We must forgive the occasional Generation X'er if he thinks Lisa Loeb drifted into one-hit-wonder oblivion, never to be heard from again. Not everyone knows the then-unwed Loeb -- she of the 1994 smash hit "Stay (I Missed You)" -- starred in the 2006 E! reality show "Number 1 Single" (get it?), recorded two children's albums (with a third due out next month), a slew of "grown-up" records, and launched the Lisa Loeb Eyewear Collection over the past 19-some years.
After all, Loeb never had another hit as huge as "Stay," and it was that song -- along with her signature bespectacled appearance -- that made her top of the mind nearly two decades ago. But, clearly, after just regaling you with only a portion of her vast resume -- oh, did we forget to mention she got married and had two kids since 2009? -- Loeb, who just turned 45, is not long for oblivion just yet.
Months after releasing "No Fairy Tale" (her first grown-up album in nine years) and a week before her show at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre on March 15, Lowcountry Current spoke with Loeb about why it's been so long between grown-up albums, performing kids' music live, and her greatest disguise.
Question. "No Fairy Tale" marks your first grown-up record since 2004. What took so long?
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Answer. I just kept getting sidetracked with other projects -- both music and non-music (-related), and then also just personal life. ... Especially after making my reality show ("Number 1 Single"), during which I thought I was going to be able to record a new album then, not realizing how much time making and producing a reality show takes. I was really involved in the production as well as being on camera and it took up an extreme amount of energy and time to shoot the shows, to edit the shows, to promote the shows, and for some reason I thought I was going to be able to write and record music while that was happening. It didn't work out that way at all.
Q. You got into recording children's music before you had kids of your own.
A. Yes, that's right. I started making kids' music before I was even close to having kids on my own. I ended up getting to work with my friend Elizabeth Mitchell, who was my freshman roommate (at Brown University) and someone I'd had a band with for year. We made a kids' record together called "Catch the Moon" (2003).
Q. Do you perform kids' music live?
A. Yeah, I do. While I was making records I was also still playing concerts and playing kids concerts. (Doing) kids' events, family events. And that's fun too. That's a little more interactive, which has taken me a bit of time to get used to. Even though I'm a singer, I'm not a big sing-along kind of person. That being said, I loved singing along in summer camp. Trying to memorize the words and singing along with my friends was so much fun. So try to tap back into that time period where you don't judge yourself, you just have fun with it.
Q. Do you perform kids songs during grown-up shows and vice versa?
A. I keep them pretty separate. I will play (them), if somebody has a request for a grown-up song. Like often people really want to hear the song "Stay" or another song they're really familiar with, and I'm happy to play that song. People don't usually request the handful of songs that aren't really appropriate for kids. I will do kids songs sometimes at grown-up shows. I have a song called "The Disappointing Pancake" that I love playing, and grown-ups get all the fun wordplay, and it's actually fun to play that one live. It's a song (comedian) Steve Martin played in the studio.
Q. Do you still get recognized?
A. I do. More often than not it's through my glasses. I've been on a lot of airplanes lately for tours and I get a lot of people pulling me aside quietly and saying, "You know I just I wanted to tell you that you really remind me of Lisa Loeb." "And it's hilarious because I am Lisa Loeb." They're like, "Oh my gosh! No way! I can't believe you're on my airplane" or "I can't believe you're at my restaurant!"
Q. I can't believe you eat food, too.
A. "I can't believe you eat, and you also go on airplanes too. ... You're so much smaller in real life."
Q. Do you ever wear contacts?
A. I actually wore contacts to an audition the other day. I wear them to acting auditions and I also wear them to 3-D IMAX when I can remember, like (for) "The Hobbit."
Q. When you do that you probably don't get recognized.
A. Exactly. I don't.
Q. You have the perfect disguise.
A. It is. I'm slightly allergic to contacts. I can't wear them for long periods of time or many days in the row. So it's a good alias, but it's not a foolproof alias.
OTHER INTERVIEWS BY BLAIR R. FISCHER