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INTRODUCING LISA VITALE

Music

Sep 9, 2015

Reggae-rocker turned soulful-pop singer Lisa Vitale used to be called Gwen Stefani, because, let’s face it—she has the look. However, Vitale has ventured away from reggae and has used her powerhouse sound to turn the soul and pop scenes upside-down. The Michigan-native comes equipped with anthemic vocals, a bombshell look and a debut EP that honestly gives Kelly Clarkson a run for her money. Vitale has gained recognition for her YouTube channel where she posted covers from Radiohead, Daft Punk, The Black Keys and more. The Daft Punk cover video even features Jesse Bradford performing along with Vitale. (Yes, we do mean that Jesse Bradford—aka Cliff from Bring It On and Ben Cronin from Swimfan)

Vitale’s first single “Don’t You Ever Give Up” debuted last month, but you’ll have to wait a bit for her EP later this fall. In the meantime, she filled us in on building a brand on YouTube, the correlation between love and hate and her dating advice.

Have a listen to her first single below and purchase it on iTunes.

What did you learn from playing in a reggae rock band?
From being in a band, I learned that loading gear into a truck at 3AM on a cold & snowy February night builds character. I learned diplomacy. I learned that you don’t always have to be louder than everyone else in the band and it’s better to complement each other. I learned that my bandmates will be an important part of my life for the rest of my life. From being in a reggae rock band, I learned that if you are a white, blond Italian girl singing reggae, everyone is going to call you Gwen Stefani.

How did you get such a big following on YouTube?
That’s still a bit of a mystery to me. At 15 years old I spent most of my free time posting on an Internet forum. I wore blue corduroy pants every day and dyed my hair bright red. I was a strange kid and at the time I never dreamed of performing live, so I was really drawn to the idea of recording a video all alone in my house & posting it online as an outlet. Bathrooms have great reverb, so I sat down on my toilet and started practicing and recording myself. I think people were drawn to the quirkiness of the ‘toilet concert’ concept. I also gained a lot of followers after I acted in a YouTube comedy series called “Songs In Real Life.”

Why is your upcoming EP titled Love/Hate?
Love and hate are the two main themes in the album so the name came pretty naturally. The songs sort of flow into each other to create a cohesive story. “Sweet Love” is the beginning of a relationship. It’s about the happy/warm/fuzzy feelings you get when you first start falling in love. “Don’t You Ever Give Up” is about those first disagreements and the realization that your significant other is not perfect (and neither are you), but that the relationship is worth fighting for. “Shadow” is about deciding what kind of sacrifices you’re willing to make, and whether you can make those sacrifices while staying true to your identity outside of a relationship. “Darkest Part of Me” is when you realize that you’re not with the right person but you’re heartsick about it at the same time. Finally, “Black Hole” is the big ‘fuck you’ that comes at the end of a tumultuous relationship.

How many relationships helped fuel this album?
Probably 5 or 6. Every single serious relationship I’ve been in inspired these songs in some way. “Darkest Part of Me” is, in part, about a specific event in my life. My ex drove us both to a bar to meet with friends, and at one point he left to go to the bathroom. He was so drunk that he left the bar, got in his car, and started driving himself home. Luckily I managed to get him on the phone and convinced him to turn around before he’d gone too far. That event was the culmination of a lot of problems in our relationship and it was a defining moment in my love life.

Do people tell you you sound like Kelly Clarkson?
Yes. It’s a huge compliment, because she is a fucking powerhouse.

Are you signed?
No, but I’m available!

What’s the best dating advice you’ve gotten?
‘Join a band.’ My guitarist from The Orange Marsupials would always make fun of me because I went from semi-obscurity in early high school to dating lots of boys once I joined Orange Marsupials.

How do you stand out in a sea of women in the music industry?
I don’t think of female singer/songwriters as a “sea of women.” Honestly, the music industry is really lacking when it comes to female producers, engineers and songwriters and I always jump at the chance to collaborate with other women. But I digress, I think I stand out among other performers (male and female) because I went from internet nerd to YouTuber to lead singer of a band to solo artist. I have a really unique background and I try to combine all of my experiences as a songwriter and performer into something completely new. I love a huge range of artists with the same level of intensity, from the corniest of pop (Hall and Oates) to the Godfathers of Metal (Black Sabbath) to current female performers like Sia and Robyn, and I mix up all of my influences to create a sort of soul/rock/pop music stew.

Have you gotten your big break yet?
I just checked my bank account, and I’m going to have to say no. However, being featured on Apple music the other day was pretty cool! I’m also working on a song for an upcoming movie.

Why was “Don’t You Ever Give Up” your first single?
I chose it as the first single because it has a universal message. It’s a common theme in my past: holding onto a relationship, refusing to give it up and doing everything in my power to make it work. The song also came together really quickly (and those are usually the best songs).