Pop Power

Lisa Lisa's staying power proves she's more than a cult jam.

When dance-pop diva Lisa Lisa was 13 years old, she started sneaking out of the house to hit dance clubs. Her goal? To get discovered as a singer. And even though what she was doing could've got her grounded, something inside her told her she had to hit those clubs every night.

In 2009, if a kid sneaks out of home to kick-start her career, most likely it's gonna be a career of drinking, drugging, and partying. And if any guy says he's a "producer" today, it just means he has Garage Band on his laptop and sex on his mind. But back then, Lisa actually did meet the legit producers Full Force at the New York disco the Fun House. Within a couple of days, she was in the studio recording songs.

She'd go to school during the day, work at night, and hit the studio until the break of dawn. But then her New York label, Personal Records, leased her song "I Wonder If I Take You Home" to CBS' European music division for a compilation called Breakdancing. It was wildly successful abroad and back in the States garnered massive radio and club airplay. Still, Lisa was reluctant to leave the stability of her old life. "It took me two years to quit my job. I didn't even know that money was coming," she recalls today. "I was working as an assistant manager at Benetton, folding sweaters, and one day on the radio, they're playing my song!"

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The danceable genre in which she was working soon was dubbed freestyle, and like that of her peers, her music always had a sense of innocence, excitement, and confidence. Lisa's follow-up single, "Can You Feel the Beat," is a South Florida dance-club jam that cannot, will not, and should not ever go away.

But in recent years, Lisa Lisa's career has seen another uptick. Besides touring as part of the increasingly frequent freestyle revival packages, Lisa Lisa's been working hard on a new album. Called Life 'N Love, it's a combination of everything fun: funk, soul, R&B, and — yes! — that original freestyle sound.

 
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