Philadelphia-area artist Lisa Bouchelle dropped an album recently, and the first single, “Jump In!,” also the name of the album, debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard charts before climbing to No. 21.
The album features guests G. Love, Tommy Kessler of Blondie, Mike Schmid of The Chainsmokers, Rob Hyman of The Hooters, and members of Whitesnake, TSO, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. In addition, Bouchelle has sung backup for Bruce Springsteen and dueted in concert with Jon Bon Jovi.
She also hosts “Rock Star Kitchen,” top-rated regional hit TV show on The Comcast Network in the mid-Atlantic region.
PW recently caught up with Bouchelle to talk about her career and new music.
Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you become interested in music? Who were some of your early influences?
I can’t remember ever not thinking about music all of the time! Even when I was a small child, I would obsessively memorize songs from the radio and from the albums my mom would play. I’d write songs during my bubble bath when I was a little girl. I would sing and hum all of the time; my teachers sent home notes from school saying that it was distracting other students. I’d sing at the dinner table and didn’t even realize I was doing it until my dad moved me to another room to eat. Once I added in playing guitar, my writing and performing reached another level and I never looked back or wanted to do anything else as a career or calling.
When I was 4 years old, my parents entered me into a talent show at a campground during a family trip. I was the youngest one in the show, so they put me on a picnic table so the audience could see me… that was my first real stage! When I sang “America the Beautiful” on that picnic table, everyone clapped and cheered. I won the contest, and my folks seemed so happy! They had a very stormy relationship, and I saw that my singing kept the peace in the family, so I kept singing as much as I could! I always say I didn’t choose music; it chose me. I still feel blessed to have a career that brings people together.
As far as influences, my mom would constantly play her albums of Waylon Jennings, Stevie Nicks, and Joan Baez, among others. But I’ve been influenced by a lot of artists, from folk to hard rock, from rap to country, and I think it’s all influenced me to some degree, and I think that comes through on the new album.
While you’re from New Jersey, you’re no stranger to the Philly music scene. How has the city, its music, its performers, its culture, etc., impacted you?
My grandmother was from Mayfair, in NE Philly. She was so proud of Philadelphia: the sports teams (Go Birds!), the Rocky movies, the cheesesteaks; and she was very patriotic. So I grew up with that influence. We even have a recipe in the recipe book she left me called “Montague Street Pound Cake” that her aunt on Montague Street used to make long before I was born.
When I was a teenager, I used to hang with my friends on South Street. I loved the counter-culture atmosphere, and the art, and the fashion and the rebellion in the air! I even wrote a song inspired by those days called “South Street” that describes my escapes and experiences hanging there with my friends. And when I first started performing, I did many coffee house type places throughout Philadelphia, especially in the Northeast.
I also grew up listening to Philly stations like WMMR and WXPN. Helen Leicht from WXPN has played my music on her radio show and been a great supporter, and also invited me to be part of her live, on-air Christmas Show a couple of years back. I’ve met some other amazing Philly artists, such as Amos Lee, G. Love, and Rob Hyman of The Hooters. I was thrilled to have G. Love, who is of course from Philly, contribute an amazing harmonica solo on the title track to the record “Jump In!” He has such a distinctive style that I knew would be perfect for the song! And Rob is on one of the songs as well!
Helen was also an inspiration for me to get involved with the Philadelphia chapter of Musicians On Call, going once a month to an area children’s hospital, and singing for the children that are suffering from very serious diseases. And I tell you, it’s been a life-changing experience. I get as much out of it as the children do. Sometimes I even get moved to tears, such as one time when a bedridden little girl with cancer, who they told me hadn’t smiled, or even spoken, in a very long time, started singing with me and pumping her fist in the air, on a song I did specially for her, Katy Perry’s “ROAR”… “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter… You’re gonna hear me roar!”
“Jump In!,” the first single from the album of the same name, recently dropped and has enjoyed a lot of success. How did that song and the album come together?
The song “Jump In!” is an acoustic-based, groovin’ anthem about how sometimes we have to just “jump in” and go for it when it comes to taking a chance on making our dreams a reality. It’s set to energetic music, so it was a lot of fun to record, and also to film the music video for it, where the band and I literally did a lot of jumping and jamming! I love performing that song live with the band. At a recent show we did in Atlanta, the audience was clapping and singing along… that song and the entire album has a positive energy flowing through it.
We made the record during the pandemic. I think everyone involved in the making of the record put all of their creative energies into the process since we were all on hold as far as performing live went. So it was a labor of love. I think it made this album turn out extra special
What inspires your music? How do you know that a song is right for you to record/perform?
The bittersweet nature of life really gets me. It inspires me to write. The trials and the successes that we all experience; the things in life that ALL humans deal with; the commonality that brings us together… the music that makes us move, groove, dance, sway, cry, laugh and forget the bad stuff for a while and brings us together. Then there is the song that transports us like a time machine back to a moment we thought we’d left behind. Music is powerful. I feel that at times it has saved my life. I’ve gotten letters from fans that tell me how much a particular song I’ve written means to them and affected their life, and while it’s great to have made the Billboard charts and to get some great reviews, that’s really what means the most to me. I want to share that power with others through my gift. If a song brings me to emotion, and if it fits my voice well, I know it’s a song I’d like to perform and record. It’s kinda like a perfect pair of jeans that just feels like they were made for you.
And sometimes, if I am doing a reimagined version of a cover song, it might be from a long time ago, or originally written and recorded by a male artist, but if I do the song, I make it my own… the key, the tempo, the vibe, but I also try to honor the fundamental elements in the song that I believe that the composer intended. The elements that make that song unique and special.
You’ve got several shows coming up in the area. How does it feel to be back before live audiences again?
It’s so great to be performing in person to my fans again! The synergy of live performance is unmatchable. Being “in the moment” with the crowd that night makes each time unique. My band and I did some free Facebook Live shows during the pandemic and that was good, but there’s nothing like being out there again!
What are the best ways for your fans to stay current with what you’re doing?
People can always find the latest news, music, videos and show listings on lisabouchelle.com. They can link from there to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My music is available on all the streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, and downloadable from iTunes and Amazon. You can also order the new CD from my website, or get it at one of my live shows. And thanks for checking it out!