Lisa McClowry -The Personal Side - Question & Answer
Birthplace Chicago Hometown Chicago's South West Side/ I grew up in a tiny house across the street from Midway Airport, Chicago, IL. In was a two bedroom house with one bathroom and no shower- just a tub. Irish Catholic family of seven - 2 younger brothers, 2 younger sisters and Mom and Dad. We were always striving for privacy, a little quiet time away from the chaos and a moment to go to the bathroom in peace without someone knocking on the door. Ha!! Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. It built character and we all turned out just fine. We are an extremely close family because of it. Growing up in this scenario, and surviving it with sanity, you quickly learned that you had to be aware of others needs and that it was literally impossible to be selfishness even when that small part of you wanted that whole bag of Doritos all for yourself.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
An empty refrigerator box -My brother, sister and I made a house out of the box and we added fabric curtains and cut windows that opened and closed. We used crayons and tempera paints to color the in and outside. Also, my Mom always had a box of costumes, wigs and hats for us which were basically hand- me-downs from aunts, uncles and friends. We would play house in the refrigerator box and put on shows, curtain, stage and all. Of course, I always had to be the singer in those shows. I used to sing into my Dad's microphone shaped soap-on- a-rope using his tennis racket as my guitar.
What were you like in Grammar School? I remember getting reprimanded constantly by one of my favorite teachers, "Mrs. Keane". I was a hyper, fidgety kid, with a lot of fire. It took a great amount of effort & concentration for me to sit still in class. It seemed like a daily occurrence when she'd say, "Miss McClowry put your little toesies UNDER the desk and stop fidgeting." I was a good kid, just had to be moving all the time. In efforts to keep my body still at my desk, I would doodle, daydream, and twiddle my fingers. The agony! Oh, and I was always that kid in class who would raise her hand and ask "Why" to everything-very curious kid. Some things never change.
Describe yourself as a Child - Well, my on-going question as a kid was, "What are we gonna do today Dad?" I always had to be doing something active: I was a total tom boy, usually sporting a dark tan and scraped knees. I loved climbing trees, the higher the better...if my parents only knew. I was competitive athlete, playing on organized softball teams, floor hockey teams and track (hurdler and sprinter). Roller skating and bike riding were among my favorites-enjoyed races. I was not afraid to get dirty. I like making mud houses for my Fisher Price characters.
I loved organizing and putting on variety shows for Mom and Dad with my brothers, sisters and me as the cast members. If you were my friend back then, you could not escape me and my tape recorder. I had to interview each of my friends individually and then close the segment singing a song or two together. I should of had my own radio show, Ha.
Being the oldest kid in the family, I naturally assumed the roll of organizing yard games and creative activities for my 2 brothers and 2 sisters along with the neighborhood kids and anyone else who wanted to participate. Close in age, my slightly younger brother Jimmy was also a natural leader with strong ideas of his own. This would often cause some friction between the two of us. After much bickering, eventually we learned to respect each others ideas and learned that by putting our heads together we'd usually get a better result. A little life lesson.
What was your favorite childhood song? This Little Candle Light Of MIne (I'm Gonna Let it Shine) So profound, yet so simple. As adults we say, " Stand and Be Counted", or "Open the doorway to your soul".
What music are you listening to these days.
I listen to whatever comes my way no matter what style of music it is. I don't judge music based on style, instead I simply try to understand where the artist is coming from and hear the message. If I like the message, I keep listening. If I don't like the message or if it
doesn't speak to "where I am" at the moment, I move on.
Reading any books currently? - I don't have a chance to read much right now, I am always on the go. I would like to share what I have read in the past that has either changed me, or made an impact in my life. Some of may favorites are: "The Power Within You" by Louise Hay, "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron, "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John Maxwell, "The Touching Spirit" by Elizabeth Stratto, "Success Principals" by Jack Canfield and "Quantum Touch-The Power to Heal" by Richard Gordon" I would highly recommend all of these books. I go back and re-read them over and over.
Any favorite TV shows?
I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, my new favorite is "Greys Anatomy”, and “Desperate Housewives” . Many of the stories lines on "Grey's" get right to the heart. All the characters are so difference from one another, but share in the fact that they are all vulnerable just like you and me. So happy to see a show like Desperate Housewives that celebrates the mature woman and sees the value, beauty, and sexiness of someone who has lived a bit of life. It is cool to see a glimpse of the media and society beginning to understand we are all getting better with age. As my Grandmother always said, "To change is to grow. To grow is to change much".
What do you drive?
A 2003 Hummer, baby, and not the H2! It's fully loaded with, of course, a state-of-the-art sound system ..............(In my DREAMS!). Really, I drive whatever gets me from point A to point B in one piece, preferably something with the frame still intact, and something clean that doesn't smell like an old sandwich.
The music business is, no doubt, one of the toughest businesses to be involved in. Do think you can survive the challenge? In 2000, I was involved in two separate car accidents which totaled two brand new vehicles. I walked away with a bruised ego and high insurance.... yeah, I think I'm a survivor, music or otherwise. Bring it on!
Why did you choose singing as your profession? The way I see it, singing chose me. I just had to learn WHY I was given the ability. It took a little time, but through life experiences, I have discovered I am simply an open channel through which a song passes. Thankfully, people relate to WHAT I am singing and HOW I sing it. Perhaps it is the songs I choose. I look for songs that reveal my subtext or what I believe in. I am attracted to songs that are honest to me or serve a greater purpose. A powerful song can serve as the ultimate connection between strangers, helping us to recognize we are all the same, united in some way. A little slice of honesty.....if only for a moment.
Is music your full-time profession? Yes, I have been a full time singer/musician for 15 years. By day, I am a studio session singer, recording anything from commercials to album projects of all kinds and styles. By night, I perform live an average of 5 nights a week performing my own material (rock/county), doing orchestra dates, working with a rock band, and a jazz trio.
What is the key to being a full-time singer/musician? First of all, Chicago is a great town for music, and there is a lot of work to be had. I think the reason I work so much is that I am versatile. I have experience with many styles of music and can jump into any musical situation and be comfortable. I have a lot of stage and studio experience so I am at ease in both settings.
Would you consider yourself a freelance singer? I do have people and partners I perform with on a regular basis. We have a good thing and it works! If you are asking if I am open to working the new people, I am always open to that, because I learn something new every time I do. I enjoy new challenges it makes me a better singer.
Do you consider yourself an Artist? If so Why? I think we are all artists, we are all creative beings in one way or another, but if we are using the term "Artist" in the world of music, the business, and all it's glory, I most definitely think of myself as an artist. My definition of a (musical) artist is someone with a clear vision and specific path with a great need to express that passion and vision. My canvas is a song. My paintbrush is my voice.
So what is your musical vision or mission statement? My mission statement is to put something positive back into the world everyday, helping those around me to become or remain inspired and empowered. I have a great desire to help others to conquer their fears, take risks, and help them realize and uncover their true purpose. My underlying musical vision is the same. My song choices reflect that vision. I am by no means a "Mary Poppins" type, unrealistically seeing the world as a "spoon full of sugar". I simply choose to FOCUS on the good things and strive to make the world a better place one conversation at a time. One song at a time.
What is your greatest talent? My ability to love combined with higher awareness.
Do you have a favorite song lyric or poem? I am a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn. She has always been the epitome of beauty to me. Her class, grace and kindness always shined through making her outer beauty only secondary. I think she got it right, realizing you can't take it with you. Work on the inside, the other stuff is gravy. Here is something she wrote:
-For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
-For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
-For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
-For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
-For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.
-People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anybody.
-Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
-The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
-The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.
-And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!
You mention your "subtext", any words you live by?
Feel the fear and do it anyway! Some choose to see this as a bit reckless. I see it as an opportunity for growth, a path to finding the authentic self and letting go of the ego (false self). I'd rather experience life's roller coaster - ups and downs, rather than feel nothing at all. Being numb day after day means being dead. Life is simply too short to let moments go by unnoticed.
The Other Side -
Solo Album Releases
Diary of a Chameleon - (Genre: Rock / Jazz / Country / Euro) Independently released on Lisant Entertainment label. Released Feb.16th, 06
Spyglass Hill - (Genre: AC / Pop) Independently released on Lisant Entertainment label. Sold over 5, 000 copies- All songs written by Lisa McClowry, and Lavant Coppock.
Tell Me It's Right - (Genre: AC / Pop) Independently released on Lisant Entertainment label. Sold over 5,000 copies-All songs written by Lisa McClowry, and Lavant Coppock.
No Limits - (Genre: Rock / Pop) EP LIMITED EDITION 2005. Songs written by Lisa McClowry, Jim Peterik, Lavant Coppock, Mark Wengelewski and Jeff Boyle.
The Rugrats in Paris: The Movie - Lisa provides singing voice for " The Princess" / Paramount Pictures
The Wild Thornberry's Movie - Lisa sings "Bridge to the Stars" / Paramount Pictures
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle - Lisa co-wrote and sings "Through the Eyes of a Child" in movie. / Universal Pictures
Stage Performances (Theater)
My Fair Lady ..............Eliza Doolittle
The Sound of Music.......... Maria
Guys and Dolls............. Sarah Brown
George M.............. Josie Cohen
Once Upon a Mattress.......... Lady Larken
Picnic................. Madge Owens
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.. .. Nikki Crandal
Auntie Mame.............Sally Cato
Romeo & Juliet .............Juliet Capulet
(Dr. Stagemaster's Fantasy Factory, part of Players Workshop of Second City)
Sherwood Conservatory - Vocal Study
Columbia College - Degree in Music (Theory and Management) / Minor in Dance & Theater
Chicago Studio Of Professional Singing - Private vocal study and maintenance/ coach Janice Pantazelos
Recent Awards for Music
ACADEMY AWARD for Distinguished Achievements for the motion picture "The Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" (Cast).
Best New Songwriter Award 2002 - Lisa won the title at this nationwide "Best New Talent" competition with songs from her freshman album Spyglass Hill