Lissie Discusses Her 'Wild' Career and New Life as an Independent Artist

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Lissie

Singer/songwriter Lissie has a voice that sounds like it should be reverberating across the Appalachians -- pure, strong, and true. It got her an opening slot for Lenny Kravitz in 2008, a repost from Kid Cudi when she covered his “Pursuit of Happiness,” and an album deal with Sony, which released her buzzed-about debut album Catching a Tiger in 2010. 

But speaking to Billboard at The Patch -- one of three houses established by SOUR PATCH KIDS to support touring artists -- Lissie says that her record deal left her artistically tapped, and unsure if she wanted to continue having a career in music.

“I was very fortunate to have all these resources … but I got to a place where I felt like every idea I had, there was someone on the other side who said ‘No,’ or ‘How about this instead?,’” she explains. “It was too emotionally exhausting to fight, so I just stopped.”

When she was dropped in 2014, Lissie says she was “relieved, and … ready to have [her] freedom back.” Now, on the heels of My Wild West – her recently released third album, and her first as an independent artist – the musician who once thought of packing it all in feels rejuvenated and refocused.

The album, which features standout tracks like “Don’t You Give Up on Me” and “Ojai,” has prompted Lissie to get back on the road, where she’s touring with a rotating cast of opening acts that also serve as her band (“The songs are sounding different with every group of musicians I work with”). Ultimately, having her career firmly back in her hands allows Lissie to focus on the simple pleasures of making and playing music, which is more than enough for this down to Earth talent.

“I’m not trying to have a fresh sound or a cool look or an image,” she says. “I’m just singing songs about my life in the most heartfelt, genuine way I can, and I’m gonna be moving on to more songs very soon. It’s as simple as that.”