We were all taught a lesson in ditching a toxic romance with the release of Lisa Ramey’s single Vagabond last month.
With its regal brass sections, country guitar melodies and guttural vocal ad libs, the 60s-inspired soul-pop track saw Lisa Ramey take aim squarely at a troublesome ex, ultimately delivering a message of self-worth in the face of an f-boy’s misdeeds.
Such mastery of craft is, at this point, par for the course for Ramey, who completed a successful run on the USA iteration of The Voice in 2019, and this year released a smattering of singles including Body and My Creator.
Now, the New York musician stops by Happy Mag for a deep-dive into her artistry, the origins of Vagabond, and her all-too relatable quest to “to stop dating the same guy with a different face.”
Catch our full interview with Lisa Ramey below, and scroll down to listen to her latest single Vagabond.
HAPPY: What are you up to today?
LISA: Hi! Today I’m headed to work with my music director and producer on something very exciting! I can’t tell you what it is yet so stay tuned!
HAPPY: What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?
LISA: Both in St. Louis and NYC the music scene is massive. I love that I get to experience so many creative artists all over both cities at any given moment. We never stop creating.
HAPPY: Can you tell us about the music you listened to growing up that helped to define your creative journey?
LISA: Yes! It’s all over the place. I grew up on church alternative rock music, gospel, musical theater, big band and swing! Lots of R&B and motown, soul, rock and classical. I was homeschooled so I was able to spend lots of time listening and falling in love with all music.
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HAPPY: You’ve described ‘Vagabond’ as a track that addresses mistreatment and reclaims self-worth. How do you hope this song resonates with listeners who may have experienced similar situations?
LISA: Lemons to lemonade. We all make stupid choices and if you’re me you repeat your stupid choices and feel dumb over and over. Let’s all break the cycle together.
I needed to stop dating the same guy with a different face, you know? Switching it up and making different/better choices was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. Try it! There’s no losses if you learn the lesson
HAPPY: The New York City music scene is known for its diversity and vibrancy. How has the city influenced your musical style and artistic journey?
LISA: NYC heavily influenced me to be nothing but myself. This has helped me write and has helped me get through the music business without quitting.
It is very important to know yourself in this industry. So many people are happy to tell you who you are to them. Moving to NYC helped me find my backbone.
I tell you who I am, you don’t tell me. Artistically it’s the same. It isn’t easy to jump from genre to genre but that’s how I hear songs so I write them that way.
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HAPPY: Your 2020 debut album, ‘Surrender,’ was well-received. How do you feel your music has evolved since then, particularly with the release of ‘Vagabond’?
LISA: I’ve learned a lot. I love to learn! Everything I learn I apply to my music. From lyrics to production to studio time…it’s always evolving.
HAPPY: You’ve had the opportunity to perform alongside icons like Lauryn Hill. Can you share any memorable moments or lessons you’ve learned from these experiences?
LISA: Mrs Hill is an incredible story teller. She owns her stage and keeps her audience captivated. It seemed like nobody went to refill drinks or to the bathroom during her sets!
They didn’t want to miss a thing. That’s powerful! She helped me remember how important it is to connect to your audience and not just put on a show
HAPPY: Your vocals are often described as powerful and commanding. How do you prepare yourself before stepping into the recording studio or onto the stage?
LISA: haha not much prep! Since I am the CEO of my business I’ve got too much on my mind and before you know it it’s my turn to sing. Singing is the easiest part of my day. I’ve been doing it so long that my peace comes pretty naturally and quickly.
That calming peace is always there when I need it before a show and before studio sessions. I need therapy to drive during rush hour more than before I sing!
HAPPY: In ‘Vagabond,’ there’s a blend of storytelling and self-affirmation. How important is it for you to use your music to tell your own narrative and empower others?
LISA: Very important. I believe music is a responsibility. Communicating to people is a love language! I’m out here trying to connect and spread love by being vulnerable through my music to relate to people. I’m honored to be apart of it
HAPPY: Your musical journey has been quite impressive, from The Voice to releasing your own albums. What advice would you give to artists looking to navigate the music industry?
LISA: Woof. Stay focused, know yourself, there’s no crying in baseball and be nice and on time. Understanding that trial and error isn’t the end of the world.
Most of us start out doing free gigs and after you get your name out there it is your responsibility to stop saying yes to friends and start working for pay.
Know your worth. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Just be yourself and do what you do best. AND hire a lawyer faster than a manager or agent
HAPPY: You’ve had experience across various genres. Are there any specific artists or albums that have had a profound impact on your musical style and direction?
LISA: MJ -all his 80-90s albums, Earth Wind and Fire – All In All, Ron Kenoly -Lift Him Up (live album), all things Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. True iconic incredible artistry. Their music is huge. It feels good to listen to and it’s so much fun!! I’m all about that
HAPPY: You’ve released several singles and albums over the years. What do you feel is the overarching message or theme that ties your body of work together?
LISA: I do me! Limitless. Can’t box me in
HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?
LISA: Lots of things! Happy people, farm to table food, wine, cooking, that feeling after a workout, music, making music, performing music is my favorite, puppies that don’t live at my house, true friendship, learning….you interviewing me! Thank you.