By larry may
Lisa Loeb means many things to many people. To some, she is a cooking show host. To others, she was the girl with the dating show. But to most, Loeb is the multi-faceted singer who made history as the only artist to ever have the number one song in the country without being signed to a record label. That song “Stay” from the “Reality Bites” soundtrack, earned her a record deal with Geffen, and she continued to release hit singles throughout the early years of the new millennium. She is also the owner of the most iconic pair of eyeglasses since Clark Kent or Buddy Holly.
Lisa has a new album out on June 3rd, entitled “ Camp Lisa”. This release is an album of camp songs, and will be available exclusively at Barnes and Noble on street date. When Lisa called me, we talked about her career, past and present. We also got to discuss those famous glasses.
Can you tell me about your new record?
It’s all about summer camp songs, both old and new. I love those songs, and hopefully, kids will hear them and give going to camp a chance. I’d love to see more kids go to camp.
Do you do a lot of children’s music?
I did one other children’s record. I did it with my college roommate, Liz Mitchell. She was already making a lot of those records, and I asked her to produce it. It was targeted at younger kids. It was a great experience, and started a lot of demand for another kid’s record. That’s how this one came about. I love this project, because it is something parents can enjoy with their children.
Do you write music by yourself?
I used to. But about ten years ago, I did some collaborations with people like Burt Bacharach. Then I went France for a project where different songwriters were paired together. I really liked the experience, and used the Camp Lisa record to collaborate with some of my favorite artists.
How did the exclusive with Barnes and Noble come about?
They did the first children’s record, and it was a great business partnership. I like to play indoors, and I love the structure they provide. It’s perfect for me. The record will come out everywhere in September. We’re in the process of recording new songs for the reissue. They provide shelf space and cover marketing that can be financially overwhelming for an independent artist.
That’s a good point. Describe how that is different from being on a major label.
It’s really different all the time. Sometimes, it was great, and you had all the resources at your fingertips. On the other hand, sometimes I had to hire outside people to handle everything. Later on, they didn’t tell me everything straight. I did a lot of waiting when it wasn’t necessary. Now, it’s just me and my manager doing it all. She’s worked in the music business forever, and we handle endorsements, line up tours, etc.
Are you still interested in doing TV?
Very much so. There are a couple of things in the works. You’ll find out about them, well, when you find out. (Laughs). I love doing it, because it creates awareness for everything else I’m doing, including the music. But I’m also interested in other things. I started a book, but put it on the back burner. I’ve also been interested in doing radio since high school. There were a couple of pirate radio shows we worked on for a company in New York, but I would like to do something closer to what I did in high school, where I would play music and interview bands on the air. The closest I get to radio is a lot of NPR. When I’m in Los Angeles, I listen to NPR, classic rock, Mexican radio and AM talk.
When did you start performing?
I started really young. I was a dancer. I started playing live music twenty five years ago.
Wow, that sounds like a lot when you put a number to it.
Do you have any interest in doing movies?
That would be great. I’d love to, but music keeps getting in the way.
Any chance you might stop wearing glasses?
It’s funny you mentioned that. I just scratched them this morning, and my other pair is in Los Angeles. I can get temporary contacts, but can only wear them for a handful of hours.
I’m extremely allergic. I can’t get eye surgery. My eyes are too dry.
Lisa Loeb started with a huge splash in 1995, and has parlayed one hit into a career that has spanned both music and television. She is talented, extremely intelligent and driven. Who said girls with glasses weren’t cool?