Quick: Who does Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and a pair of cat eyeshaped glasses bring to mind? If you guessed Lisa Loeb, the endearing songstress–and D.C. metro-native–behind the theme song for the 1994 young angst film Reality Bites, you are correct. But what about the kid crew in your midst? What does this platinum-selling, GRAMMY-nominated, and ever-evolving artist have to offer them? A sixth children’s album and a local upcoming show (Oct. 8), for starters. 

Life as art
As a mom to a five- and seven-year-old she knows both of what she speaks, and what she sings. Now with five children’s albums already to her credit, she releases her latest, a recording chock full of old school tunes kids and grown-ups both will want to stream before bed. Classically arranged with Lisa’s velvety sweet voice like frosting on top, Lullaby Girl features covers of oldies but goodies like “Rainbow Connection,” “Inchworm,” and “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which was recently featured in Variety magazine.

On the road
Lisa, who in the years since Stay (I Missed You) has also written a musical about summer camp and started an eyewear brand, is a touring artist bringing her interactive style to one of the D.C. area’s newer kid-aware venues, AMP by Strathmore on Rockville Pike. Featuring her in its 4 p.m. Pajama Jams line-up for families on Oct. 8, AMP will also offer an evening performance with Lisa who looks forward to the intimate space for making connections with her audience, telling stories and taking requests. Read on to learn about some of the places in D.C. that inspire Lisa (originally from Bethesda), and get the scoop on what to expect at one of her AMP shows.

What’s Madison Square Garden when you got 9:30
Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Lisa grew up in Dallas, Texas, but says she always enjoys seeing close up, the larger than life monuments that make D.C. famous like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, or the White House. And there is no place like the open space on the National Mall for kids to run around, and finding opportunities to learn about everything from Native Americans to lunar landings.

Grounded by the small moments she says make up a life, Lisa reveals that while it was great meeting music icon David Bowie or playing Madison Square Garden, it’s the less heady memories that are most important. Like walking up to her grandmother’s driveway under the tall tree, one of a series of events she writes about in her evocative song “I Was Here” off the 2016 children’s album Feel What U Feel, or appearing at D.C.’s 9:30 Club and feeling like she’d really made it with her band Nine Stories, one of the first to play the re-opened club in 1996.

Feel what u feel
As the title song along with much of the music from her last album encourages, kids sometimes need reminders to express their feelings, and that they have what it takes to meet life’s challenges. This theme is present in Lisa’s performances where audiences will quickly identify with life experiences she sings about from learning to wave hello, to learning to embrace new things.

Grownups can expect some of the same introspective music–with a little more of a romantic feel–at the later show, evoking the songwriter’s own and her audience’s respect for their memories of growing up, moving on, staying together and reaching for your dreams. Listen for one or two tracks off of Lullaby Girl and music from her last adult release No Fairy Tale.

Kids Pajama Jam Party: Lisa Loeb
AMP by Strathmore
11810 Grand Park Ave. (North Bethesda, Md)
When: Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.
Cost: $12/one and up
Online: ampbystrathmore.com

Are you going to check out this concert with your family? Tell us if you’ll be there in the comments below. 

-Carolyn Ross