Each week we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week it's singer-songwriter Lisa Crawley, who is performing in Once: The Musical at ASB Waterfront Theatre from today.
Somewhere Out There - An American Tail
I remember watching American Tail when I was a kid and I loved it. Then I got this job playing piano and singing in Japan; seven nights a week we'd do these themed shows while people ate dinner. I was 19, and that was one of the songs that we had to do, and I managed to muck up one note in the song once, and I became quite obsessed; where I was living had no internet and no English speakers or anything, it was quite a Lynchian hotel overlooking this cliff, and my anxiety just went through the roof, and that note and that song just haunted me for a month. I couldn't focus during the day because I was like, "I'm going to make the same mistake again." I was in this town called Atami, in the New Akao Hotel, and if you google it, it comes up with "creepy hotel". I went back and faced my demons a couple of years ago.
Ironic - Alanis Morissette
That whole Jagged Little Pill album was quite iconic for me growing up. I entered my first songwriting competition and I changed the words around from this song – half playing it on a recorder and half singing it – about being mean to animals. It was a Greenpeace competition that I and my friend Bridget did. We entered Ironic and another song, and came first equal with ourselves. I don't think anyone else entered the competition.
Maybe Tomorrow - Goldenhorse
Maybe Tomorrow, for me, summarises this high school band that I was in called Velez, and Goldenhorse was an influence, and Pluto as well, in terms of New Zealand bands we listened to a lot. Our band went on to do a couple of gigs with them, which was really cool. I did a gig with Kirsten Morrell as well, and she was the person to want to be like. Beautiful voice, always looked great, and the guy I was interested in had a crush on her, and I was a bit jealous, but not really because I also had a bit of a crush on her.
Postcards From Italy - Beirut
I first heard this in Auckland on a date. I'd met this guy on Myspace and he was going to England at the same time as me, and you know on Myspace how you'd add friends and you could choose a song? I was like, "This guy's got cool music taste." He was British and just seemed really cute. I met him and then he played me this song on headphones, and I just really fell in love with Beirut's music. We went to England together, and then he began to get quite sick and we didn't really know why, and they ended up finding a tumour, so it was pretty heavy. We got to see some really great shows together – like Feist and Cat Power and Regina Spektor and heaps of my favourites. I don't know if I can say this without sounding too soppy, but I chose this song for the funeral, and the lyrics were really fitting with what he was going through. If anything good came from that, when I was in New York I met the Beirut manager and his girlfriend, and they put me in touch with a guy who played horns in Beirut, and he joined me for about three gigs I did in New York. I think he'd be pretty stoked for that to have happened.
You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore
I guess this represents the love I have for 60s music and that Motown vibe. I love the sentiment behind this song as well; she was quite a strong feminist. I guess I have been influenced by her and also that genre – I just love the power behind it. I have had a lot of unsolicited advice from people, and a lot of men, anything from, "not sure about your outfit", to "this is what you need to do". For longevity in music as well, it's a bit of an anthem.
Turn The Light - Karen O & Danger Mouse
I was working with this songwriter/producer in America recently, and we just listened to this album heaps and drew some influence from that. His name's Rob Kleiner, and he works a lot with Sia and a lot of pop artists but has also had this quite alternative background. We met in Hawaii at a music conference, and then I went to LA and we wrote about six songs together, some of which will definitely be part of my next album. He was the one that showed me this album and it was cool for me to realise there are lots of different ways to write songs; it doesn't have to be me sitting at the piano.
Fidelity – Regina Spektor
I've seen Regina Spektor play a few times now and am super impressed by how she applies her classical training to her "anti-folk" songs. Lots of people discovered her around the time this song was on a Yahoo ad, which some may think of as "selling out", but it showed me that perhaps landing a song on an ad or TV show (one that you obviously are happy to be associated with) can be a good way to gain new fans - particularly if you're in the difficult genre of not being poppy enough for mainstream radio but perhaps too poppy for student/alternative radio. I can relate to the lyrics in Fidelity and the hooks are super super catchy. It's accessible but has heaps of depth - qualities I aspire to.