By Kyle Kapper
“Possesses a commanding narrative voice, especially for a debut – Exudes Joni/Beirut/Idina Menzel – Exquisite arrangements, like sweeping through a magical land – Are the darker songs autobiographical?” Thus were the notes I scribbled down while listening to Lizzie Weber the album, leaving me utterly curious to learn the story of Lizzie Weber the person, whom I had never met.
Seated across from me at the back table of a narrow, deserted wine bar in her hometown of St. Louis, Ms. Weber graciously shared her remarkable tale with an inviting energy just shy of being eager.
She warmed her hands around a steaming cup of tea as she recalled how her passions for performing, writing, and acting were all born at Once, in a Chicago Theatre performance which clearly affects her still, five years later. Stirring her tea, she spoke wistfully of how she followed her heart, quit college, and, at the age of twenty, moved to LA to be an independent film actress.
“I was told that I wasn’t unique-looking enough,” she said. “I was told to dye my hair, to cut it, to lose weight. I was told to change everything about myself. After a while, it left me feeling just empty. That was when I really started writing intensely.”
After enduring two years of such objectification, Ms. Weber returned home to St. Louis, went back to school, and began crafting that intense writing into music, much of which appears on her eponymous debut. “Had I not had this musical outlet, I would have a very big chip on my shoulder,” she said. “It just made me realize that I would rather do something that I had more control over. I could control when I wanted to be creative. I could control when I wanted to perform out, play a show.”
Luckily for us, she’ll be doing just that with full-band shows on both sides of the album’s January 10 release. Check her out, and by the time the full interview excerpted above is published in Eleven, Ms. Weber may well be your favorite new artist of 2014, too.