Rebecca Loebe is a simple girl at heart. She never expected to perform on national television in front of 12 million people, while she was in college, she never even expected to be a performer. But, as we all know, things change and we are able to prioritize what we want to accomplish and that is exactly what Loebe is in the midst of achieving.
After turning 17-years-old, the folksy Loebe moved from her childhood home in Atlanta up to Boston and enrolled at Berklee College of Music to study, and eventually earn a degree in, music production and engineering. Although she had been writing music and performing since she was in middle school, she was more comfortable behind the boards in the studio and never seriously considered getting in front of the microphone. However, that all changed after a conversation with one of her professors.
“I was a very precocious teenager and I knew I wanted to be a musician professionally and I didn’t really know what that meant, but I was trying to figure it out,” Loebe said while discussing how she switched gears from engineering and recording the music of others to creating her own, “I wrote songs and I played guitar and I knew that I wanted to do more of that, but I felt that it would be the smart thing to go to college to learn something else about the music industry.”
“I got it in my head that I needed to learn what all of the knobs did in order to retain control of my career as an aspiring rock star,” Loebe continued while noting that after enrolling at Berklee, she realized that the reasons she got into engineering were completely wrong and warped, “I had this fear that if I didn’t learn how all of the buttons in a recording studio worked, some evil producer somewhere might manipulate my music. Now bear in mind, I was 16 years old,” she said laughing.
Even though Loebe made up her mind and concluded that studio engineering wasn’t necessarily for her, she loved what she was learning in and out of the classroom and continued to devote all of her focus and attention the recording process, almost completely abandoning the singer-songwriter aspects of herself.
“A lot of my classmates had no idea that I even played music,” Loebe said, “But I wasn’t out there performing all of the time and auditioning for shows, I was really buried in the studio reading manuals. Then, right when I was getting close to graduating, I had this one teacher who had always known that I was a singer-songwriter and he and I were talking about my plans and he told me that he thought I’d be so much happier doing something more creative and when he said that it was an epiphany, it was so profound, the skies parted and I realized that I would indeed be happier making music.”
And it was this life-altering decision that lead Loebe to Los Angeles and eventually landed her in front of Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and the other coaches as a contestant on the first season of “The Voice.” Although, again initially hesitant and with a low-bar set for herself, Loebe gave it a go after receiving a call to audition.
“In a word it was overwhelming, it was surreal, it was exciting and it was a really special time,” Loebe said laughing while discussing her stint on the hit show, “I never would have thought that I would end up on a show like that.I sort of envision myself as a touring folk-singer and I figured that they don’t put folk-singers on national network reality television competition shows and it didn’t really seem like my sort of thing, but I like to say ‘yes’ to stuff so I went, figuring that, best case scenario, I might make friends with some of the interns or PAs and give them my CD and someday they might put one of my songs in a movie or something, but I really felt like there was no chance I would end up on the show”
“I think I was so confident that there was no way I would get on the show that when I walked in to audition it actually came through as actual confidence because I was just really relaxed and having a good time singing my songs. I think that if I had known what a big deal the show was going to be, I probably would have been so nervous that I wouldn’t have gotten through the first round of auditions.”
Thanks to her experience on the show, and her No. 7 iTunes US Alternative Song charting cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” she is able to tour the country, on her own, doing exactly what she set out to do when she was a middle schooler performing at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Ga. and that’s precisely what she’ll be doing on Friday in State College.
“My goals have become a lot simpler, I just want to make a comfortable living performing music that I believe in for people who connect with what I do,” Loebe said, “And that’s my whole mission statement and if that means I play 50 shows a year or 200 shows a year for 50 people or 2,000 people per night, I don’t care, I just want to make that connection in a meaningful way.”