Lisa Velez, better known by her stage name Lisa Lisa, first rose to fame in the 1980s as one-third of the iconic band Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. She continued into the 1990s with a solo career that included the hit single “When I Fell in Love,” and by 2001 had moved into acting with a role on the Nickelodian show Taina.
She released the full-length album Life ’n Love in 2009, featuring the single “Can’t Wait” with guest rapper Pitbull. Then in March 2014, Lisa Lisa appeared with Stevie B., TKA, Sa-Fire and others at the eighth annual Forever Freestyle showcase at the Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx.
Lisa Lisa recently sat down to answer a few questions for Dallas Voice and her fans looking forward to her performance tonight at MetroBall 14.
— Tammye Nash
Dallas Voice: You are called the “originator of the Latin hip-hop/freestyle genre.” How did you come up with that sound and style? What did it grow out of? Lisa Lisa: Well, it was a certain sound that really started on the East Coast and, thankfully, spread all across the world.
You are also seen as a pioneer who paved the way for performers like Gloria Estefan, Shakira and Selena. How do you feel knowing that you broke ground that made it easier for women to follow in your footsteps? Those women you mentioned are legendary and, frankly, I’m just happy to be included and to have been some type of an inspiration. Gloria and Emilio are really good friends of mine and such a lovely people. Selena left us way to soon, as she was so very talented.
What makes people connect with your music so much? In these bad times, I think my music can take you back and take you to another place in time that hopefully puts a smile on your face.
You have always been very popular in the LGBT community. What part do you think your LGBT fans played in your success over the years? OMG, a huge part! And they know what’s hot and what is not hot, and they always show me so much love and have been there for me since the beginning of my career.
Is there anything different about playing an event like MetroBall, where you are performing for a primarily LGBT audience, and other events where you have a more mainstream audience? I prefer to play, as most artists do, for an LGBTQ audience as they always make my shows fun and a party!
What do you like most about performing for your LGBT fans? I would have to say the energy is what I like best about performing for an LGBTQ audience.
You continue to perform live shows, and you have been on Broadway and you have acted in a TV show. Which is your favorite? I would have to say the live shows, because it’s what I do best — SING!
I know you are touring all the time, but what else is next on your list? An album? Another Broadway/Off Broadway show? Another acting gig? I’m working on some new music, but it’s so hard to get new music out and for the masses to really embrace it like in the past.
Do you have any advice for somebody trying to get into the music business these days? The music scene has changed in so many ways, as it’s all about your social media more than actual talent like in the past. Never give up on your dreams!
What would you like to mention that I haven’t asked about? I’m just looking to put on a great show for you in Dallas and bring back some memories and have fun as this is such a great cause. XO!