Last updated: 06/22/2012 12:00:00 PM
Lissie Maurus was raised in the riverside town of Rock Island, IL, and she drew upon those blue-collar Midwestern origins to create her own form of indie folk music. The granddaughter of an international barbershop quarter champion, she grew up singing in theater productions, eventually picking up the guitar and playing her own songs at local coffeeshops as a teenager. Lissie was also something of a rebel; she got thrown out of high school during her senior year, spent a brief period at Colorado State University, relocated to Paris for a semester, and eventually ditched college altogether to pursue her music career. Returning to the U.S., Lissie headed west and settled in Los Angeles, where she became a fixture on the local venue circuit and landed a national tour opening for Lenny Kravitz.
Lissie's music had already appeared on shows like The O.C., Veronica Mars, and House by the time she moved to California, and she widened her fan base by launching a weekly songwriter's circle at her local bar, Crane's Hollywood Tavern, and releasing a self-titled EP. Things truly began picking up speed in 2009, though, when Lissie released the dusky Why You Runnin' and toured the country alongside Ray LaMontagne. Part of the Why You Runnin' EP had been recorded in the U.K., and she returned there in early 2010 to promote the release of her first full-length album, Catching a Tiger. Although she also made several appearances in America -- including a standout performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and a single date with the rebooted Lilith Fair -- Lissie spent most of her time touring Europe, where her debut record was released in June. An American release followed in August, courtesy of Fat Possum Records.
~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi