Singer, songwriter, guitar player and recording studio engineer—she does it all. Rebecca Loebe is performing at Paradise Bar & Grill on Pensacola Beach, and we are in for a real treat.
Loebe started out on a path to music production and engineering, but then her teacher convinced her she should be on the other side—the performing side. Since then, Loebe has released three albums that are taking off in the indie folk music scene.
Her music has been featured on “Folk Alley’s Best New Folk Mix” on npr.com/music, and last year she won the Kerrville Grassy Hill New Folk Songwriting Competition. The IN chatted with Loebe about her musical career and its humble beginnings.
IN: During your college years, you went from music production and engineering to singing and songwriting. Tell us about that transition.
LOEBE: When I was finishing school, my recording teacher encouraged me not to give up on music. He was steering me away from my chosen path; I was not sure if it was because I was a good musician or a really bad engineer. At the time, he was having me perform in his classes so that the new engineering students could learn their craft. Working with a musician and moving to Los Angeles was the plan. He said I should do something more creative. It stopped me; it shook me up. I took a job as a small studio engineer to gain experience on the other side of the microphone. It is important to learn both sides of the recording world.
IN: How has your music progressed from your first album to your third?
LOEBE: It has taken a different avenue. When I was younger, I was just trying to finish—not recording songs that necessarily represented me. Traveling and playing music was the goal after that, then that became a lesson in how to tour wisely. I took a break in New York. I rented a room and made my second album, “The Brooklyn Series,” which was my “dark chocolate and red wine album.” It was an all-acoustic EP. I then began working on my third album after that, polishing songs—wrote without the pressure to finish. “Mystery Prize” came out in January, and it still applies to what is happening now. It takes a look at love through my glasses. I produced myself on my first album; it made it hard to observe my performance with objectivity. I found it was good to have someone else to collaborate with and give opinions.
IN: On your website, you list your music style as “post-brontosaurus indie folk crunk.” Where did that come from?
LOEBE: Everyone wants to know what kind of music I play, and it was my way of sort of skirting the question. It came from different places, and the funny thing is, it really represents a part of me. The “post-brontosaurus” part came from when I found out on the news that the brontosaurus never existed—very disappointing.
IN: In May of this year you traveled to SXSW (South by Southwest) Music and Film Interactive in Austin, Texas. Tell us about that experience.
LOEBE: It was my second SXSW; I was touring when I first went in 2006. It is a great experience. As a matter of fact, I am in Austin now. SXSW is really about the business side of the music world. Although at night, when all the shows are over, it is a sweet party. You get to hang out with friends, play songs, make plans and spend time.
IN: It seems that all the undiscovered musicians and filmmakers can have a showcase there?
LOEBE: That is not really how it works. It takes a while to be known, and then you are given a showcase. Some advice given to me long ago: give your music 10 years; if nothing happens, then you can say you have given it your all. No regrets. So far, I am on my fourth year.
IN: You have a subscription website? How does that work, and what kind of response have you had?
LOEBE: It is a new venture, one that came out of me trying to use my time wisely. For your subscription (ranges from $5 and up), you get a one-hour live show recording, edited by myself. It helps me stay on the road. The response has been great. It really helps me stay connected to those who support my music but cannot get to shows all over the country. There are often new songs not available on an album yet, so there is an element of exclusivity. It really keeps the shows fresh.
IN: You held a song remix contest?
LOEBE: As my friends and I were talking, some of them came up with different versions of my songs, just being silly. Well, it occurred to me to have a remix contest. So, the song “Land & Sea” was chosen. There were entries from all over the world. Turns out, the remixing of songs has a huge following. It was really hard to pick a winner, so I picked two: one was fast, the other slower. They are going on my “Bs and Zombies” album, coming out next year. It is a mix of live recordings, covering other people’s songs, like a song by Kanye West. It will be a fun record.
IN: What can our readers look forward to during one of your shows?
LOEBE: Acoustic guitar, a long list of songs, storytelling and humor. I will invite people into my world for a while.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7
WHERE: Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via DeLuna Drive
DETAILS: paradisebar-grill.com, or rebeccaloebe.com