Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who Is That: Jill Sobule

Name: Jill Sobule
Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Genre: Alternative
Born: January 16, 1965

"She's gonna sing! You're gonna listen!"

There are not enough adjectives to accurately describe Jill Sobule: Talented, intelligent, witty, educated, pretty, ambitious, quirky, opinionated, personable, relatable, vulnerable, hilarious, empowered. Her outstanding career and staggering output as a singer/songwriter spanning the last two decades has blurred the boundaries of musical genre and has made successful forays into film, television, and live theater.

Sobule is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

She began playing guitar in junior high and went on to release her first album entitled Things Here Are Different for MCA in 1990. The fates of success, however, would not smile on her until several years after the release of this album, when Atlantic Records released her MTV staple and national Top 20 hit, "I Kissed A Girl", which was featured on her self-titled album, Jill Sobule.

"That song was a double-edged sword for me," said Sobule. "It was perceived as a novelty hit, but on the other hand it was the first song with an overtly gay topic to be aired on Top 40 radio. I am quite proud of that." The album also yielded another hit song, "Supermodel", included in the Clueless soundtrack.

Since then, she has made four more critically acclaimed albums, Happy Town, Pink Pearl, Underdog Victorious, and 2009's California Years, which Jill released on her own record label, Pinko Records, after collecting over $85,000 from fans who funded the project.

Sobule is a prolific collaborator, writing and performing both with other musicians and with artists from non-musical disciplines, including blogger Ariana Huffington, television producer Sue Rose, and comedienne Julia Sweeney.

She has also served as songwriter/composer for the hit Nickelodeon network show "Unfabulous" during that show's three-season run. She composed the music for the off-Broadway show Prozak and the Platypus and co-starred in the Eric Schaeffer film Mind the Gap.

Sobule toured twice with the late Warren Zevon, whose penchant for sardonic storytelling she shares. She, like Zevon, despite a deep well of great works, is best known for a single fluke hit (Zevon's being "Werewolves of London", a personal favorite of mine).

And speaking of personal favorites, if you haven't already, I recommend listening to the following Sobule gems: "Resistance Song", "Margaret", "A Good Life", "San Francisco", "Houdini's Box", "Mexican Wrestler", and "Manhattan in January". These songs are, of course, only a small sample of the vast talent and originality that this amazing woman brings to this world on a regular basis.

I sincerely hope this self-proclaimed "hopeful cynic" continues to grace us with her unique brand of magic and all around awesomeness.

I also hope she continues sharing photos of her neighbors' gay cat. That delights me.

Below is some fun footage of Jill singing the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek song "Manhattan in January". The song was written in a matter of days in response to Al Gore's depiction of the current and potential state of global climate disaster.

1 comment:

  1. I just put together a website: the stories behind Jill's songs told by Jill. Her comments are as amazing as her songs. I call it "Song by Song by Jill".

    I have Jill's stories behind "A Good Life", "San Francisco" (people often get this one wrong) and "Mexican Wrestler".