A native of Surrey, BC, Lisa Brokop was born in 1973 into a musically gifted family, and was performing on stage with her mother by the time she was seven. Even at this early age she was heavily being influenced by traditional country, as well as what was getting airplay at the time. She took guitar and vocal lessons, and by 12 she was usually spending her time sitting in bands throughout Vancouver, and by 15 was on the road, playing around the West Coast.
She was still in high school when she released her debut single, “Daddy, Sing To Me” in late 1990. When it appeared on the top 10 nationwide, execs at Libre Records rushed her back to the studio to finish up a full album with producer Peter McCann. MY LOVE was in the stores the following summer, only weeks after she’d turned 18 and graduated. “Old Mister Moon,” “Time to Come Back Home,” the title track, and “Country Girl” all got chart action.
She moved to Nashville to fast-track her career, and began playing the many local clubs. She was seen by producers at The Nashville Network, who put the video for her single “Time To Come Back Home” into rotation. This led to a couple of appearances on The Ralph Emery Show (the Oprah Winfrey of country music TV), which in turn helped ink her a deal with Patriot Records, one of Liberty’s subsidiaries.
She took a break from working with different songwriters for the project when she landed the starring role in the film, “The Harmony Cats.” Filmed in Vancouver and co-starring Jim Byrnes and Hoyt Axton, she simply acted out her real life story – an aspiring singer with visions of stardom who leaves home for the bright lights of Nashville. She contributed to the movie’s soundtrack, and although it went nowhere on the charts, she released her cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” as a single. Her stock was rising, and she received a pair of Juno nominations in ’93 – for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year, and Country Female Vocalist of the Year.
Her follow-up album finally came in the fall of ’94 with EVERY LITTLE GIRL’S DREAM. Produced by Jerry Crutchfield, it became her first gold album in Canada (50,000 units), on the backs of the radio and CMT smash hits, “Take That” and “Give Me A Ring Sometimes,” which the CRTC had decided didn’t meet CanCon requirements. Both songs peaked in the top 20 in Canada, and reached the low 50s in the US. Brokop relied on some of Music City’s finest for the songwriting, including the third single, “Who Needs You?” from Skip Ewing and Mickey Cates, as well as the cover of Conway Twitty’s “One Of Those Nights,” which also broke the top 20 at home. She also received a nomination at the 1995 Academy of Country Music Awards, but lost to Chely Wright.
Crutchfield returned as producer for her self-titled album in early ’96, along with Josh Leo. It was her first offering for her new label, having signed with Capitol after Patriot closed its doors. The record produced three singles that were all received well – “She Can’t Save Him, “Before He Kissed Me,” and “West of Crazy,” although none of them dented the top 40 at home or charted south of the border. Outside writers again made up the talent pool, and Bob Regan’s “She Can’t Save Him” was also covered by Reba McEntire as a duet with Trisha Yearwood a decade later. Disappointed in sales, Brokop was feeling burned out, and deciding a change of pace was in order, left Capitol to focus on her songwriting, something her labels to this point hadn’t encouraged.
She signed a new deal with Columbia’s Nashville division, resulting in 1998’s WHEN YOU GET TO BE YOU. Produced by Dan Huff and Paul Worley, it predominantly featured Brokop penning songs with studio writers. She returned to the Canadian top 20 with “How Do I Let Go,” which also received a nomination for song of the year at the CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Association). Five more singles followed, including her highest ever charting song, “Better Off Broken” (#8), “What’s Not To Love,” the title track, “Ain’t Enough Roses,” and “Cool Summer Night.” The album was scheduled for an American release, but following the poor showing from the first two singles, label execs nixxed the idea, leading Brokop to sever ties with Columbia.
She decided to take a more hands-on approach to her career, and set up her own label, Cosmo Records. She’d picked up another pair of CCMAs, but after coming up short in the female country category for the fourth straight time at the Junos, she decided to produce her next project herself, along with Paul Leim and Tom McKillip. UNDENIABLE was in the stores that summer, and featured the top 40 single, “Keep Mom and Dad In Love,” a duet with Hal Ketchum. “Something Undeniable” and “I’d Like To See You Try” in many ways helped revitalize her career, winning her three more CCMAs over the next couple of years.
She took a couple of years off while re-evaluating her career, and still looking for the ever-elusive American success, she signed with Asylum Records’ Curb label. But reps were less than happy when the single, “Wildflower” failed to chart. It preceded the 2005 album, HEY, DO YOU KNOW ME, which wasn’t released Stateside, despite the critics embracing what they called her most personal album to date, with tracks like “Try Me Again Around Midnight,” “What’d I Miss,” and the tender “Let Me Love Again.”
That same year, she was also featured doing a duet with Jeff Carson, performing “God Save The World” on his self-titled debut solo album. But frustrated once again by a lack of support, Brokop left Asylum after releasing the non-album single, “Big Picture.” In ’06, she was also shunned by the Junos once again, when the album was up for country recording of the year, but didn’t win.
After another lengthy hiatus, which included marrying producer Paul Jefferson (which was chronicled for television as a CMT documentary called “Our Song”), she signed with independent Ellbea Records while working on a new project. Produced by Jefferson, BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY was released in August, 2008. It again mostly featured songs she’d co-written, mostly with Fred Wilhelm, and also included the singles, “Band In The Window” (recorded by Pam Tillis a year earlier) and the top 40 Canadian hit, “Shackin’ Up.” Other noteable tracks included “Rapunzel,” “30 Shades of Blue,” and “I Can’t,” the only song Brokop didn’t have a hand in writing.
She and her husband formed a duo they simply dubbed The Jeffersons in 2010, and released their self-titled debut album in 2011. It spawned three singles – “Find The Sun,” “Crazy On Me,” and a cover of The Wallflowers’ “One Headlight.”