?
Biggest fail is when I say no, and then say “no,” and then “no,” again to my child about one more piece of candy or more TV or iPad, and then I say, “well, maybe.’ and then “Okay.” I think sticking to your word is important, but sometimes it’s hard. I don’t usually do that with important things. I try to forgive myself for fails. And the family is always the first priority, so that leaves room for less error.
What made you decide to start writing children’s music?
I had an opportunity to make a record that was different from my regular singer/songwriter pop/rock albums. I wanted to make something that felt like the records I had a sentimental connection to when I was a kid. I listened to a lot of records, read stories, and watched what was on TV. I wanted to make something kind, and connecting, and silly, and heartfelt with lots of melody. The first children’s album I worked on was Catch the Moon with my friend Elizabeth Mitchell, (the other half of our college duo). At that time, I didn’t have children yet, and Elizabeth had tons more experience making this kind of record. Catch the Moon was so well received, and it was a lot of fun. That success led to my Camp Lisa record, which was even more of a reflection of this sentimental connection to my childhood. It went on from there.
Tell us more about Camp Lisa…
Camp Lisa is my summer camp songs album, filled with original camp songs and classics, but it’s also a foundation I started to send kids to summer camp who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to go. I thought the best way to share my summer camp experience would be to share the songs, but then realized that people actually have to go there to really take it all in. It’s such a wonderful place to find yourself, gain confidence, learn to collaborate and be part of a community, practice respect, and try new things in a safe environment, (usually away from your parents) and make new friends! More information is at https://www.lisaloeb.com/camp-lisa/.
What can we expect from your new album?
Feel What U Feel offers listeners a lot of variety. It’s like you have the radio on and different songs keep playing. There’s a disco funk jam that I sing with Craig Robinson, and a remake of “It’s All Right To Cry,” which was originally a part of Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me album. I do an upbeat slightly bluegrass feeling song called “Wanna Do Day,” about wishes to have a free day to do whatever I want to. The songs are rooted in reality with a little bit of magic and hopes that everything will be okay. They’re encouraging and often upbeat. Lots of harmonies, singing, and words that will uplift without the listener feeling you’re being preached to. If you didn’t know it, you might not know that the songs are geared towards kids because the songwriting styles and production are really top of the line and real, if I may say so myself.
What advice would you give to new moms trying to balance it all?
I wish I knew. I think asking for help is always a good start. We all need time to organize our lives, make clear lists divided into categories like “home,” “health,” “activities,” “errands,” etc. Get babysitters that you can rely on. Spend the time with your kids actually with them. Tell them if you need to use your phone and try not to sink into looking at your phone all the time. it’s not nice, and it’s easy to do, even if it starts off innocently, like you may be taking a photo of your child with the cell phone and then…
For more about Lisa’s music and more visit: www.lisaloeb.com. You can also follow her on Instagram @lisaloeb.