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“People are going through so many different things," says California-based folk-rock sensation Lissie, "but they’re going through the same things, too. Music is the great equalizer. It can make you feel like you’re not alone and that somebody out there understands."
Growing up in Rock Island, Illinois, Lissie's attachment to music started early and evolved through an eclectic playlist that included everything from dance pop to classic rock to hardcore hip-hop. "I never felt like I wanted to listen to just one type of music," she says. "There's too much great stuff to absorb and be inspired by. In my case, I was inspired to create my own music because I see it as a way for people to process their own emotions in a powerful way. You can get things off your own chest, and then it goes out to somebody else, who then releases it and it goes on to the next person."
On her 2010 debut album Catching A Tiger, Lissie's evocative mix of folk-rock-flavored pop scored a direct hit with listeners, selling over 250,000 copies and going Gold in the UK and Norway. Witnessing the impact her own music has had on others is an experience the songstress is still getting used to. “It’s such an honor to be a part of somebody’s life, a person you don’t even know," she marvels. "I remember music doing that to me. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I felt as if certain musicians were singing just for me. They were telling my story. That's what I hope I can do for other people."
Lissie adds 12 bold and beautiful new chapters to this narrative on her forthcoming new album, the Jacknife Lee-produced Back To Forever, due out October 8th. "On this album, I think that I’ve learned how to craft the songs more – the choruses, the pay-offs, the ways the tunes unfold," she explains. "I try to give myself a little perspective, almost like I’m an observer and not in the thick of things, which lets me sing about the emotions while I’m giving both sides of the story."
In compiling her list of the 10 records that changed her life, Lissie reflected on how the music that shaped her own journey influenced Back To Forever. “So many amazing records have made me who I am, but I always want to sound like me," she says. "In a song like Further Away, you can tell that I listen to classic rock, or in Sleepwalking you can hear a little bit of Bruce Springsteen. Even so, I try to avoid being transparent. I never want to feel like I’m ripping anyone off. It’s my life’s goal to find that place where I fit. The albums that I love are there, but I want my music to be all mine.”
Back To Forever can be pre-ordered at this link. You can read Lissie: The 10 Records That Changed My Life on the following pages.