Gary James' Interview With Lisa Coppola Of
Queens Of Heart
Lisa Coppola is Ann Wilson in the Heart tribute band Queens Of Heart. She also has quite a successful solo career going on. So, we touched on those bases and more with Lisa.
Q - Lisa, you actually have two careers going on a once; Queens Of Heart and your original music.
A - Right.
Q - Are there enough hours in the day to balance the two?
A - Well, no. (laughs) Luckily I'm going to be having the help of a publicist fairly soon. I've been interviewing some people to help me with keeping awareness out there for me and for the band. With all the social networking sites, it can be a little daunting trying to keep up with everything. I'm definitely getting ready to enlist some help with the more administrative side of things. I would have to say I spend as much time singing as I do behind the computer, but it seems like the computer weighs it out. It wins at this point.
Q - It is terribly important to let people know you're out there. Marketing is important.
A - Right.
Q - You've been a backing vocalist for people like Billy Joel and Marshall Crenshaw. That's pretty impressive. How did you get those gigs?
A - Back in the day when I was singing background vocals for major label artists, I was pretty visible on the New Jersey circuit. At the time I was married to one of the guys in Billy Joel's band. He wasn't marketing me to try and get any singing work. That wasn't his place. He was just doing his gig. We happened to be all out to dinner one night. I was sitting there with the band and it was my birthday and we were all just singing and having a great time. And Crystal Tallieferre was the vocal coordinator and she played sax and percussion and guitar. So, she asked me if I wanted to do Saturday Night Live with them the following week. I said "Are you kidding me? Of course I would!" From that came a lot of other gigs. And then ultimately the guy who was the music coordinator for Saturday Night Live and I started a band that ultimately toured Europe and got signed in several European territories.
Q - How hard is it to be in a Heart tribute band? To duplicate onstage what Heart did in the studio seems to be an almost impossible task.
A - Well, they call us "Note Perfect" for a reason. I grew up singing Ann Wilson in my room into a hairbrush. So for me it's not difficult to do because that's what I cut my teeth on. Maybe it might be difficult for other singers to duplicate her, but since I had such a love of music from being a tiny, little kid and I sang it for such a long time, it's almost like my vocal chords got accustomed to that kind of really powerful singing. As far as the musicians in my group, I've got really prime players, so I think that is the key because Heart is made up of the most amazing musicians to walk the planet.
Q - Have you ever met the Wilson sisters or any of the players in the band?
A - No, I have not.
Q - Have you ever seen them in concert?
A - Several, several times. From 1985 'til last Summer (2010). I go to see them every chance I get. Ann's voice is still as vital and amazing as it was in the '70s. It's still a very exciting show. So, I haven't met them, but I've seen them many, many times.
Q - Would you know if they've heard about Queens Of Heart?
A - I believe they that they do. A friend of a friend passed along my business card to the Wilson sisters. I never heard anything back from them. They never contacted us. But I think that she knows there's another band out there playing tribute to them.
Q - How much work is Queens Of Heart getting? Is it something you work at a couple of times a week? A couple of times a month?
A - No, really it's like a few times a Summer. I wish it were more, but unfortunately the agents we've contacted here on the Eastern seaboard haven't really been that successful in booking the band. So we've got something wonderful coming up in Atlantic City in July (2011) and we've got a repeat concert up in Maine in September and we're looking to fill out some other tentative dates in August (2011). It really wound up being a Summer thing for us at this point. I'm hoping to build it into something more. It seems like anytime we do play somewhere, they repeat and have us back. So that's a good sign.
Q - What kind of venues are you playing? Are you talking festivals?
A - Yes. Well, the thing that we're doing in Atlantic City in July is something called Fake Fest. That will be us and another tribute band. I don't know which one, but it is something they do every Summer, which is really cool. So that's outdoors. Then the thing we do in Maine is kind of like an outdoors park thing where people come to camp. It's like a party campground. It's really kind of a cool set-up that they have. So we've been doing a lot of outdoor.
Q - Which means during the other months you're working on your original material.
A - Yes. I'm getting ready to go to Nashville to perform on June 9th, 2011 as part of Chick Singer Night at the Bluebird Café.