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Art People: Lisa Palumbo | Singer/songwriter

  • Lisa Palumbo.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Lisa Palumbo.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Lisa Palumbo.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Lisa Palumbo.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Lisa Palumbo.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Gazette File Photo<br/>Lisa Palumbo

Lisa Palumbo wrote a song a couple of weeks ago. It’s called “Curie Me,” and it’s about tapping into her resilience as a woman.

“I was thinking about a way to gain strength,” Palumbo explained as she sat in her Florence home recently, strumming her guitar, about to sing the song in her clear soprano. “What if I could be as smart as Madame Curie? As smart as Sally Ride? Imagine being as cool as Tina Fey.”

Palumbo, of Florence, a full-time Northampton real estate agent and a lifelong musician, says the songs she writes are often inspired by events in her life or simply by what’s on her mind.

“Songwriting is a really cool way to transform feelings,” she said.” It’s something that I feel naturally inclined to do. It’s unlike anything else, really.”

Now 46, she wrote her first song at 18, and it happened by accident. She was practicing on the piano and a song just seemed to pop out.

“It wasn’t intentional,” she said. “I started doing a chord progression, I started singing over it, adding the lyrics. I said, ‘Wow, maybe this is something. Did I just write a song?’ ”

She ran to get a friend, a fellow musician who was practicing nearby, and played her composition. “Is this a song?” she asked him. “Yeah,” he assured her, “You just wrote a song.”

When the music’s “in her head,” she says, it comes out in a new song. These days, she performs and records what she writes with her band, a group of friends she met at local open mics within weeks of her move to the area from New York City in 1993.

“I’ve always written about whatever it is that moves me,” she said. “Songs come out for different reasons — strong feelings, sometimes a pre-existing idea.”

“The Car Song,” for example, is about being run down by an 18-wheeler on the highway.

“I wrote it in the car. ‘Don’t mess with me, 18-wheeler.’ I’m singing, and this 18-wheeler’s on my back.”

Another, “Song Rise,” which is on her last album, 2011’s “River,” is about her grandfather, who was nearing the end of his life at the age of 96.

“He was such a great, resilient spirit. I knew he was toward the end of his life. And I was feeling that intensity.”

But, she adds, she doesn’t control when inspiration will hit.

“I’m not always like this. These moments are like fun, musical gifts. It’s not like every day something’s happening to me and I’m singing about it,” she said. “I can’t just turn it on. I have to feel it inside me, a creative period coming on. Then I’m like, ‘I’ve got songs in me. I don’t know what they are but they’re there.’ I try to pay attention to those moments.”

— Kathleen Mellen

For information about Lisa Palumbo’s music, send an email to yolisarecords@gmail.com.

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