Ask people what comes to mind when you mention Lisa Loeb and, if they’re conscious of the pop-music scene, they’ll recall her trademark tortoise-shell glasses or her first hit song, “Stay.” Ten years ago, the uncomplicated and hummable acoustic guitar-plucked refrain of “Stay” was a song instantly familiar to millions of radio listeners — a refrain that today still unfailingly elicits cheers from concertgoers after the first three notes.
Loeb has had a charmed career. Her bio is the stuff of legend. In late 1993, actor and friend Ethan Hawke asked her to contribute a song for his movie Reality Bites. When director Ben Stiller included “Stay” on the film’s soundtrack, Loeb became the first unsigned artist to have a number one single. Since then she has released four albums and hit the charts over the years with the singles “Do You Sleep,” “Waiting for Wednesday,” and “I Do.”
The 37-year-old Dallas-raised chanteuse recently released The Way It Really Is, her fifth disc of solo original material. The disc opens with the catchy, off-beat spree “Window Shopping,” which is followed by the retro-flavoured “I Control The Sun,” while acoustic numbers such as “Hand-Me-Downs,” “Would You Wander” and “Accident” highlight Loeb’s earthy folk-rock roots.
Loeb readily confesses that her album is lyrically autobiographical, produced off the heels of a break-up with long-time boyfriend, Dweezil Zappa. “It’s about seeing [relationships] how they really are,” says Loeb. “You need to appreciate things. If there are things you don’t like, deal with them or accept them.”
Before releasing The Way It Really Is, Loeb and Zappa hosted a traveling cooking show, Dweezil and Lisa on the Food Network. Appropriately, her last CD was called Cake and Pie.
“Food is a reflection of us emotionally,” says Loeb. “For example, when we’re on a date, we eat with another person, and judge them by how and what they eat.”
On the morning of our interview, Loeb confesses to having a rather complex breakfast: taco with peanut butter and organic fig spread, and a coffee with maple sugar. “My tastes are complicated,” admits Loeb.
Currently, Loeb is working on re-releasing older material and shooting some videos for her children’s recording, Catch the Moon. She is also working on a TV pilot and is intermittently touring the Americas and Asia. It’s a busy schedule and Loeb would have it no other way.
“I always have mixed feelings about how seriously I should take what I do for a living,” she says. “I’m not sure. It’s something I’ll have to talk to my shrink about. I do take it seriously. I work hard at it and I’m offended when people don’t take it seriously at all.”