08 Mar lisa loeb.
los angeles, ca. | singer. songwriter. performer. children’s author. advocate.
Something magical happened a few weeks ago at the Whole Foods Market, other than their ability to consistently make the produce department the world’s greatest shopping environment. As I pushed my shopping cart from one aisle to the next, the song “Stay (I Missed You)” played throughout the store. I smiled as a wave of nostalgia poured over me. I used to play that song over and over in my in my little Toyota Tercel twenty years ago. I would drive to work and practice every single word… “so I turned the radio on, I turned the radio up, and this woman was singing my song: the lover’s in love, and the other’s run away, the lover is crying ’cause the other won’t stay.” I perfected my performance, hitting every note, with the intention of going on tour with the incomparable Lisa Loeb. (If you have ever karaoked with me, and many of you have, you know I can’t pull off a Lisa Loeb anything. Maybe—just maybe—Loretta Lynn, but never Lisa Loeb.)
As I sang along with Lisa in Whole Foods that day, I quickly noticed that I was not the only one unable to resist the urge to sing her hit song out loud. A woman sang along with me (unknowingly) as she pushed her toddler down aisle 2, and in the next aisle a young stock boy was also singing, “Yeah… I missed you,” as he restocked organic black beans on the designated shelf. I am pretty sure that young guy was not even a glimmer in his mother’s eye when Lisa Loeb released that song, yet twenty years later, in a Virginia market, he knew every word. The mark of a classic song. As I approached the checkout line, I noted that the cashier was humming along, too. It was like a poorly orchestrated, impromptu flash mob, and it made me wonder, what is Lisa Loeb doing right now? So I Googled her as I stood waiting in line to check out. I was not a bit surprised to learn that she was all the way across the country, still spinning her creative magic in the City of Angels. And as it turns out she was willing to share a bit of her precious time with us.
Not only does Ms. Loeb continue to work in the music and film industries, she is an accomplished children’s author and has naturally partnered with Classique Eyewear to establish her very own eyewear collection. (They are spectacular — but we will get to that later.) You will find Lisa making special appearances on television shows and, in addition to every thing else, this multi-talented woman created The Camp Lisa Foundation, whose sole mission is to make it possible for underprivileged kids to go to summer camp to create lifelong memories and friendships. Lisa even created a children’s album, entitled Camp Lisa, to benefit the foundation.
I am honored to add Lisa Loeb’s beautiful voice to the j. jane conversation. Enjoy this special highlight and go ahead, give into that urge to sing “Stay (I Missed You).” All. Day. Long.
You played music in college, building a musical following while studying comparative literature and music theory at the prestigious Brown University, which led you to New York City to pursue your dream. What did your parents think about your decision to become a musician?
They were not exactly 100% excited, but I grew up in a loving, supportive environment so that was very helpful. My parents sent me and my three siblings to music and dance lessons. Early on, they cultivated our love of the arts. I took both piano and guitar lessons. My brothers and sister are also talented and very creative. I really feel like the community and social part of being at Brown was a part of my education. The support of my peers gave me confidence to move forward and follow my passion.
To this day, you are the only artist to have a Number 1 single while not signed to a recording contract. Right out of the gate, “Stay (I Missed You)” was a platinum-selling song and has weaved in and out of pop culture for over twenty years. You are a busy freelance professional, a singer, songwriter, performer, children’s author, and advocate. Not to mention a wife and mother of two. What is your best advice on how to successfully balance a multilevel career while maintaining a commitment to family?
No matter what, every job is valuable. Whether you are a teacher or doctor or lawyer. Being a mom is one of the most important jobs. I take motherhood seriously and I work hard to offer my children stability. I try my best to limit my travels to two days, so I can pick the kids up at school on a regular basis. We cherish our time with one another—family comes first.
You have successfully moved from one platform to the next, what do you attribute to your success?
I have always followed the things I love to do and I try to make good decisions personally and professionally. I work very hard and I remain open to opportunity. Spending time with you on the phone, j. jane, is out of the box thinking. I incorporate this type of thinking in my daily routine. Additionally, I want to prove to myself that I can achieve what I set out to do. The creative process takes serious energy and focus. It’s really hard work and I have always been a hard worker.
In December of 2014, you released “Light,” a song that truly captures the beauty of Hanukkah. What inspired this creation?
There are not a lot of Hanukkah songs, and I wanted to write one that focused on my favorite part of the Hanukkah story; after the destruction of the Temple, there was only enough oil for one night, but a “miracle” happened and the oil burned for eight nights. Cliff Goldmacher and I collaborated on this special project and I am very pleased with it. I’m excited we were able to come up with a song about the essence of Hanukkah, “hope” that any person can connect to and be inspired by.
What is your best advice for living a graceful life?
My best advice is to see things as they are and go from there. Try to focus on balance, know that every day might not be perfect, but continue to figure out your priorities and stick with them. And get enough sleep.
j. jane side notes:
- The photograph featured above is taken by Justine Ungaro.
- My sister Dr. Katie Vanderhorst told me that my 40 year old eyes will soon require reading glasses and I fully intend to add Lisa’s every day tortoise/pistachio to my wardrobe in the very near future – check out these super savvy glasses. You can view her entire line here: Lisa Loeb Eyewear Collection
- Looking for a unique gift for a friend’s kiddo? Add Lisa’s Children Book to the library must have list: Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs
- A very special thank you to Lisa and Janet. I am truly grateful for your professionalism and kindness. As an amateur journalist, (a-hem, blogger) I made a few errors during this interview process. Instead of brushing me aside, you ladies gave me time to correct my errors. Please know that your patience afforded me an outstanding learning opportunity and I will carry the lesson along with me as I continue to create meaningful content. Special thanks to brothers Hank and Luker for your council on this topic.
- And last but not least, if you are not already following Lisa Loeb, be sure to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and feel free to leave a message for her below in the comment box.