Jill Sobule isn't just another singer-songwriter with catchy tunes and smart lyrics, she's one of the more insightful satirists of our age. Each of her fanciful songs captures an issue or irony, an emotion or epiphany that helps us understand what it's like to live now.

Why you should listen

Jill Sobule first found her place in music history with the controversial 1995 hit "I Kissed a Girl." The song's silly sweetness masked its significance: It broke new ground as the first Top 40 hit to deal with overtly gay themes.

This approach -- packaging hard-hitting social commentary in a wrapper of whimsy -- has defined Sobule's career. Her endearing story-songs veer from fanciful storytelling to forceful satire and back again, covering a wide range of political and social issues from climate change to prostitution; anorexia to anti-semitism. Her winning combination of memorable characters, clever lyrics and catchy tunes has inspired comparisons that range from Burt Bacharach to Gertrude Stein. It also makes her performances and recordings a delight.

Sobule's candy-coated commentary can be found on her Huffington Post blog, as well as in her steady stream of stand-out albums, including Jill Sobule (1995), Happy Town (1997), Pink Pearl (2000) and Underdog Victorious (2004). Lately, Sobule has performed regularly with comedian Julia Sweeney (the two met at TED2006). They put on the "Jill and Julia Show," an utterly endearing evening of stories and songs. She's also recording an album with the string quartet Ethel (another TED2006 match).

What others say

“Jill Sobule can claim her place among the stellar New York singer-songwriters of the last decade. Topical, funny and more than a little poignant ... grown-up music for an adolescent age.” — The New York Times

Jill Sobule’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Jill Sobule

Live from TED

4 chances to see TED speakers live, this week and next

March 17, 2009

TEDIndia’s Lakshmi Pratury will be interviewing two TED speakers next week in the Bay Area: + March 30, 2009, hear TED2009 speaker Nandan Nilekani, the founder of Infosys and the author of Imagining India, at the Crowne Plaza Cabana in Palo Alto, 6:30-8pm. Tickets: $15 members, $25 nonmembers. Premium tickets (includes reception, book and priority […]

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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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