If you don’t know who she is, you should. My love for music has really grown over the last 5-10 years and Lissie is one of the many reasons why. Don’t get me wrong I had several compilation CDs in high school of awesome tracks including: Lifehouse’s “Hanging By a Moment”, Wyclef Jean’s “Perfect Gentlemen”, Phil Collins “You’ll be in my Heart”, the theme from Gladiator, Whitesnake’s “Here I go Again”, and Nelly’s “Ride wit Me.” Based on this list the future of my musical tendencies was certainly unpredictable. I guess I was someone in my past who enjoyed different types of music, but I wasn’t truly listening to what was being amplified. It wasn’t until college where I would discover my favorite artist, which would then lead to me discovering the amazing talent, Lissie.
In 2004 I heard Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” on the radio my sophomore year of college and it changed me. I immediately became more aware of how wonderful and powerful music could be. Not that pumping up Nelly in your parents minivan can’t be, but after listening to that song I was actually tuned into what I was hearing. This isn’t a story about Ray though, it is about Lissie. However, without my admiration for Ray I would have never cross paths with Lissie back in 2009.
There she was this blonde girl from my vantage point with glasses, a plaid shirt, jeans, and a guitar radiating a sound that instantaneously touches you. She was the opening act for Ray LaMontagne and after arriving a bit into her set and hearing her belt a few notes, I was already regretting not showing up earlier to hear her in her entirety. She had a raw sound that really struck a chord with me. At the time I was thinking I don’t know if I admired her more for her courage to just stand up there alone in a big theater singing with such ease or if it was the depth in her voice as the lyrics came out with such beautiful effortlessness that had me so giddy. (Isn’t it just wonderful when you hear someone or something for the first time and you are an instant fan.) I remember her singing about the Mississippi River and wedding bells and a few other things before she said her name and left the stage.
I commented to my sister who was with me about how much I enjoyed this opening act performance. Then I made the mistake of not going out to the lobby and purchasing her EP. This was a mistake on many levels. First off, I think it is important to support artists who you like and what better way to do so by purchasing their music to put money in their pockets. It’s really not about the money spent or the money they may take in though, it’s about owning something that you can connect with by listening to it whenever and wherever. I was foolish not to buy her EP that night, but luckily her music moved me enough that I made it a conscious effort to find out more.
Unfortunately, due to a slip up in my hearing I left the concert in November ’09 unsure if her name was Liz C. or Lizzy. And since she was an up and coming artist there wasn’t a whole lot of info on the internet for me to employ my stalking ways to gather more details. It wasn’t until May or so when I believe I was watching Grey’s Anatomy and I heard a distinct voice that I knew was hers. This led to me figuring out that her name was indeed Lissie, and I was from that point on clear to stalk her in a much more calculated way.
I remember getting about six CD’s (just like a preteen girl) from Santa in 2010 and Catching a Tiger was by and large my favorite. I’ve seen her in concert four times and each time I am captivated and so impressed by how she fully throws herself into her performances. The second time I saw her at the Hiro Ballroom in NYC and it was this nice, intimate setting where she just blew the roof off the place (this is an idiom people use right when referring to singers, a music critic I am not). The third time I bought three tickets and dragged (after it was over they were certainly glad to be dragged to a setting with such a mesmerizing singer) two of my good friends who had never heard of her prior to attending the concert. It was at Webster Hall and she again was soooo goooood and as a result had two new fans. The fourth time and most recent was at Bowery Ballroom, and it was perfect. She sang songs from her new album and I couldn’t be happier that I had more fresh Lissie music to look forward to listening to.
There are many talented singers and performers out there, but in my opinion Lissie is one of the best. She may not be as well known as others, but let me tell you she should be because she deserves it.
She is unique and original.
She sings songs you can tell from the heart.
She is kind and gracious as a perfomer.
She plays the guitar.
She doesn’t care about how sweaty she gets when in concert.
She sings about not wanting to go to work and not caring about being famous or if people know her name (which is kind of ironic since that was the exact case for me after seeing her for the first time).
She takes tequila shots at her concerts.
She has a voice that is so rich and pure that it is impossible not to connect with her.
Here are some performances you should all watch to understand why Lissie is so great at what she does:
- “Everywhere I Go” – my favorite
2. “Wedding Bells” – Hank Williams cover and the song that really grabbed me when I saw her opening for Ray Lamontagne
3. “They All Want You” – great new tune from her new album
I wrote this not to just profess how much I adore Lissie, but hopefully to hook other people onto her. I know we all have different musical interests, but I think Lissie transcends that. Also, besides singing her original songs so well she does great covers of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, to name a few. I actually selfishly wrote this because I want more friends to listen to Lissie with, and additionally I enjoy having a rockin’ female artist to root for. You don’t have to like Lissie just open your ears to her. I’m glad I had mine open back in November 2009. Thanks Lissie for doing what you do and cheers to your success and a long future in making music.
Oh and if you really end up liking her you should buy her new album Back to Forever out this Tuesday, October 8th.
Listed on their Facebook page as a Latin vocal group from Sweden, which I’m still trying to figure out what that means exactly, but that is besides the point because Solala is tons of fun! Olle Bergel, Anders Gabrielson, and Jens Lindvall apparently spend their days harmonizing (usually in the kitchen) and making music with not only their voices, but also with various household items. That’s right, drop what you are doing right now to check them out.
I’ve spent a good deal of time watching their Youtube videos in both English and non English – all very compelling stuff. My personal fave is their version of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. Watch to be entertained:
There are so many things I like about this performance:
- Anytime the guy in the hat (my apologies for not knowing who is who, I tried researching but got hung up by all the Swedish words on their page) sings “Stay in my arms.” Please, I need more of stay in my arms, if you dare.
- In the opening notes before they break into the lyrics, I thoroughly appreciate the singer on the right’s consistent neck cranes to the upbeat of the note.
- Furthermore, just watching the guy on the right alone throughout the entire thing is pure enjoyment.
- The use of the sugar holder(?) as a meaningful instrument, and his rhythmic bringing it back and forth takes an ordinary thing and makes it magical.
- The backing beats by the middle guy takes some serious skills (or not, I know nothing about what Latin vocal groups should and shouldn’t be able to do)
- 1:41-1:52 favorite eleven second stretch for many reasons
- Anytime any of them makes eye contact with one another. They clearly love what they do and that’s nice to see.
- The wine glasses on the table. Drinking and singing is a lethal combo, and lethal in a good way for these gents.
Seriously, these guys are great. If you have a few minutes to spare be sure to check them out singing “Kiss from a Rose” made famous originally by Batman Forever, and “All That She Wants” of course made popular by another terrific Swedish group, Ace of Base. Thanks Solala for entering into my life via Youtube!