I grab coffee with Lisa on a Sunday afternoon. We take a seat outside on the patio of Chapman Coffee House. It’s warm and the sun beams off the street. She tells me she’s excited about a dinner party she’s planning tonight and her face beams. The American Idol finalist and indie crooner has a knack for making people feel comfortable from the get-go. I can’t help but think, “Hey, that’s my job!” Begrudgingly, I find myself laughing over her cheeky remarks as we talk about that one time she ran into Paula Abdul in the bathroom . . .
That one time Paula told her she was cute during the fifth season of American Idol
LISA TUCKER: I was getting ready to go in for my audition with the judges and I ran into Paula Abul in the bathroom. I was washing my hands and she was washing her hands, then she told me, “You look so cute!” I couldn’t even say anything [laughs], I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is happening.”
Right after the show we went on a tour [top 10 finalists], a 3 month tour of 60 cities through America – that was the best part of the show. When you’re doing the show it’s a competition and everyone’s in their own little bubble trying to stay focused but once the competition’s over and you’re on tour, it’s a free for all. Just craziness every day.
Awesome Fans = Icing on the Cake
I have never seen such dedication in my life. It was so awesome. We would have meet-and-greets before and after the show and just to hang out with some of these people and to hear them say how much they appreciated us is icing on the cake after getting to go out every night and perform.
Choosing to leave an opportunity of a lifetime
I was working with Compound, which is Ne-Yo’s production company, and I was doing pop R&B for a while. I realized I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I knew I was supposed to sing so I kind of just followed whatever anybody told me to do, but I realized I didn’t really love pop R&B. So I went into hiding and started writing. I play guitar and piano. I was writing like crazy and have a few albums worth of music at this point. It’s kind of like an indie folk.
Some people really excel at taking a song and making it sound like their own, but I realized I wasn’t really good at that or I didn’t really like doing it. So when I’m singing songs I’ve written its just such a deeper connection. It’s nice to be able to tell a story.
What it felt like to leave a gig most would have killed for
It was super scary. It was terrifying. People were even telling me, ok, come out with this stuff and then eventually you’re going to be able to do what you want. And I was like, ahhh, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think people underestimate the audience’s appreciation for authenticity. When they see someone that is being true to themselves, they appreciate that and can see through somebody putting on this mask for this group or this mask for that group.
To do anything you have sacrifices here and there. Music, because it’s what I’ve been doing my entire life, it takes a lot of time.
Soo . . . it’s like dating somebody?
Exactly! Haha You don’t want to get stuck in it and then lasts for “X” amount of time. Then you get out of it and you’re like, “What did I do with that time?”
I was going into the studio every day and hating it. I told myself: If I’m going to be sacrificing, then I should be doing something that I love to do. That’s why I just finally had to pull the plug and say no, I’m going to do my music.
I have a band I’ve put together and we’re doing the LA circuit, good friends of mine. We have a show on May 8th and that’s the next one at the Standard Hotel. They have this awesome thing every Wednesday called Desert Nights where indie bands come and play. It’s a really cool spot.
Finding a name for her upcoming album
I don’t have a name for it. You know, it’s always funny. I hate naming songs. It’s always a really daunting task to me because you would expect it to be the word you say the most in the song but that always feels so, yech, stale to me. Naming it just kills me.
I want it to feel like a Fiona Apple album, or a Lumineers album, something organic that feels really good. No 808’s or anything haha.
For the record, Lisa Tucker sang her heart out on Sunset. The crowd swooned and hearts were broken. If you missed it, then shame on you.