Lissie Talks Singing, Style, & Courtney Love

Photographed by Molly Cranna.
With a fan base growing by the minute, a voice that has critics crowning her the next Stevie Nicks, and more stage presence than an entire 30-piece marching band, Lissie has practically got "rock star" tattooed across her forehead. Plus, there's also that cover she did of Kid Cudi's "Pursuit Of Happiness" that totally blew our minds and won us over...for life.
Having released her second album, Back to Forever, this past October, the Ojai-based singer just finished an extensive international tour. Before heading back to her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois, to be with her parents over the holidays, Lissie spent an afternoon with us in Venice, California, and caught us up with everything that's been going on in her life. Get to know the soulful artist who everyone is buzzing about — and check out her cool, laid-back style, ahead.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How long have you been playing music?
"I have been singing since I was as little as I can remember. I did a lot of musical theater when I was a kid. I guess around junior high I stopped doing theater, but I knew I really loved singing and performing, and I was taking voice lessons. And, then maybe at 14 or 15, I started teaching myself guitar in earnest, and wanting to be able to write songs so I could accompany myself."

Lissie Beanie, Isabel Marant for H&M sweater, raquel allegra jersey leggings, Sam Edelman calfskin smoking slippers.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How would you describe your genre of music?
"Yeah, my friends and I actually were talking about that question the other night. One of them said the answer for that is 'the good kind.' I mean, I’d sort of say rock, pop, with some folk inflections — it's straightforward and hopefully timeless music."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Of all of your songs, which one do you enjoy playing the most?
"I like some more than others. But, I guess on the new album, I really like the song 'They All Want You.' Just because there’s a lot of space for my voice, and I’m proud of the song crafting I did. I feel like I’m telling a story that’s a bit visual. My dream is to be able to write like Bobbie Gentry or John Prine or Bruce Springsteen — they’re such visual writers."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Who were some of your biggest musical influences growing up?
"Once I hit sixth grade, grunge was really starting to happen. You know, Nirvana, and Courtney Love. It was beyond my understanding though. I didn’t really understand the anger and the pain of it all, but I could tell that there was something very cool. And, then Sheryl Crow, who was this amazing singer and she played the guitar and wrote her own songs. I think for me in sixth grade, it was cool to be like Courtney Love and Sheryl Crow — they played their instruments and had a point of view. And, their lyrics were interesting."

Maje Coat, J Brand Dark Denim Jeans, Sam Edelman calfskin smoking slippers.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
You write all of your own lyrics, right? What's that process like? Does it just come to you out of the blue, or is it something you have to really work to pull out of you?
"I write all of my own lyrics. Mostly, I’m just inspired by, you know, boys, or a news story, or just from watching people and processing my own emotions. So, at its simplest, I think I’m just inspired by my life and my relationships. I've always liked singing because it's a soothing act. The vibration in your chest would actually soothe me when I was upset or down. So, it was sort of always something I could do to get things off my chest."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Music and fashion have such a unique relationship. Every genre has its own particular look. Do you think your music influences the way you dress?
"I’m a very practical kind of dresser. I think jeans, a good pair of motorcycle boots, and a T-shirt are great for performing. When I'm on stage I don’t want to be worrying about what I’m wearing and how it looks. I’m the kind of person that attaches a lot of sentimental value to clothes. So, I end up wearing the same things a lot, and I have stories that go along with my jeans or boots or leather jacket. I also have a lot of chunky grandma sweaters — one of which belonged to my high school boyfriend’s mom."

Vintage Cardigan, Plaid Shirt From Rose Bowl flea market.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
You just finished your longest tour yet. What are your plans now that you finally have a little time off?
"I’m going to Rock Island, Illinois, for the holidays. That’s where my parents are, and then my brother and sister are on the Iowa side of the river. And, all of my best friends I grew up with are still there, so I’ll get to see them. I love going home. Plus, my parents have been watching my dog while I was on tour. So, I'll finally get to see him again."