We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa McCormick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Throughout my professional music career as a singer/songwriter and now as a tribute artist, there have always been struggles and challenges. While I would never give up on music, it is my passion and life’s love, sometimes you have to end a particular project in order to keep moving forward. When times are at their worst, I ask myself “Am I enjoying what I am doing and have I done everything I could to make this project successful?” I try to step outside myself and look at the situation objectively. Are there changes I could make? Resources that can help me? A year and a half ago I considered giving up my dream project of having a successful band in the highly competitive tribute world. As the lead vocalist of the Stevie Nicks tribute band GYPSY, I was also responsible for the business management of the band and I was working over fifty hours a week at my day job. After 5 years, we had experienced success, but not the level that I had envisioned. I am a big believer that determination and fortitude are very important in achieving success so I decided to keep things going for one more year, make some changes and give it all I had. I reached out to a friend of a friend who was having success booking her cover band to get some advice. She agreed to help me and offered some important creative ideas to help expand our business plan. We started seeing some positive changes within a few months and I knew then that I had made the right decision to continue. Looking at things objectively and finding a supportive friend made all the difference in turning everything around. We were looking forward to more success this year but since the Coronavirus hit we are at a standstill like everyone else. While we will always have challenges to face, I feel hopeful for the future of this project and am grateful that I didn’t give it up. We are waiting patiently to get back to work, and look forward to the day when we can return to the stage and share our love of music with audiences once again.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When someone asks me what I want to do for the rest of my life, my answer has always been the same “I just want to sing. I sing from my heart and it is genuine.” I have spent a good part of my life working in the music industry and have had many opportunities and many more challenges, so the road has not been easy. In order to overcome these challenges, I have had to be fearless and driven and have had some luck along the way. As a young singer trying to start a career, I had no money, one nice outfit and was living out of my car. I decided to audition, along with 250 other singers, for the position of lead singer of the Box Boys, an up and coming Ska band in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to be selected and enjoyed opening and performing with such popular acts as Tom Petty, Blondie, The Go Go’s, Berlin, The Motels, Madness and many others. After a few years, there were some internal struggles within the band and it was time to move on. From there, I put together an all female band called The Sheilas with a good friend of mine, Melinda Raymond. We were a harder rocking band than The Go Go’s and The Bangles and struggled to be accepted in the male-dominated arena. After touring and performing for 6 years, we were finally offered a record contract but three of the five of us were pregnant and ready to start families. Consequently, we didn’t get signed. I took some time off to raise my daughter and then started another band. With a stroke of luck, I was in the right place at the right time. Eikichi Yazawa, a prominent figure in Japanese popular music, happened to be at our show at the House of Blues and hired me on the spot as one of his backup vocalists to do a 25 city tour of Japan performing for thousands. It is my hope that GYPSY’s success will advance and allow me to continue singing and performing. I have a deep connection to music; it is such a positive source in our world and it brings people together. Being able to spread that happiness to people is what I truly enjoy and it fulfills me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Some of my favorite spots in the city are the clubs that support local musicians and singer/songwriters like the Whisky a go go, The Troubadour, The Viper Room and the Roxy. Venues with live music are hard to find these days and supporting my fellow artists is at the top of my to-do list. Next would be a relaxing day at the beach, people watching, sunbathing and swimming in the ocean. I grew up in Northern California and was a competitive swimmer so the warm weather and water in the south bay is near and dear to my heart. Sticking with an ocean theme I love sushi at Katsu-ya. I could eat it everyday!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to recognize my business partner Yuko Tamura. She is an exceptionally talented pianist/ keyboardist and close friend. We started GYPSY over 5 years ago after a chance meeting she had with Stevie Nicks. She was performing with Gladys Knight during a Super Dome concert in New Orleans, 2012, and had the opportunity to perform in the same lineup as Stevie Nicks. She recognized the similarities between Stevie and I and suggested we start a tribute band using her professional musician contacts and friends. Yuko has been touring with Gladys Knight for 15 years and performed with many top 40 acts such as Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, James Ingram and many more. Through her musical direction and connections in the industry, we have been able to put together a very high caliber band performing all live music. With her encouragement, support and connections, I have been able to continue my passion for music and am so grateful.
Other: Bandsiintown: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/15379365-stevie-nicks-gypsytribute?came_from=242&utm_medium=web&utm_source=artist_event_page&utm_campaign=artist
Arlan Helm, Gary Silva and Ray Azor