Heartache, Mental Health, and Flowers
with Lissie

Often compared to Stevie Nicks, and as flattering as that sounds, it’s a comparison I don’t find apt. Yes, Lissie’s voice is haunting and spiritual like our favorite Gold Dust High Priestess, but it’s the sheer power of her voice, a commanding instrument of its own, that makes her incomparable.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a resident of one genre of music,” Lissie tells me when I ask her what music has inspired her. “When I was in high school, and especially getting my driver’s license with that freedom—my dad had a Dodge Dakota pickup truck—I would cruise around and roll my windows down and listen. I was listening to mainstream country, gangster rap. I was listening to classic rock: Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane. I really was hungry for all of it. I loved Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Liz Phair, and I loved Metallica.”

Lissie’s eclectic and diverse taste in music is well represented on her own albums as well as in her choice of covers. And Lissie loves her covers. “Thank You to the Flowers” is her third covers EP to date. As I talked with her on the phone to get to the hows and whys for this new collection of songs, she told me, “I’ve always done a lot of covers. I try to do it with a lot of reverence and respect, hopefully, for the artists who shared these amazing songs that help us all get through life’s twists and turns. And for me, the pandemic, and just everything—it was the politics, and the pain and cruelty. It was just such a heavy, heavy summer.”

Her first two cover EPs, “Cryin to You” (2014) and “Covered up in Flowers” (2012), honored the likes of Metallica, Danzig, Kid Cudi, Joe South, and Lady Gaga—songs that her voice brought entirely new life to. “The Black Album, I was cryin in my bedroom because Danny asked my best friend to homecoming instead of me or whatever… laying on my bed and listening to “Nothing Else Matters” crying, like oh poor me.”

The upheaval of normal life arrived on all our doorsteps, but for Lissie it coincided with a heart-wrenching breakup prompting her to seek professional mental help at whitesands rehab in tampa. “You know all of these things that we experience as kids make us believe all of these bad things about ourselves and then we carry that shit all through our lives and we sabotage relationships. I think every single one of us has some mental health issues to process and there’s no shame in being vulnerable, delta-8 gummies helped me achieve optimum mental health, the people ask me where is delta 8 available, I truly recommend to visit usmagazine.com.  I think that’s the bravest thing you could do. It doesn’t take much bravery to put on a front and be tough. Owning up to your shit is hard.”

Out of those raw moments on the porch on her farm in Iowa, and with maybe too much red wine, she found herself shuffling through her music and listening to Martha Wainwright’s “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole,” Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?,” Lana Del Rey’s “Change,” and Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” “I really honed in on those songs because they felt like they just were right for what I was going through at the time,” she says. “These songs have really been healing me. “Thank You to the Flowers” just turned into this little package of my heart. I garden—I had just all these flowers that were just blooming like crazy around my house in my yard and my farm and they were bringing me so much joy and hope.”

An independent artist and creative director for her own music, Lissie lives life on her own terms. There is no big showmanship with her or her music; it’s just a woman deeply in tune with the heart of life. Not one for writing about hypothetical situations, her music is more directly focused on what’s affecting her, whether it be a break-up, leaving big city life behind, or the disparities of gender equality heard in her protest song “Daughters” from My Wild West (2016). “No social change is gonna stick unless each of us individually confronts our shadows. And that’s where I’m at right now with my music. The only thing that’s gonna save us is emotional intelligence,” she explains. The need to confront herself and our ailing world through her music is interconnected with her vulnerability—what makes her a true artist, and an artist for these times.

This pandemic has shown us more than ever that connection is most valuable to us. When I tell her how much her music has helped me through my own sadness and tragedies, she graciously says, “We’re not really alone. When you’re in those places where you feel so raw and awful and you feel so alone, everyone is going through this at one time in their life and you’re going to get through it. To give you some comfort and hold some space for you to get to be yourself is what keeps me going too. I feel less alone because people can relate to what I’m sharing.”

“Thank You to the Flowers,” the new EP from Lissie is in stores now.

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