This Monday, October 10th, singer/songwriter Lissie will play both her biggest and most intimate Philly date yet, when she will be headlining a sold out solo acoustic show downstairs at World Café Live. The date celebrates the release of Live at Union Chapel, Lissie’s latest live album, which boasts 13 solo acoustic numbers recorded in London last year. However, the live record is just on the tail of My Wild West, her third studio album and first that wasn’t recorded for a major label, which hit shelves this February. The album was inspired both by the idea of not having to write the kind of songs a major label likes and Lissie’s recent move back to the Midwest, after spending years in California. The album has been praised as Lissie’s most accomplished work, noted for its blending of SoCal sunshine pop with an alt country brand of Americana. After her US dates wrap next week Lissie heads to the UK and Norway, where she’ll be playing shows for nearly the rest of the year. She recently took some time to talk to me about her upcoming dates and travels, in addition to her most recent studio album and relocation.
Izzy Cihak: You’ve played Philadelphia a number of times now, so I’m curious your thoughts on the city. Any particular favorite memories? Have you gotten a chance to explore the city at all?
Lissie: The crowds are always really enthusiastic and I love that! I had a great Philly cheese steak at Ishkabibbles that stands out! I’ve been able to take some walks and explore and I love the history!
Izzy Cihak: I know you relatively recently moved from California to a farm in Iowa. How has that been in terms of influencing your artistic output (if it has)? Is it the kind of place you’d recommend artists consider checking out?
Lissie: I moved ‘cause I wanted to own land and be closer to family! I’m hardly ever there, so it’s hard to say what my creative output will look like once I’m more settled! But I feel very content and at peace there! I think in this day and age artists can live anywhere, so I’m curious to see if creative hubs will start popping up in the Midwest, Southeast, etc., where living is easier!
Izzy Cihak: And you released My Wild West earlier this year, which has received a lot of praise, both popular and critical. And you’ve also spent some time on the road already. What have been some of the highlights of promoting the album so far? Have you had any favorite reactions to it?
Lissie: I’m proud that my first independent and self-funded effort got such great feedback! I’ve been on tour nonstop since its release! I started a new experiment this cycle where I invited a UK band to open and be my band and then did the same in the US with a US-based band. That was such a fun way to mix things up and I feel like I had a fresh approach! Forging those relationships has been a definite highlight!
Izzy Cihak: What would you consider to be the most significant influences behind My Wild West, in addition to your recent relocation, whether musical or not?
Lissie: I think it was just a reflection on my California years and I was careful not to “try” but just to make music and express myself! I wish I could say there was a stronger vision or influence but it was just straight feelings!
Izzy Cihak: It’s obvious that you put a lot of thought into, in addition to your music, your music videos. What kinds of things inspire the visual elements of your work? Are there particular visual artists that you find to be especially influential?
Lissie: I tend to lean on people I trust for the visual aspect. I work with an amazing photographer, Heidi Ross, quite a bit and a director named Talain Rayne / Obear Films. He’s done all the visuals for My Wild West! He’s got fantastic ideas!
Izzy Cihak: You’re basically going to be on the road for the rest of the year. Are there any gigs or cities that you’re especially excited to play, or just visit or revisit?
Lissie: I always like going to Austin and Portland is a cool place! Philly too of course 🙂 I spend a lot of time playing in Norway! I love it there!
Izzy Cihak: What can be expected of the live experience when you play World Café Live in Philadelphia. I think it’s your biggest Philly gig yet and I understand it’s already sold out.
Lissie: Awesome! This is a raw and intimate acoustic solo set. Those are fun because it allows for more banter with the crowd and just feels like a fun hang!
Izzy Cihak: And finally, how are you hoping and planning to spend 2017? What do you have in mind for after these live dates wrap at the end of the year?
Lissie: Things always change but it’s my hope to take like 3-6 months off to get used to my new home! A little down time will hopefully give new song ideas room to grow and I’ll just write until I’m ready to make a new album!