I haven’t really talked much about it here because it is, in many ways, something I have put behind me but up until very recently I considered myself an aspiring singer/songwriter. I have long said that before I am anything else, I am a songwriter. It is one of the most core parts of my identity as a person, even still, I have just decided to stop pursuing it at this point in my life to focus on other ventures, like writing this blog and focusing on beauty. Still, throughout the course of my life I have written hundreds of songs and it is something that has always been my very first and most prominent passion. The reason I bring this up is because as a songwriter myself, I have been heavily influenced by a lot of different artists throughout my life. However, more than any other artists or any other period, the female singer-songwriters of the mid-late 1990s had the strongest influence on me. They are the first artists who inspired me to start writing and, to this day, remain some of the biggest influences on my life.
Back in this magical period in music, there was a festival created; a gathering and celebration of these artists, known as The Lillith Fair. The Lillith Fair was organized and founded by one such artist that I mentioned above and one of my biggest songwriting influences, Sarah McLachlan. Lillith was a festival featuring all female artists or female led bands. It consisted of three different stages, the first featuring established headline artists, the second featuring more up-and-coming artists of the time and the third featuring undiscovered and local artists from the area where the tour was stopped on any given date. The tour ran for three years, the summers of 1997, 98 & 99, as well as a considerably less successful revival in 2010. A majority of my favorite and most influential artists of the 90s and throughout my lifetime were featured on one of the stages at the fair. In celebration of this Fair and it’s personal influence on me, I wanted to feature some of the artists featured in the first three years of the Lillith Fair here on the blog.
Before going into the videos, though, I wanted to mention two things. First of all, there are two artists from this time who were never featured in the Lillith Fair but are definitely two of the most influential songwriters of my young life, and of the Lillith Fair period: Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos. Because they were not ever featured at the Lillith Fair, for reasons I can’t imagine because it is right up both of their alleys, I did not feature them here, which was definitely difficult for me to do. This would also somewhat extend to the band No Doubt, although they don’t fit into this near as much. Also, I wanted to mention that I am featuring videos here of live performances from all of these artists because I kind of wanted to give at least somewhat of an idea of what the experience of the festival would have been by featuring live performances, although most of these performances are not from actual Lillith Fair shows.
Sarah McLachlan – Building A Mystery (Live Acoustic)
Jewel – Hands (Live Acoustic)
Paula Cole – I Don’t Want To Wait (Live)
Fiona Apple – Paper Bag (Live)
Joan Osborne – St. Theresa (Live Acoustic)
Lisa Loeb – Do You Sleep? (Live Acoustic)
Meredith Brooks – Bitch (Live)
K’s Choice – Butterflies Instead (Live Acoustic)
Erykah Badu – Next Lifetime (Live Unplugged)
Sheryl Crow – If It Makes You Happy (Live)
Chantal Kreviazuk – Surrounded (Live)
Natalie Merchant – Break Your Heart (Live)
Liz Phair – May Queen (Live)
Nelly Furtado – Try (Live)
Lori McKenna – Your Next Lover (Live Acoustic)
So, there you have it! You’ll notice I didn’t necessarily feature the most popular or “signature” songs from these artists, (how many of you are asking right now, “JOAN OSBORNE HAD OTHER SONGS?!”) but instead opted to include songs by each artist that I found most influential or that have had a major personal effect on my life at one point or another. Yes, every single one of these songs has had a personal effect on me in some way. Clearly some, like “Try” by Nelly Furtado, “May Queen” by Liz Phair, “Surrounded” by Chantal Kreviazuk, have had much more of an effect than others. I will also say that the two of these songs that have had the most massive effect on me personally are definitely “Paper Bag” by Fiona Apple and, most of all, “Hands” by Jewel. Anyway, I hope I reminded some of you my age and older of some music that you haven’t heard in a long time or, like me, perhaps hadn’t listened to in a few years and, for the younger audience, I hope you may have picked up some music you weren’t necessarily aware of before. In the meantime, I wish you all a beautiful rest of the week and a beautiful life!