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Singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe Performs "Down to the Wire" in the WUWM Studio


You may know Rebecca Loebe from her spin on NBC’s “The Voice,” performing a stirring rendition of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” But she was already working hard on her songwriting chops when that opportunity popped up for her almost out of the blue.

She is happy to be back doing what she loves doing, touring and connecting personally with her audiences. She just released two live albums, Rebecca Loebe Live, and Three Nights Live, featuring Raina (rain-AH) Rose and Smokey & The Mirror. Loebe recently stopped by the WUWM studio talking with Rachel Owens about her travels and latest musical ventures. The Virginia native started the interview with a rendition of her song, “Down to the Wire.”

Loebe joined the program in the summer of 2013, during her national tour with folk songwriter Ellis Paul. Since then, Paul has been a mentor of sorts for young singer/songwriter.

“(Paul) is a fantastic songwriter and a great performer, fun just to watch him do his career thing but also fun just to spend time with him in the car,” says Loebe. “I’ve been in the process of writing tunes for my new record so as I write them I’ll play them for him and he’ll give me his honest, sagey wisdom feedback.”

Over a year ago Loebe was contacted by Virginia record company Goose Creek Music, they were interested in recording live albums of touring Americana acts. Loebe seemed like a natural choice. She released two live albums with Austin, Texas songwriter Raina Rose and married duo Smokey & The Mirror. They put the “juiciest” bits on CD.

Rebecca Loebe poses before her performance in the WUWM studio.

Three Nights Live captures the feeling of each night on tour,” says Loebe. “There is also an EP called Rebecca Loebe Live, and that features all my songs from the project.”

After Loebe’s stint on the TV show The Voice, she began her first international tour performing in Canada, The Netherlands, Japan, and Germany. Holland in particular proved to be a great experience, with the audience having such a firm grasp of the English language. Japan, with audience members both with and without strong English skills, was an uncomfortable and eye-opening tour date.

“It reminded me of doing yoga, where if you get into a pose and it’s uncomfortable you have to stay there for a minute and just relax and stretch into it,” says Loebe. “I sort of felt that way about performing in Japan and dealing with those language barrier issues.”  

Loebe then plays the song “Marguerita,” inspired by a public radio story centered on illegal workers in the United States. The song, which is featured on her album Mystery Prize, is about the sacrifices these illegal immigrants make to provide for their families back home.

“All political stuff aside, what an act of love that is… and that really moved me,” says Loebe.

Rebecca Loebe’s “Marguerita” can be heard here:

Thanks to Jon Strelecki for engineering the studio session, and to Trapper Schoepp for mixing the interview.

Rachel joined WUWM as an announcer in January of 2014. Prior to coming to WUWM, Rachel worked for nearly six years at Wisconsin Public Radio and Television in a number of roles, including announcer/board operator, voice talent, producer, on-air producer, radio operations center technician and audience services representative.