I’ve wanted to sing for as long as I can remember. I’ve also lacked the ability to sing for as long as I can remember. But alas, my dream resides in the form of a small glimmer of hope that one day I will be cast in a movie-musical and they will bring in 80 fabulous coaches to make my voice soundtrack-bearable (a la Renee Zellweger in Chicago). While my pipe dream lingers, I often think about whether or not I’d prefer a raspy, interesting voice like Stevie Nicks or an untouchable belter like Celine Dion’s. Even in my daydreams, I won’t allow myself something so crazily impossible like the combination of both voices. Well, at least I didn’t allow myself that when I thought it was impossible. Then one January night I discovered that it did in fact exist, this voice was possible and real and it came in the form of a whiskey drinking, guitar strumming, no-makeup wearing blonde girl named Lissie
I had heard Lissie’s name a million times before I saw her this past winter, but never really listened to her music. I had seen her Black Cab Sessions
in which she slayed Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and I appreciated the sweet crack in her voice but I didn’t get it until I saw her live: this girl had the most unbelievably voice I had ever heard. She opened her show with a cover of Hank William’s “Wedding Bells” which felt like a personal attempt to win me over (it wasn’t…so they say….) and it was clear this wasn’t just another girl with a guitar: she was fresh, raw and spirited. Lissie is Taylor Swift for the uber-snobby. She’s a pop artist–no doubt–but even in her cheesiest moments, like on the upbeat “Cuckoo,” there’s genuineness to her music that, simply put, just makes it cool. Seeing her live was the first time in a long time that I saw someone onstage that felt completely and utterly real.
She told awkward stories about high school, sipped whiskey and segued into songs by simply laughing and saying “alright”. She shines on songs like the gorgeous “Everywhere I Go” and the sultry “When I’m Alone”. Plus, she ended her encore with Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” which I now prefer to the original. And if I haven’t emphasized this enough, you will never hear another voice like hers. It was equally charming as it was flawless.
Why should you see Lissie’s set at Lolla? Because it would be like chilling out and taking shots with your high school pal who is also the most talented person in the world. I’ll be there, picturing my face in place of hers and marking down August 7th as another successful day as a voice-less dreamer.
Cubs or Sox?
Describe your live act in five words:
Energetic. Raw. Emotional. Fun. Heartfelt.
What are the top 5 songs in your current iTunes 25 most played list?
It sounds weird but I haven’t been listening to recorded music…Spending time in England and at festivals I’ve come to like Ellie Goulding, Mumford and Sons, The Hurts, The Pierces, Everything Everything, Laura Marling, and Katy B.
How do you feel about blaming the O’Leary cow for the Chicago fire?
I’m from Illinois actually and we learned about that in school! Wasn’t a lot of the city made of wood then? Accidents happen, it was probably inevitable…I’m sure Bessie meant no harm! (Was that her name?)
What will you drink onstage?
Sometimes 100% agave tequila, but these days I’m happy with plain old water!
What is your favorite festival memory?
Glastonbury 2010…it was my band’s and my first big festival, my album had just come out in the UK, and the energy and the crowd was so exciting and moving!
What three emotions are the audience members guaranteed to feel at your show?
Happiness, surprise and satisfaction.