Our new video series presents a closer look at -- and an exclusive performance from -- the cool artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.
Lissie Live: Billboard Tatsemakers
In our latest installment of Tastemakers, we caught up with Elisabeth Maurus aka Lissie for a midday rooftop jam session in New York. The Rock Island, Illinois native and her band mates, Eric Sullivan (guitar) and Lewis Keller (bass, kick drum & hi-hat) delivered a high-energy set in the relentless August heat. After a few smokes and a soundcheck, Lissie and her two-man rhythm section howled and hollered, stomped and clapped through three songs from her debut, "Catching A Tiger," released Aug. 17. In addition to heating up interest in the U.S., the album is making major waves across the pond in europe and in the folk realm.
To record "Tiger," Lissie swapped her acoustic guitar for an electric sound, joined forces with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse) and reunited with fellow Tastemaker and friend, Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds. Her first full-length, the set is an effortless and authentic folk rock album from a singer/songwriter that simply lists her influences as porches, pie and cigarettes.
Video Below: Lissie performs "Bully."
"Growing up, I listened to all kinds of music: classic rock, musicals, rap, [and] country. While I was making my album, I was listening to a lot of Bobbie Gentry which I don't necessarily came through in my sound but I think she's another female artist I think is cool and has interesting production and writes great songs."
Video Below: Lissie Performs "Little Lovin'"
Lissie, who has toured the U.S. previously with Ray LaMontagne, The Low Anthem, and City & Colour and has supported Local Natives and Lenny Kravitz, has dates opening for The Script coming up next month.
"The music is heartfelt. I write the lyrics based on personal experience. It's got a rock-folk vibe but I think there's also elements of soul, pop and gospel. Somebody once said it was like grunge-country which I don't quite know if that's how I'd phrase it but I kind of like it."
Call it what you want to call it, Lissie has also found a way to pair her raspy voice with many other artists' Hot 100 hits and make them into her own. Her much-blogged about live renditions of Metallica, "Nothing Else Matters," Kid Cudi, "Pursuit of Happiness" and the ever-interpreted Lady Gaga smash "Bad Romance" have racked up more than three million clicks on her YouTube channel alone. In a world of one-hit viral wonders that pop up nearly every day, Lissie insists the cover buzz was unintentional.
"I'd never heard "Pursuit of Happiness" before. We were driving around in the Midwest and he (Kid Cudi) says, 'Rollin the Midwest side and out livin' my life gettin' out dreams" and I was sort of defiant when I lived in Rock Island. Everything he's saying in that song felt like something I could have said."
You can check out Lissie coming up on her first U.S. headlining tour, which begins October 6th at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA, and includes a performance at the Austin City Limits festival on October 9 before she hops back across the pond.
Text by Lisa Binkert