1 of 5 | Lisa Loeb's scripted, fiction podcast, "Power Trip," wraps its first season Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actress Lisa Loeb says she isn't surprised by the recent rise in popularity of scripted podcasts.
"I'm a big reader and audiobooks listener and podcast listener. I think that people love hearing stories, and a lot of us spend time commuting whether we're walking, taking subways, driving," Loeb told UPI in a recent phone interview.
"Certain stories you can really relate to. They have a human connection," she added.
"During [coronavirus pandemic] lockdown, there were some people looking for things to do and things to keep them engaged, and some of us had lots of things to keep us engaged that were anything but boring.
"But I think there is something quiet about that engaging moment when you are listening to something, especially when you are listening on your own. It feels like down time, but you're actually being entertained."
Podcast listeners also use their own imaginations to immerse themselves in the stories because they don't have any visual cues.
"If you had to think of it in advance, to know that you were going to use this other muscle [in their brain] to imagine things as you listen, it may sound a little bit stressful. But, in reality, I do think sometimes we do connect to things more when we are involved in the creative process," Loeb said.
The artist lends her voice to the mother of Jane (Tatiana Maslany) in Realm's scripted fiction podcast, Power Trip.
Jane is chronically ill until a new kidney she obtained through the black market imbues her with the superpowers, including the ability to make people do what she wants them to do.
The dark comedy wraps up its first season Thursday. Its voice cast also includes Brendan Hines, Courtney Lin, Zeke Alton and Keylor Leigh.
"I couldn't believe what a great cast they had put together," Loeb said. "I also really liked the story. I loved that it was fantasy, but based in reality. I also loved that I got to play a mom. I loved that I got to act in a role that I could really relate to as a mom."
Loeb described her character as caring and "sometimes overbearing."
"But I think she is overbearing because she doesn't always feel like she is being heard. I might be able to relate to that," quipped the real-life parent of two young daughters.
"It's the thing where you say something to your kid -- or anyone around you -- and you don't get acknowledgement or confirmation, so you find yourself repeating yourself a lot."
Jane's outrageous behavior often puts Loeb's character through the emotional ringer.
"But she is afraid to get too critical of Jane because Jane might push her away altogether," Loeb said.
"No matter what her relationship is with her daughter, she wants Jane to stay alive and stay well. She is understandably worried. She would like Jane to be independent, but she knows Jane is not super-responsible or mature."
Sadly, Loeb never actually got to work face-to-face on Power Trip with She-Hulk and Orphan Black actress Maslany.
"I wish I could say it was so amazing spending so much time with her, but the reality of how we do the recording is we each record on our own, and then the pieces get put together later," Loeb said.
"Unfortunately I wasn't able to work with her directly, but through the magic of editing, I was able to work with her and I think our voices and our relationship came out really well."
The artist said she enjoyed working on a project penned by women writers Mary Hamilton and Cara Horner for a platform that was founded by a female, Molly Barton.
"I don't want to be stereotypical, but women are very detail-oriented and able to get a lot of the different nuances. The process was very enjoyable, as well as the final product," Loeb said.
"The attention to detail makes a better podcast. I think people appreciate it. You might not notice what's happening to make it better, but I think that attention to detail makes it better. Women can also be straightforward in ways men might not be. I appreciated that, as well as their kindness to be straightforward, which is really important in this process."
The fact that the characters were ferociously funny, as well as vulnerable, flawed and strong makes for a fascinating listen.
"We care about them as listeners," Loeb said of the characters.
"I play a mom, which is a very mundane, regular character, but I love when humorous things happen in regular conversations," she said. "I felt like they were able to capture people's regular relationships in the midst of all the otherworldly things happening."
Nearly 30 years after her song "Stay (I Missed You)" became a massive hit as the theme song for the romantic comedy, Reality Bites, Loeb still loves telling stories in all sorts of ways.
She performs concerts, hosts a radio show, guest stars on TV shows like A.P. Bio, Fuller House and Orange is the New Black, lends her voice to animated characters and has released numerous children's records.
"The thing that always lights the fire under me is that connection to people -- that is often people telling me their stories and me telling them my stories and that connection that you have in conversation, which often happens during making these products," Loeb said, noting she is happy to talk to people on airplanes, those working on television show sets and the parents of her kids' friends.
"There's always something else to say or do."