Photo Credit: Lili Peper
Once you pop open a record by Lissie, you just won’t be able to stop yourself from indulging because whether or not it’s her dedicated music video performances or the keen messages – you can’t help but fall for what she’s got going on. All of the above and more can be found on Lissie’s 2022 release, ‘Carving Canyons,’ out on September 16th. We talked with Lissie not only about the new album, but also popcorn, hitting the road again, and more.
Kendra: This is far from your first rodeo when it comes to releasing new music. You’ve been at it for over a decade and then some. With that, I’d love to know what you’ve crossed off your bucket list as far as your musical aspirations, and what are you eyeing to cross off next with ‘Carving Canyons?’
Lissie: Yes, the time is flying, and I’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things! Toured the world more or less, played festivals, TV, and radio, and got to be a part of people’s lives with my voice and stories. Very grateful! 2010 was a year of firsts and milestones that was such an exciting whirlwind. Mostly though, I feel like making it this far in music while essentially being “true to myself” (as cheesy as that sounds) feels like the real achievement. I hope that people are inspired and comforted by Carving Canyons and that this album allows me to continue to navigate making music in a way that feels authentic to me. I’ve had to redefine success in terms of balancing my overall life over the years. So, the things that I used to want, more for validation’s sake, have faded to the background.
Kendra: Speaking of ‘Carving Canyons,’ with you co-owning Otts Pops Indie Pop, a popcorn company, I’d love to know what flavor of this divine treat would you say your 2022 release reminds you of most and why?
Lissie: Aw, I love this question! Each flavor of Ott’s Pops Indie Pop is a pop music-themed flavor; cheesy pop, dream pop, synth pop, folk pop, country pop, brit pop, etc. Recently, I made “Lissie Pop” which is a mix of folk and cheesy!
I’ve never quite been able to define my music but there are definitely notes of folk and Americana, having started out as a singer-songwriter. That to me, is this savory nutritional yeast, garlic, parsley, turmeric, coconut, and sunflower oil popcorn. It’s earthy and grounded. The “cheesy” pop is your classic cheese corn. Not that my music is cheesy per se but I definitely nod to pop songwriting structure and straightforward, universal storytelling. So it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes we add a bit of cayenne to some flavors and I think that there’s a bit of a spicy kick to this album. A lot of brutal honesty! Furthermore, our “dream pop” is a classic caramel corn and I think there’s a hope and sweetness that remains in these songs. I’ve never tried mixing the dream and the folk, not sure that it would work in popcorn but I think that it works on this album.
Kendra: So let’s talk about “Night Moves,” particularly the video, because watching, I felt like you were living your MTV music video fantasy. You were in it to win it. Did you grow up imitating any music videos in particular that you sort of try and embody when you make your own?
Lissie: Oh boy! Well first off, yes! I grew up in the late ’80s and early ‘90s, so I definitely would dance and sing along to Madonna, Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men videos, and more in the basement as a kid! Back when MTV was mostly music videos. It was also a time when there was this mystery to huge pop stars and a romantic, bigger-than-life energy that was put out.
For “Night Moves,” you flatter me! I definitely give it my all when I’m shooting a video and singing along to the track. I really feel my songs in my core and so especially when I perform live, there’s this intensity and urgency to how I sing. So I try to bring a similar approach to a music video. And it’s also just a ton of fun! I’m glad that it translated!
Kendra: Before we got to hear “Night Moves,” you dropped “Flowers.” This is such a beautiful song that I think many need because it’s about allowing yourself to sort of mourn a relationship and move on. I often think society forces us to forget and move on swiftly. Why do you think it’s important to take one’s time getting over someone?
Lissie: Thank you. “Flowers” is one of my favorites. I went through a pretty gnarly breakup in May of 2020 and it took some time to grieve and process. Also, because of Covid, I was very isolated. I had noticed that my feelings of sadness and especially anger made some people feel uncomfortable. I think things are shifting but unpleasant feelings, especially as a woman, felt unacceptable somehow.
But I knew that for me, the only way that I was going to recover was to own and feel my feelings fully without shame. I had to give myself that permission. I didn’t numb or run away, I dove straight in and thought that I was able to come out more quickly and better on the other side because of it. No one ever really gets closure but I felt like I had to mourn something collective, solo, and writing this song and recording it was very cathartic.
Kendra: You’ll be performing all of the above and more when you hit the road this fall. Are there any new venues on this route that you’re excited to be playing for the first time?
Lissie: Yes, it’ll be a lot of fun to start getting back out on the road and to embody these new songs. I tend to hit the same major cities so it’ll be cool to play Pioneertown and Woodstock!
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
Lissie: Oh I used to love going apple picking. Any kind of farm visit, even the smell of manure makes me nostalgic for being a kid. When everything was sort of starting to yellow, “senescence! “ and the air started to get a bit crisper, being outdoors, eating tart apples.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Carving Canyons’ out on September 16th and a tour already booked, are you already looking ahead to 2023 possibilities?
Lissie: I am really just staying in the here and now. I haven’t gone full road warrior in a couple of years, so I’m curious to see how my body adjusts this fall! In addition to my musical aspirations, there’s the popcorn company and store, the farm I live on, and my partner and dog, family, and friends! I want to “go for it” while also striking a balance if that’s possible. I would really like to follow up this album and the subsequent touring with some sort of collaboration maybe. I have a couple of singer/ songwriter friends and we are talking about starting a trio! So, we’ll see! And it would be cool if I was approached more for guest writing and vocals on cool projects too! I’m open!