When Lisa Loeb released her song “Stay (I Missed You)” for the 1994 film “Reality Bites,” the then-26-year-old would become the first pop musician to ever have a No. 1 single without being signed to a recording contract.
But these days, the bespectacled singer, now 49, has gone from serenading to the slacker generation to creating music for children. The mother of two has provided her vocal talents for two Amazon Originals animated series, “Creative Galaxy” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." She also released a new album, titled “Lullaby Girl,” which is aimed for kids and parents alike.
Fox News spoke with Loeb about finding fame in the ‘90s, why she’s now singing for children and the strangest encounter she’s ever had with a fan.
Fox News: A lot of fans still remember you from the '90s, thanks to “Reality Bites.” How did you end up creating music for children?
Lisa Loeb: You know, making my song “Stay” in the ‘90s and all the albums I made, it was funny. It seemed like, almost like an overnight success, but it was something I'd been working on since I was a little kid.
I wrote music and made albums my whole life. And when I had that big hit with “Stay” in 1994, it kind of started this great, independent career. It gave me so much creative freedom and I think that led me to doing what I'm doing now. Like making music for this children's TV series, making music for grown-ups, making music for kids… I think it came from just having that great opportunity and success with that one song.
Fox News: How different has it been to write music for children as opposed to the slacker generation?
Loeb: I know people call it the slacker generation, but I have to say that Ethan Hawke, who helped me out, and all the other people I was hanging out with at the time in New York City, they were not really what you would call slackers.
But I will say that making music now, it's funny, I've been making a lot of family-friendly music… I’m able to sort of blur the lines between grown-up music and kid's music… And “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Felicia Bond and Laura Numeroff — they’ve made this really cute series. And so to be a part of that is very different from writing my own music.
It's more like writing a musical, like I really get to work with the writer of the show, Ken Scarborough, who is a great writer. I mean, he came from “Saturday Night Live.” He also does a lot of kid's stuff. He's a writer at “Sesame Street” and “Arthur” and he's got a lot of sense of humor. And we get to work with him to create songs that push the stories along, just like you do with musical theater. I's fun to get to write music in all these different ways.
Fox News: Have you stayed in touch with Ethan Hawke or anyone from the “Reality Bites” cast?
Loeb: Mostly Ethan. I see him when he's in Los Angeles. But I do talk about them a lot and I hear about them a lot because it was so much a part of my commercial start as a musician.
Fox News: In a previous interview, you said that looking back, you felt kind of offended when people would put more focus on your glasses than your actual songwriting.
Loeb: Yes, that's definitely true. I think when I started early on, when people talked about my glasses, as opposed to asking me about my songwriting or my production, you know, like how we worked in the studio, I felt like that was a little bit superficial.
But years and years later, I realized… that’s just a common interest I think a lot of people have. I was able to create an eyewear line from that interest and people [were] telling me they were empowered to wear their glasses because I wore my glasses. Also, honestly, some of my favorite musicians… like Elton John, David Bowie, Dolly Parton — I like the way they look. I like their styles.
Fox News: How do you feel about “Stay” today?
Loeb: I love playing the song “Stay.” I feel like people really connect with it and it's a good example of the types of songs I write. That's sort of the gateway into people hearing other songs that I'm playing, whether they're getting interested in my albums again, or if they come see me live. I still tour a lot. It's a great song as the entryway song that people can connect with.
Fox News: What’s the strangest or funniest encounter you've ever had with a fan?
Loeb: It happens all the time. I feel like I get stopped a lot about my song “Stay” and people always want to say, "Oh wait, you're that girl with the glasses. What's your name? You're somebody, I know you. Sing your song for me." I get that a lot at airports. "Come on, sing your song for me." So I'm sort of whispering my song in airports in people's ears. I'm singing, "You say." I'm like, "Oh, come on. You sing me the song.”
Fox News: As a parent, how do you feel about the types of songs and programming that are being geared towards children today?
Loeb: Well, there’s so many different kinds of shows for kids. Some of them, I think parents like to put to let their kids watch, but it's actually too old for their kids.
There might be a snarky attitude or something that's just too in your face and loud and fast. That's why I like them to be involved in things like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”… You know, it makes them think for themselves. It gives them information from the outside, but it really inspires them to have their own thoughts and use their own imagination.
“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.