Lisa Matassa, a Long Island native, did not fall in love with country music here. Having spent a chunk of her childhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where farmland was plentiful but neighbors were scarce, she entertained herself by singing country songs to her teddy bears and dolls.
She brought her love of country back to Long Island when she was 14, but chose to pursue a career in dance music in the 80s under the name Lysa Lynn. She had two hit singles, “I’ve Got The Hots For You” and “Rock Me Baby,” but her love for country music never died. It wasn’t until five years ago, as a married mother of two, that she truly began pursuing a country music career. In 2011, she released her first EP, “Me Time,” and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. Known as Long Island’s first country music star, she now splits her time between Long Island and Nashville, where she writes most of her music.
Matassa likes the songs popular on mainstream country radio right now she said people in Nashville call them “Bro Country” songs, because they usually feature a male vocalist singing about, “the girl, in the blue jeans, under the moonlight on the bed of the truck . . . with the beer in her hand.” She prefers a style of country she created herself, called “Long Island country,” which she describes as the traditional country music sound, with lyrics that tug at her listeners’ hearts, and layers of New York rock & roll underneath.
Young audiences respond to this type of country as well as what’s played on Top 40 radio. Young women in particular like the song “Wouldn’t You Like to Know,” about the secrets women can share with their girlfriends, but would never tell a man. Matassa’s songs tell the traditional tales of country–fried heartbreak, but also pull from experiences in her own life. Her first Top 40 charted hit, “Somebody’s Baby,” is about the idea that wherever you are in life, somebody at home loves you.
Matassa would never follow the traditional “pop” route just to be heard on the radio. “ . . .If you tried following every trend and everything that radio is only going to play at this point, you’re just playing follow the leader,” she said. She’s happy traveling the U.S, sharing her unique Long Island country brand with as many people as possible. Matassa will come to home to Long Island for a show at the Pennysaver Amphitheater with Lee Brice and Frankie Ballard on September 10, and plans to release an album in the fall.