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Lelia Broussard on Jewel as an Early Influence and the Song 'Hipster Bitch'

by David Browne on Feb 14, 2011

. Photo by Deborah Lopez.

You're from Louisiana, right? Did you absorb much local music growing up?
I was born in Lafayette, LA, and I was in louisiana until I was 10 or 11. They had so many amazing music festivals and zydeco bands. I saw all this great jazz and blues and zydeco growing up. My first concert was Paul Simon. I was two or three. I don't remember it, but Graceland's one of my favorite records.

What was the first record you owned?
It's sort of embarrassing, but was the first Jewel record. I went back and listened to again and I don't like it, but when I was about six or seven but I listened to it all the time.

Singer-songwriter are in your bones, then?
I guess so, right? My mom loved Elton John and Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon and the Beatles. We were always listening to that kind of music. So it seems like the most natural thing for me to do.

Did you rebel against it as a teenager, though?
For sure. In high school I was into pop-punk, like Good Charlotte and Sum 41 and the White Stripes. The White Stripes were cooler and I loved them. My mom wasn't into that at all. But I would say, "This is COOL music, mom!"

What was your crappiest day job?
The only day job I ever had was as a waitress. It was at a restaurant in New York. I was nice to people, but I couldn't get their order right. I yelled at my boss. After that experience, I decided I had to do music. I had no other choice.

Which bands do people say you sound like?
Oh, geez! I get so many different things. People say say Feist sometimes. I guess I sorta sound similar to her. I like her, so that's not an insult.

Who do you think you sound like?
I don't think I sound like anyone. I sound like myself!

What inspired your song "Hipster Bitch"?
That was a specific thing that happened. I'd been out the night before and I was not really dating this guy but I liked him and I went to this bar. I was on the Lower East Side and he was hanging out with this hipster lady. So I was telling my songwriting partner Rob, "this hipster bitch, and dah dah dah" and he said, "That's hiliarious, we should write a song about that." It was on some blog and someone said, "hipsters don't wear that!" and I was like, well, in 2006 , they did!

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