Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb talks exclusively to Breedlove.
Lisa Loeb's career spans decades. 20 years ago she became a household name with her single "Stay (I Missed You)" from the Reality Bites soundtrack. Since then she's been on a roll with with tours, designing her own eyewear line, kids albums and more. She recently just finished performing in her own stage production, Camp Kappawanna with the Atlantic Theatre in New York.
Breedlove: You have had an amazingly diverse set of experiences in your career. How do you come up with what new thing you want to do next?
Lisa Loeb: I always like to make music, so I write songs all the time. I follow the things I am passionate about. I pick the interesting projects or events that are offered to me and create things that interest me as well. There’s always something to do, a new idea to follow.
BL: Your eyewear is amazing – how involved are you with the design process?
LL: I work with a very experienced eyewear designer in California. We look at materials, shapes, and new concepts together. She’s the real pro, so she takes the lead, but it’s my brand and aesthetic, and so we try to follow that as well as being on trend with colors and shapes.
BL: How many sets of glasses do you own?
LL: Too many to count. I mainly wear one pair of glasses and one pair of sunglasses though.
BL: What came first – Camp Lisa Foundation or the children’s albums?
LL: The kids’ albums came first. First “Catch the Moon” and then “Camp Lisa.” I wanted to share the summer camp experience with as many kids as I could and I thought a TV show inspired by my “Camp Lisa” album would be a great way to do it. Then, after thinking about it more, I realized that the best way to share the experience would be to actually send kids to camp. I started the Camp Lisa Foundation to send kids to camp through the sales of my album and my own “Wake Up” blend of coffee beans, distributed by CoffeeFool, an on-line coffee bean company. We work closely with S.C.O.P.E., an organization that sends kids to wonderful camps, mostly on the east coast.
BL: Overnight camp must have made a big impact for you? It also inspired Camp Kappawanna which is just finishing up a run at Atlantic Theater.
LL: Yes- overnight camp is where I really had a great time! I played guitar in front of people for the first time, made up words to old songs, made up skits, tried new things that were a bit daunting at first, but later proved to be a tremendous confidence-builder. Camp is a place where the pressure is on to just be yourself and learn to get along in a group and be a good leader too. My summer camp experience was loosely the inspiration for Camp Kappawanna.
BL: How did you come to pick up the acoustic guitar?
LL: My best friends and I were obsessed with the band, The Police, when we were young teens. My friend Margaret learned about them first and so her favorite member was Sting. Adrienne followed with Stewart Copeland, the drummer, as her favorite, and I ended up with Andy Summers as my favorite. I was on the outs with my many years of piano and theory lessons and it was time for a change, so I chose guitar! My friend Alma Doll taught me a lot of things at summer camp too, like how to play “Stairway to Heaven."
BL: What is it about the Breedlove Oregon Concert that speaks to you?
LL: I love the size of the guitar, the clarity, and the bass that rounds out the sound.
BL: What advice would you have for other females that are embarking on their musical careers in today’s environment?
LL: I would say that you need to maintain a do-it-yourself attitude, find great collaborators in music and business, as it really takes a team, and also be prepared to find the areas of the music business where you can make a living. Also, if you want to have a family, you should keep that in mind as you carve out your career. Don’t plan on lots of touring if you don’t want to leave young children behind, and if you’re looking for a serious relationship, make sure to prioritize that as you make decisions about where your career might take you. (that’s good advise for men or women.)