People to Watch: Lydia Loveless

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
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From the August 7, 2014 edition

“The number one thing I always read about Columbus is ‘You wouldn’t expect such-and-such to come out of Columbus,’” Lydia Loveless said. “Whether it’s like craft beer or good music or ice cream. That’s why we’re really good at what we do … because we have to motivate ourselves.”

Loveless’ music is definitely one of the good things that have come out of Columbus. And at this point, she likely only trails Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams as our chief cultural export.

The past year has seen music writers from coast-to-coast fawn over Loveless’ new album Somewhere Else. Though she’s always been relentless on the touring circuit, now she’s selling out shows on the West Coast. And she’s performed for everything from The AV Club’s Undercover series (doing a killer cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”) to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and World Café.

And she still calls Columbus home. At least for the two months out of the year she’s not on tour.

“There are people working for themselves here and doing just fine, inspiring others from here as opposed to the classic places that you’re ‘supposed’ to want to live in,” Loveless said.

“There is no sound that defines Columbus, which is why it always pisses me off when people are trying to brand us or define us,” Loveless added. “Why do we have to do that? We’re just people who appreciate all kinds of music.”

In her frequent interactions with the press, Loveless says “Why stay in Columbus?” remains a common question she hears “from people who like drove by here once or went to Dayton.”

“I guess it’s just that weird Ohio pride that everyone has. I think it’s because the shape of our state is so easily screen-printed on things,” Loveless joked.

She’s about to hit the road for another round of headlining touring, and Loveless is also starting to lay down work for her follow-up to Somewhere Else. As for her idea of continued success? It involves being able to spend more time in Columbus.

“[Success] would just be being able to make my own schedule, not having to tour relentlessly, not because that’s how you make money, but because I want to tour on a new album I’m proud of.”