Super talented Illinois native Lissie, first popped up on our musical radar with her numerous festival appearances and cool laidback style. Next month sees the release of her much anticipated second album, so we caught up with her in-between gigs to talk T-shirts, TV series marathons and what she can’t live without on tour.
What artists or people inspired you to go into music?
My grandfather was a singer so I think I got it from him. I started out really liking musical theatre as a kid, the idea that you could sing your life and feelings was fascinating to me. Around the age of 12 I got Sheryl Crow’s album Tuesday Night Music Club, it was the first time I realized, as a girl, I could learn guitar and write songs too. From then on I was writing and teaching myself guitar.
What was it like growing up in Chicago and how did that inspire you?
I actually grew up in rock island, Illinois which is three hours west of Chicago, right on the Mississippi river bordering Iowa. People from the Midwest are pretty straight forward, no frills people. I think that gives me directness in my personality and music. Also because it was a place where if you stood out, you’d get funny looks, the struggles I had motivated me to succeed.
What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening non-stop to the Kendrick Lamar album good kid, m.A.A.d. city. I grew up listening to gangster rap and I think he’s the most exciting rapper I’ve heard in a while for his beats, poetry and raw, honest perspective.
What do you take with you on tour?
My band, a suitcase full of jeans and t-shirts and a good moisturiser is always important. Recently I bought a tiny acoustic guitar to have on me in case I feel inspired to write a song. I also have a stuffed monkey that I got when I was two that I usually bring to give me a little feeling of home.
How would you describe your style and has it changed at all?
I’d say my style is pretty basic. I wear jeans and t-shirts a lot. I like motorcycle boots and baggy sweaters and I love a leather jacket. I don’t wear jewellery except for a mood ring my sister bought for me at a service station last year and a string friendship bracelet I bought in Mexico– my friends still have theirs on too. My style has only changed in that as I am exposed to more fashion and designers, I go for better quality and better tailored basics than I would have when I was younger.
When you’re not writing music or performing – what do you like to do with your spare time?
I like the simple life. I like a day with nothing to do but to go for a long walk in the sunshine. I have a dog and he’s pretty entertaining. I like taking him out for hikes. I also love to binge watch TV shows like True Blood and Mad Men. I like to cook and drink wine, read books – mostly solitary activities.
What makes a great gig?
When the crowd is really pumped up and in it with you! When the band and I are working like we are one brain. When I’ve had a little bit of tequila and I feel like tearing it up.
What’s been one of your favourite gigs to play so far?
There have been a lot of excellent gigs the last few years. I always say that Glastonbury 2010 was a huge and exciting moment for my band and I because the album had just come out and I had no idea if anyone knew us or not. We got a great turnout for our Park Stage set and the weather was incredible. The whole weekend the vibe was just spectacular!
Tell us a secret…
I am a hopeless romantic.
Lissie’s new album Back To Forever is out on 18th October, buy it here.