Special Sheffield solo show for farm girl Lissie
Two years ago, singer-songwriter Elizabeth Maurus felt the need to break free from an increasingly stultifying Californian existence.
She made the decision to leave that world, and buy a massive farm in north-eastern Iowa where she has been learning how to keep bees, grows vegetables,
and is hoping to build a self-sustaining conservation space and retreat.
But before taking this leap of faith and while still in California, the musician – better known as Lissie – found herself back in a songwriting spurt.
She made a record she thought nobody would hear and then released it independently.
That record, 2016’s My Wild West became her most successful yet, charting at Number 16 in the UK.
It is from there she made Castles, ner hew record which focuses on identifying what you want to build a life with, not what you don’t want.
The seed of Castles was planted when New York artist Nick Tesoriero visited Lissie in Iowa, bringing with him a digital setup.
“When I wrote on a guitar I felt limited,” she says. “It was so much more spontaneous and natural to sit down with someone who would give me a beat and a chord progression on a synthesizer.
“I started having all these new ideas. I wasn’t stuck behind my guitar or waiting for people to show up.
It’s almost the record that people always wanted me to make,, but I couldn’t really make it until I got to be in charge.
“Before I was trying to please too many people. It stopped being fun. But eventually you get to the stage where you accept yourself for who you are.
“I’m not trying to keep up with anyone else. If I can make a living doing something I’m passionate about, that’s a good life.”
Lissie has become accustomed to the experience of making music remotely in a piecemeal fashion, across continents, over email with no pre-conceptions.
“It surprised me,” she says. “I was always such a purist, loved rock’n’roll and felt like I’d never do anything like that, but if it felt good, so why not?”
Lissie plays The Leadmill, Sheffield, tonight, Thursday, March 29. Tickets are available, priced £20, from leadmill.co.uk