By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

  • Published

Band Of Horses endorsed freckle-nosed country-pop from the mid-west via California. Fuelled by tequila, tomato juice and a broken heart.

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Image caption,
Lissie releases her single In Sleep in April

Peak through the window of Lissie's farmhouse in Ojai, California, and you'll see what appears to be a pretty idyllic life.

"Usually in the morning I go out on the patio, check my email and have a cup of coffee and let my dog out to run around," she says in her thick Rock Island, Mississippi twang.

"It's really pretty - mountains and a lot of orange groves. It's really picturesque."

No kidding. Right now the outlook for the gravel-voiced singer is fairly rosey.

Discovered by many stateside via her collaborative EP with Band Of Horses' Bill Reynolds, she's been signed to Columbia records for two years.

It's only now they're opening the door on Lissie's (surname Maurus) full length untitled debut - due out in this summer following the release of single In Sleep on 5 April.

Long graft

It's been a graft though. She started attending singing and dancing classes aged 6. By 9 she was playing the lead role in a local production of Annie.

Then the songs began to flow, as did the comparisons to Stevie Nicks and Neko Case, which still remain.

From there she went to college in Colarado but dropped out in 2004 to move to Los Angeles, thirsty for musical success.

"It started to become apparent that this is what I wanted to do for a living," she says directly. "It kind of snowballed over time. It's been a long road I do feel like I've been at it for quite some time."

Once there, she played every show she was offered, grasped every chance to be heard and spoke to every person who'd listen.

"I grew up in the mid-west which, for good or for bad, makes me talk to people that I don't know. It's just in my nature," she shrugs.

The situation is now more settled - out of a "rocky" relationship and now on her own. Just her, the pooch and a guitar outside the throbbing hub of LA. That solitude has served her well.

UK visits

For the last two years she's been coming to the UK to co-write with various people.

"I was initially resisting it because I thought that was not like a real artist," she admits.

The result though is her debut album, due this summer.

In the immediate future she returns to the UK to play a series of shows in support of Joshua Radin in April.

Before she plays you won't find her cowering in a corner rehearsing her lines, she'll be drowning her ritualistic pre-gig drink of tequila and tomato juice - the so-called Texas Two-step.

"I've got some weird immunity to tequila," she laughs. "I feel like I have to drink a lot of it to be even act like I'm drunk.

"I take a shot of tequila and it softens me up so I'm not as aware of anyone else."

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