Larissa Ness


I remember a few years ago, when we first spoke with Kate Voegele before she was even drinking age at the Rock N Roll Hotel in DC. Just hanging out with her – listening to her warm up her voice, as well as her fingers on the ivories – we just knew she was going to be a big, big deal. Now, we’re not trying to brag (too much) but we were right on the money… and we plan on making a similar, soon-to-be true prediction again here: Larissa Ness is going to be taking over your pop music library.

Ness has it all – amazing training and skills both vocally and instrumentally, as well as the experience on the scene to know what it takes to go where she wants. She has many tunes to her credit, but the latest record, “Break the Mold” may best reflect her brand of “Electronic Dance Pop”. She says this album is “about me honestly being who I feel I truly am and writing about lyrics that I feel truly represent my energy and purpose in life… I often feel like, as a writer doing ‘pop,’ that you're under pressure to write about stupid stuff just because you think it might sell. You know the stuff that makes you roll your eyes if you turn on the radio? I don't want to write about anything I'm not comfortable singing or saying personally.”
Like we mentioned, Larissa has extensive musical training, so if you head off to a live show, don’t be surprised if you see her bust out her piano or flute playing skills. And don’t be surprised if you see some music videos popping out of Ness’ camp soon as well. There’s much more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.
XXQs: Larissa Ness (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others?

Larissa Ness (LS):Electronic Dance Pop; I'm a musician that writes all my own music and has an extensive classical background. I play, flute and piano on stage...All of which you don't see that often with Pop Music.

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

LN: I listened to what my parents listened to (piano based 70's rock, oldies, jazz, classical 80's country) I started listening to Pop as a teenager when I was taking dance classes...LOVED Gwen Stefani and No Doubt.

PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out in the music business and trying to make a name for yourself? Any “war stories” from those early years?

LN: Like many musicians start out...playing for tips at the local coffee shops and bars...not too fun when you have to lug a HUGE 88 key fully weighted keyboard around and your own PA just for tips. It was much cooler when I went to playing in house grand pianos at the more classy jazz clubs and piano bars. I was lucky because they would still let me play my own original music at the time. Probably my most memorable moment is when I was playing at a classy place and a dirty old rich man drops a $100 bill in my tip jar and then proceeds to invite me back to his room! Ew! I was so insulted.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

LN: Probably when the famous comedian Bill Engvall, accidentally scared me by tapping me on the shoulder, while I was in the middle of singing a song to tell me, "That's what you're meant to be doing. Keep it up."

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Larissa Ness performance?

LN: Fun Drama! The more theatrical side is coming out of my shows these days. Lights, costumes, dancers...and some piano and flute for added spice!

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

LN: I'm always in the zone, when I step on stage so I'm always thinking of the next thing I'm going to do pertaining to the show.

PEV: Any preshow rituals before you take the stage or do you just wing it?

LN: I'm usually in the zone- focusing. I always tell people not to ask me any important questions or ask me to make any important decisions that aren't show related. Besides I wouldn't remember anything about the conversation later anyway. It's like being the quarter back on the football team. No distractions before a game.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

LN: I love listening to other artists and getting inspiration with the producer I'm working with at the time. I love so many genres so I like to pick out a handful of artists' songs and open up a conversation with the producer on that. My lyrics are inspired by true events or thoughts or feelings that either I've personally had or seen a close friend experience. Sometime books that I read inspire certain points of views in some of my songs.

PEV: Tell us about your latest work- what can fans expect from this work? Why this title?

LN: My new album, "Break The Mold"  is about me honestly being who I feel I truly am and writing about lyrics that I feel truly represent my energy and purpose in life. I like to think of myself as a very positive person, so you'll hear that in my lyrics. Even if I've had a horrible experience, at the end I push myself and others to look at the bright side and take it as a learning experience if anything. I often feel like, as a writer doing "pop," that you're under pressure to write about stupid stuff just because you think it might sell. You know the stuff that makes you roll your eyes if you turn on the radio? I don't want to write about anything I'm not comfortable singing or saying personally.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

LN: No. But I don't ever sit down to write music or lyrics if I'm not in a moment of inspiration. If I'm not feeling it I walk away and just come back later. There's no sense in getting frustrated about it. I wouldn't call it writer's block. I'd call it needing some time away to go have some fun, hang out with friends, read a book, or listen to some new inspiring music. Creating music or art is a special moment that should be enjoyed and should get 100% of your full attention. So you just want to come back to it when you're ready.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Larissa Ness?

LN: I played Bach's Taccata and Fugue in d minor followed by Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire for a Rodeo Talent show when I was ten. OR I could tell you I used to sing old Oprey songs with my mom (Hank Williams and Patsy Cline). OR I could tell you I grew up in a tiny beach house (no air conditioning btw) with a huge grand piano in the center. The piano was about 1/8 the size of the whole house. You had to walk around it to go to my bedroom, or to the bathroom or the kitchen. Very small.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew you wanted one day for music was going to be a career for you?

LN: I always knew, I'd say. It was never a question for me, but I did have a strong love for Theatre. So when I went to college I had to ask myself, what is the one thing I couldn't see myself NOT doing. So I chose Music as my Major and Theatre as a Minor. Music has always been a part of my life. It moves people in ways that nothing else can...even if you don't speak the language, it's still it's own form of communication.

PEV: What one word best describes Larissa Ness?

LN: Well I think that should be answered by someone else. Because we always see ourselves as who we WANT to be rather than who other see us as being. BUT I'd like to say that the one word would be "Inspiration" or "Persistence" or "Determination" ...for never giving up on doing the one thing I love most.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

LN: The food and drinking- it's hard to resist the partying and eating horrible...but then again that's also the fun part! Experiencing new culture. Love and Hate relationship. 

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

LN: France and Scandinavia.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

LN: They think you're a big star...but you're just a normal person so it's kinda weird.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

LN: I like to enjoy the night life and try out new restaurants. Love working out and doing dance classes. I enjoy reading inspirational books (audio versions of course).

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

LN: Well I love "Sia" ...I think and would like to definitely hear more from her in the future.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

LN: Probably acting.

PEV: So, what is next for Larissa Ness?

LN: A new music video...I LOVE making music videos. It satisfies both my theatrical and musical desires.

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