A beautiful, sunny day in the Isle Of Wight
Illinois-born, California-based singer Lissie has returned with her second album "Back To Forever" released on the 14th of October and those of you who don't already know her are about to fall in love. This folk-rock singer is nothing like anyone else in the charts and she's proud of it. I caught up with her at Bestival to discuss music, festivals and her love of Tequila.
FNY: Hey Lissie, so what was your inspiration for the album?
Lissie: Well, you know, a lot of my influence is more my life and my experiences. There's a lot of romantic conflict in there which is always an easy source of inspiration. There are also a couple of songs that are commenting on society; about celebrity, or the environment, or job satisfaction as well. It's a pretty diverse album. I'm really excited about it.
FNY: Your song "Shameless" shows a lot of anger at the music industry. If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
Lissie: Well, I mean, Shameless was a song I wrote on one day. It's not an end-all-be-all, but I was discouraged. I've always loved to sing and I want to express myself. And, I feel when I do get the opportunity to connect with people they get it, but getting me to the people is so political. There's a lot of mediocre, superfluous stuff that is more about shocking people the hype than about connecting people and give them a bit of perspective. The fact that we are all going through the same things and we all have a lot in common, I connect with that. It's not just about being in the club and, like, going out. I mean, I do listen to those songs too, and they're really fun. I'm not bitter or anything!
FNY: Do you have any guilty pleasures in the charts at the moment?
Lissie: I really like Drake's song, "Hold On, We're Going Home". I wouldn't really call it a guilty pleasure though. I listen to it basically a hundred times in a row. Kendrick Lemar I think is amazing. So, there's stuff doing well that I'm really into. I grew up in the Midwest I like folk music, I like rock music, I like rap music. So I think trying to home into the message and deliver it without, you know, dating someone famous. Which I wouldn't do...because I'm not Shameless!!
FNY: Which track is particularly personal to you or which is your favourite from the album?
Lissie: It's hard to pick. I like the whole album. All my songs are special to me. I give them all the life they deserve which is why I think there's a lot of diversity with my music. The title track from the album is a nostalgic song about me and my past and childhood. The idea of forever being this big thing when you're young and as you get older it's getting much narrower. That track means a lot to me. And the newest single "Further Away (Romance Police)" is a fun track. I really like it. It's a good vibe.
FNY: Do you prefer touring or working in the studio?
Lissie: I prefer touring to recording. Touring I like, but it is nutty. It's completely nuts. Whereas when you're in the studio, you're at home, but I think we excel more as a band on tour. We're a live band. I do like the studio. It's very different.
FNY: What's been your favourite festival this summer?
Lissie: My favourite...it's hard to choose. They're all so different even in the UK alone. Secret Garden Party was cool. I thought it was a cool vibe. It was artsy and well decorated. I got to go swimming in the lake. Bestival is cool. I'm really digging the vibe here. I can't pick a favourite, they've all been different.
FNY: Have you had any weird festival moments or funny anecdotes?
Lissie: I dunno. Hmm...I dunno. I mean, I've had some special moments. There was this guy I dated. We fell in love. We met at Glastonbury and fell in love at Bestival. That's significant. It didn't work out, but I care for him deeply. Nothing weird. I don't have super, weird fans or anything. They're not going to start crying and taking my hair or anything.
FNY: Ha, that's ideal then. I'm not sure anyone would like people taking their hair. Do you have any rituals when you're touring before you go on stage? In fact, what are you drinking in that mug?
Lissie: *laughs* This is er...pretty mediocre tequila. I sip Tequila about 30-40 mins before I go on.
Lissie's not-so-secret weapon
FNY: Hmm...I hear it's great for your voice?!
Lissie: Ha, I don't know. I don't shoot it, I sip it! I have a friend who imports tequila and mescal to the states. I'm trying to get a deal so he imports it to Europe too! But I do warm -up my voice, I steam, I do a whole thing a couple hours before my set and drink lots of water.
FNY: Did you embrace the fancy dress theme at Bestival?
Lissie: I think if I was a spectator I would totally embrace the fancy dress theme...at least for like one day. But maybe not for a performance. We're going to do a performance at Halloween and we were trying to work out whether to dress up, but I don't think I can get away with wearing a costume. It detracts away from the music. I've seen some really cool costumes at Bestival though.
FNY: Do you usually stick around at festivals?
Lissie: I mean I would love to stick around and see Elton John, but lately we're pretty busy so we're leaving in a couple of hours. I'll have a glass of wine maybe and some mac'n'cheese (which is currently sitting in front of us)...but it's back to London in a couple of hours!
FNY: Finally, if you had a personal motto which summed you up, what would it be?
Lissie: OK, I got two. One is "Do unto others as you would have done to you". You know, it's like a standard bible passage. And then second is, "There's few lasting virtues in being cool", because I think people work way too hard on being 'cool' and it totally bums me out.
FNY: Yeah, I definitely know that feeling. Lovely meeting you again, Lissie!