Lisa Loeb is many things to many people: To her fans, she’s a relatable, folksy musical artist; to her children, Lyla, 5, and Emet, 3, she’s a mom; to the beneficiaries of her nonprofit organization, The Camp Lisa Foundation, she’s a blessing. Most of all, to just about anyone and everyone she meets, she’s a genuinely happy person, and it’s that authentic glow that fuels all of the other aspects of her life.
While it may seem the pop star is beaming with positivity now, it wasn’t always this way for Lisa.
A childhood of searching
“I feel like I spent a lot of time when I was younger being depressed, having my teenage angst, thinking about life, and being frustrated,” Lisa says. “I had a very happy childhood; my parents were great. I was not wanting for anything. I think that there’s just something in me that wasn't satisfied.”
But Lisa didn’t ever stay down for too long.
Looking on the brighter side
“As I went along, I realized there were different ways that you could look at the world to see the brighter side of things,” she explains. “I try to be more of a glass half-full person than a glass half-empty. As I grow older, I continue to get a sense of being satisfied.”
According to Lisa, an early love of music—and, eventually, a career in it—sustained her happiness.
Music pulls you out
“There’s something very magical when you’re working with other people and you're collaborating,” she says. “There’s something that makes you happy when you connect with people. Actually, just singing a sad melody can actually make you feel better. It’s like a way to digest those negative feelings… it pulls you out of it. Luckily with my work, I have that.”
On her second children’s album, Camp Lisa, she teamed up with some notable guests, including Nina Gordon, Jill Sobule and Steve Martin on banjo, to pay homage to some of her fondest memories growing up at summer camp. Lisa gives a portion of the sales from the record to the foundation she created to help kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to go to summer camp.
“Summer camp was super important to me growing up,” she says. “I was really committed to school, and making good grades and all those kind of things, but I felt like I learned more about myself as a person when I was at summer camp, and it was really fun. I wanted to share that experience with other kids who didn’t have that opportunity. I feel like I want to help as much as I can because I have a voice out there.”
A voice out there
For Lisa, keeping a 20 years-plus career in perspective also helps maintain her positive outlook. Realizing that she had a lot of help along the way, like having her chart-topping hit “Stay” from the Reality Bites soundtrack discovered through her friendship with actor Ethan Hawke, she never forgets to be thankful.
“I’m definitely grateful to different people for helping me find my sound, for helping me like that with different connections that led to other things,” she says. “Just for people who really wanted to listen to music and buy it, people who told friends about it… I’m grateful for all that.”