Rock fans call her sound folksy, and folk enthusiasts call it pop, but it was her self-branded “post-brontosaurus indie folk crunk” -- a quirky nod to her hometown of Atlanta -- that caught the attention of a casting director for a new NBC reality show, and would eventually lead this bubbly singer-songwriter to an unexpected detour in her musical career.
For Rebecca Loebe (that’s low-bee), her journey to the
mainstream began years before she delivered that hypnotic rendition of “Come As
You Are” that seamlessly meshed the lyrical genius of Nirvana with her early
influences of Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin, and had Christina Aguilera and
Adam Levine begging to work with her.
Recognizing her ear for music at a young age, Loebe went on to fine tune her craft, studying music production and engineering at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But it wasn’t until one of her professors convinced her to pursue something that allowed her to use more of her creativity that she began putting together her own CD, which she then took on the road, trying to “fake it till you make it” with a self-booked tour. And make it she did. After four years playing hundreds of venues and clocking thousands of miles in her car, Rebecca eventually found herself opening for the legendary Mary Chapin Carpenter in 2010.
Despite her musical milestone, Loebe understood that she’d need something more to achieve the kind of success she was driving toward.
“I think that TV is the new radio,” Loebe tells TMR. “Careers aren’t being launched on the radio anymore, they’re being launched by television. That’s the platform and that’s the level of exposure that’s necessary now to get enough people paying attention to someone to launch them really far forward.”
Her exact reason for agreeing to audition for The Voice, though she never fully expected the show’s producers and coaches to go for a “folk singer.”
She was wrong.
“Something that I really appreciate about The Voice is that they really seem to be casting a wide net,” explains Loebe. “They were really searching for and open to a broad variety of creativity, of expression, of talent. In terms of how people choose to use their talents to express themselves. They weren’t just looking for one type of singer.
“I honestly assumed there wouldn’t be room for me on a national network singing show. I like to sing, I like doing it the way I do it, but I knew I wasn’t going to turn into some crazy R&B singer overnight, and I just assumed that was the type of mega-pop voice they were looking for. So I was really surprised when they called me after the first audition and asked me to come back, and every week I kept waiting for them to realize that I was just some folk singer and send me back home, so I just kept going with the flow.”
Though she was eliminated in the Battle Round, simply being a part of the “funny, multi-generational musical summer camp” that was The Voice took Rebecca’s career to places she only dared to dream of in the past. After her exit from the show, Loebe describes being thrust back into a “suspended reality,” suddenly facing an empty calendar, which quickly began to fill up with calls from promoters asking her to perform at venues she’d been trying to play since the beginning of her touring days.
And she’s not the only one reaping the benefits of exposure.
In its premiere season, The Voice has resurrected NBC from its 5-year ratings
slump and created a platform that has allowed Rebecca and the 31
other aspiring musicians who made it past the Blind Auditions, to boast iTunes hits that
rivaled even their multi Grammy award-winning coaches, Adam Levine, Blake
Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Christina Aguilera. Not too bad for a traveling folk singer from Georgia.
So what’s next for Rebecca Loebe? Whether she achieves mainstream superstardom or not, this young artist knows that the road ahead is littered with possibilities, and she’s definitely enjoying the ride.
For more on Rebecca Loebe, including upcoming performance dates and locations, visit her website.