City and Colour:
"I'm no king, I wear no crown. but desperate times seem over now. yet still i weaken somehow and it tears me apart." my name is dallas. i cant sleep. i play music. finish strong.
You can always recognize an Annie. There’s something iconically American –fresh faced, light, open – about the women who once starred in the musical about a curly haired orphan with an indomitable spirit. You’re not quite sure where this infectious energy comes from, energy that evokes all the possibilities of youth – the precociousness, the adventure. Once it slips, “I was Annie when I was nine,” you say, “Yes! Of course you were.” And then you ask, what happened next?
For Lissie – a California indie rocker, what happened next reads like a novel, like a fusion of Salinger, Voltaire, and Blume, with a rock and roll paperback thrown in for good measure. It starts with an expulsion, it includes a command performance at a surreal celebrity wedding, it reveals a blithe spirit as experimental as she is committed – to community and her own fluid melody.
"I got expelled from high school in late February of my senior year,” Lissie says, as if this is as ordinary as going to the prom. "It’s a long story." It took her three weeks to earn a degree at an alternative outreach center and then she promptly hit the road.
Lissie traveled solo around the country, stopping to visit friends and family from Florida to DC to Chicago. As a child growing up in Rock Island, Illinois – a stone’s throw from Iowa and the Mississippi River – Lissie was a natural performer. “I could always carry a tune,” she says. “Even as a baby. Even before I could talk.” She credits her grandfather – an international barbershop quartet champion, as the source of her gift for melody. When she set to roaming the country at eighteen, she did it troubadour-style, singing wherever she happened to be.
"I played a lot of open mics in the towns I visited and in Fort Collins, Colorado where I went to college. I met other musicians. I would open for the traveling acts that came through town, like G. Love and Special Sauce and Ozomatli. I met DJ Harry, who was signed to the Sci Fidelity label, and he liked my voice. We wrote a song together and it ended up on his album, “Collison.” It was trip hop, different from the folksy acoustic songs I'd been writing. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me." The song, "All My Life" received a good deal of college and AAA radio airplay, and placements in the TV shows, “The OC,” “Veronica Mars,” “House,” and “Wildfire,” as well as in the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
Lissie spent a college semester studying in Paris. “I’m not sure what a degree would have meant to me, " she says. " I’d just been taking general courses trying to learn a little bit about as many subjects as I could." Her courses took a back seat to hear love of performing. In Paris, she met an American who booked gigs for her at Bistrot des Artistes and the Lizard Lounge and befriended a Japanese painter who got her on French radio. "I felt like I kept getting better- the responses were positive, overwhelming. I decided to quit school so I could pursue this way of life."
Lissie moved from Paris to Los Angeles, where she hit the open mic circuit and quickly landed a gig at Genghis Cohen. It was there that she met Betsy Hammer. Ms. Hammer introduced her to Brooks Arthur, legendary producer/engineer with classic credits like "Hang on Sloopy", "My Boyfriend's Back" and "The Chanukah Song." Together, they took Lissie to Guy Oseary who introduced her to producer, Glen Ballard. Lissie's voice can be heard on the title track of the film “Dream It Out Loud” which Ballard scored. Oseary also invited her to perform during the clandestine wedding ceremony of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.
In 2007, Lissie produced an EP through her imprint label Lionboy Records. The four-song release has received airplay by Nic Harcourt on the nationally syndicated radio show "Morning Becomes Eclectic" originating from national public radio's flagship KCRW, as well as placements in a Romanian telephone commercial and the film "Wedding Daze" (starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher). In support of this EP, her solo tour included the South by Southwest music festival, and an opening slot for Badly Drawn Boy on his run of west coast dates. In January 2008, Lenny Kravitz saw lissie's myspace page and invited her to open for him on his North American “Love Revolution Tour" and on a recent trip to Paris Lissie was invited to open for John Fogerty.
At times it seems Lissie's path is strewn with golden (and often bizarre) opportunities, but she is not without the ability to create her own road and drive right into the center of community. In Los Angeles, Lissie makes her home in Beachwood Canyon, a natural haven for artists and free spirits. She set up a weekly residency at Crane's Hollywood Tavern, inviting her vast array of fellow friends and travelers to join and jam. The Beachwood Rockers were born, and the shifting collective has been a mainstay at Crane's for almost two years. Lissie also performs as the "Blue Jean Queen" in the "Denim Family Band" regularly at both Crane's and with frequent performances at the Hotel Cafe.
lissie co-wrote and sang lead vocals on Morgan Page’s single, “The Longest Road” (4 on US/8 on UK Billboard Club Charts). She's currently in the studio with producers Paul Fox and Curt Schneider, writing and recording her highly anticipated debut album due out in 2009 on Sony BMG UK.