The annual Titusville Folk and Bluegrass Festival started off with star power on Friday night, as singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb took the stage alongside local a music act, The Probables. This event was previously called the Heart of the Arts Festival, or HOTA Fest.
Loeb, whose “Feel What U Feel” won the Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2018, is a musician from Bethesda, Maryland, who originally gained notoriety for her 1994 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” that reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She answered questions from a small group of fans prior to taking the stage.
“I just love performing, whether it’s in front of a large crowd of people or just a few in the street,” Loeb said. “I’ll be surrounded by a mini-mob at a grocery store, and also be at a hotel across the street from where my name is up in lights and someone will approach me and say ‘Hey, didn’t you used to do music?’ It’s really quite funny sometimes.”
One life-long fan, Adam Volkstadt, asked Loeb about the song “How,” which he claimed was one of his all-time favorite songs.
“Every time I hear it, I’m moved by the music in such a special way,” Volkstadt said. “What was going through your mind when you wrote it? What was your process?”
Loeb revealed the song was actually written specifically for the 1996 film “Twister” in a scene with actress Helen Hunt contemplating her future.
“I actually had Danny Elfman, the famous composer, complain about the usage of the song in the movie during a panel at Sundance,” she said. “He said ‘Why did they throw this pop song in the movie?’ I raised my hand and told him that it was written for that specific scene, and he was a little embarrassed after that I think.”
The song went on to be featured in other films she said, including 1998’s “Jack Frost”, starring Michael Keaton. Loeb promised Volkstadt that she would sing the song during her performance, and said she was touched that he enjoyed her music so much.
Luke Ruot served as the moderator for the question and answer session, asking questions of Loeb while fielding questions from the audience. Ruot was curious about how Loeb’s fame had impacted her career in its early stages following the success of her first two albums.
“Once you first heard yourself on the radio, what was that like for you?” he asked. “Did it ever feel like you had to always keep always feeling that way?”
Loeb said while it was surreal to hear herself on air, she never felt the pressure to be something that she was not.
“I never listened too much to pop radio or anything Top 40, but it was odd to hear my name alongside songs by people like Mariah Carey,” she said. “It was like I was at a big party all of the sudden. I never really felt like I had to make another hit song though because I wanted to do things my way. Now that I’m older too, I have that freedom to not face so much studio pressure and having to write songs for the sake of record companies.”
Loeb performed with The Probables shortly after the question and answer session. Saturday and Sunday will feature free live music and vendors at Scheide Park all day. Titusville Folk and Bluegrass Festival organizer Ashley Eichhorn-Thompson told the Herald in May that promoting area local acts over the weekend was a primary goal of the event.
“It’s a goal of ours each year to recognize and support local bands through the festival,” Eichhorn-Thompson said. “The community really appreciates the bigger names that we’ve been able to attract, but we always here how much they love the local acts too.”
The festival will conclude on Monday night with a performance by renowned folk singer Dorothy “Dar” Williams, and local group Joe Thompson & Friends. This performance will also be at Henne Auditorium and be proceeded by a question and answer session with Williams.
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