Hoopla

For Rebecca Loebe, music won out over a law career

MICHAEL HOGAN PHOTO

Rebecca Loebe, who gained attention on the first season of “The Voice” television singing competition, is returning to Cedar Rapids for a May 17 concert at CSPS Hall.
MICHAEL HOGAN PHOTO Rebecca Loebe, who gained attention on the first season of “The Voice” television singing competition, is returning to Cedar Rapids for a May 17 concert at CSPS Hall.

Rebecca Loebe couldn’t help but mention that she was celebrating a significant anniversary.

“It is eight years to the day that I appeared on ‘The Voice,’” Loebe said by phone from her Austin, Texas, home. “That show changed everything for me.”

An alum of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, she earned notice in the first season of the popular television singing competition with a haunting, dramatic version of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.” (She lost to Devon Barley in the Battle rounds.)

“It was an amazing experience,” Loebe said. “It put me on the map.”

Music has been her obsession since she was a kid growing up in Georgia. The only other occupation she ever considered was law.

“I have a lot of attorneys in my family,” she said. “I thought about going down that path, but when I was a teenager, I met an entertainment lawyer who strongly advised me to be as creative as possible before studying law since your creativity is stripped away from you in law school. I decided to give music a shot.”

It’s been 18 years since she made that decision, and it looks like law school will have to wait. Loebe, 35, is an accomplished singer/songwriter.

“When I started at Berklee, I kind of knew this was going to be it for me,” she said. “I was just 17 when I started at Berklee and the average age of a Berklee student is 25. I soaked up as much knowledge as I could with engineering and production. I was compelled to make music.”

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Loebe, who will perform May 17 at the CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, has accomplished that by releasing five albums and two EPs. Her latest album, “Give Up Your Ghosts,” which was released in February, features clever folk rock. Her finest new songs have a message of empowerment. The catchy single “Growing Up” would make for a terrific Me Too anthem, since it’s about women’s equality.

The perky Virginia native is a staunch supporter of the Me Too Movement.

“It was important for ‘Growing Up’ to have a big hook,” she said. “There is an important message there. But I needed the hook, which was like peanut butter on a pill.

“I’m all for women to have not just equal rights, but to not be intimidated in the music industry,” she said. “There has definitely been an abuse of power — and it’s just awful and it has to end.”

Loebe, who crafts intelligent, moving folk, is looking forward to her second appearance in Cedar Rapids.

“I was only there (in 2017) when I was opening for my friend Ellis Paul,” she said. “I played a song I had just written called ‘Say So.’ The sound tech told me he loved the song and he downloaded it. It gave me a lot of confidence going into that show. Cedar Rapids has that welcoming feel, which reminds me of Austin.”

The capital of Texas inspires Loebe.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years and I’m always moved to write,” she said. “The camaraderie is second to none. Every Monday a group of songwriters and I have a potluck dinner. We play our new songs and give each other feedback. I love it. I found my life’s work. You can forget about law school. That life isn’t for me. It’s all about the songs.”

Get out!

WHAT: Rebecca Loebe Band

WHERE: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 8 p.m. May 17

TICKETS: $17 advance, $21 door, CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Rebeccaloebe.com

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