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11 Quick Questions for Lisa Loeb

‘Hanukkah on Rye’ actress is always searching for new experiences

spinner image lisa loeb wearing black shirt that says love against white background
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Lisa Loeb, 54, burst onto the entertainment scene with her song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the 1994 Reality Bites movie soundtrack, making her the first unsigned pop artist to score a number 1 single. Since then, she has released 15 albums, hosted a SiriusXM radio show and started an eyewear collection inspired by her signature cat-eye frames. This holiday season, she stars in Hallmark’s Hanukkah on Rye, premiering Dec. 18, about a couple whose romance is put to the test when they realize they are competing business owners.

What are your favorite Hanukkah traditions?

Making latkes — which we do at home — lighting the Hanukkah candles, watching them burn and [enjoying] the smell of the burning wax. And an intense game of dreidel.

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When did you know that you wanted to be an entertainer?

Ever since I was a little girl. I started writing music when I was 6 years old. I was in all of the plays and musicals, and took dance class multiple times a week. I started writing more original songs with lyrics when I was a teenager. I thought of myself more as a musician and an actor. I think I wanted to actually be an entertainer once I was a grownup.

You mentioned dancing. What kind of dance?

Ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater — all different kinds of dance. I still dance. I usually take a weekly tap class and either a weekly jazz or musical theater dance class as well. My friend from high school [in Dallas] is now my teacher here in Los Angeles. During COVID, I had a private teacher in my backyard, and we would do outdoor private lessons with another neighbor.

Your glasses are such a statement piece. Do you have a favorite?

spinner image lisa loeb holding a tinfoil pan with a ribbon on it that says first place in a still from hanukkah on rye
Loeb stars in the new Hallmark movie “Hanukkah on Rye."
Steven Ackerman/Hallmark Media

My own brand, Lisa Loeb Eyewear, is what I usually wear. My favorite pair of frames is called Cake & Pie. I named all of the frames in my collection after album titles or song lyrics.

You’ve also got a coffee brand, Wake Up! Brew, inspired by your song “Everybody Wake Up.” How do you take your perfect cup?

Six ounces of espresso and 4 ounces of hot 2 percent milk and a teaspoon of white sugar. It’s really good.

Your Camp Lisa Foundation helps enrich the lives of kids through the summer camp experience. What is the best part of summer camp?

Wow, there’s so many good things. I think just having an opportunity to try new things and get out of your comfort zone in a very safe way while making friends and being a little more independent.

Do you ever try to replicate that feeling on family vacations?

My kids go to summer camp, but I think I bring that summer camp feeling into my life every day. I’m always learning how to do different arts and crafts. I’m always making new friends, but keeping the old. I’m always looking for things to do outside.

You host Stay With Lisa Loeb on Sirius XM and cover ’90s music. What are some of your favorite songs?

I like the song “No Scrubs” by TLC. I was a musician in the ’90s, but I didn't always listen to a lot of music from the ’90s. “Closing Time” is good, by Semisonic [and] “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. On my show, I have a feature called “Where They Are Now,” and I talk to a lot of musicians. … That’s really cool, to get to talk to people [such as] “Weird Al” Yankovic, LeAnn Rimes and Ann Wilson from Heart.

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What do you think was so special about that decade musically?

Until Sarah McLachlan and [the female-centric music festival] Lilith Fair came along, there were a lot of issues with being able to get on the radio as a woman. Stations liked to choose one or two women to play. When Lilith Fair came along, the music business started realizing that being a woman wasn't a “genre.” The boundaries of genre were starting to break down and mix up a little bit. You didn’t feel like you had to stay in a specific lane. 

Do you have a dream guest on your interview wish list?

I would love to talk to Elton John. He’s had hits all through many, many different eras. I’ve met him a number of times, but it’d be fun to talk to him about what he’s doing now and his final concert at [L.A.] Dodger Stadium.

You won a Grammy in 2018 for your children's album Feel What U Feel. What is the best part of writing songs for kids?

The best part about writing for kids is that the whole family ends up listening, and I get to write about things I normally wouldn’t. … I can write about things I value, like friendship and respecting others, but in a fun, different kind of storytelling way than just saying, “It's important to respect one another.” It’s a much wider field of expression than being a singer-songwriter in the pop world. I end up bringing those other ideas into my grownup music as well.

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