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UPSAHL talks new music, biggest hits, Lollapalooza set

todayAugust 7, 2023

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Alternative artist UPSAHL performed at 1:15 p.m. Sunday at the Bud Light stage at Lollapalooza. Her 45 minute energetic set showcased her talent both as a performer and a musician. 

She sat down with The Daily Illini Saturday afternoon to discuss her Lollapalooza set, her journey into becoming a musician and the stories behind some of her biggest hits. 

UPSAHL, real name Taylor Cameron Upsahl, said she was very excited to play her Lollapalooza set.

“I got to play Lolla in 2019 on the BMI stage, and it was my first time ever playing a music festival,” Upsahl said. “I was like, ‘This is the best day of my life.’ So now, a few years later…I’m really excited.” 

Upsahl said she felt like this was the most high-energy set she’s done in a while. 

“A lot of the songs that are older are more upbeat and dancey, and the newer ones are just exciting for me to play ‘cause they’re new to me,” Upsahl said. 

She said her set is an emotional rollercoaster and she has a couple songs that she’s extra excited to perform. 

“I feel like it changes depending on the city or what the vibe is,” Upsahl said. “I’m really excited to play an unreleased song called ‘0 to 100’ tomorrow that comes out in a couple weeks. It’s like, my favorite song ever.”

During her set, Upsahl said “O to 100” will be released on Aug. 18. Upsahl said that tomorrow’s set will be the live debut of the new track and that she’s also very excited to play “Lunatic,” a song that she said was “rage city” when performed live.

Upsahl said her journey with music began when she was a child because her father was in punk bands. 

“Watching him do his thing, I was like, ‘That’s f—ing sick,” Upsahl said. “I want to do that.” 

Upsahl said she naturally gravitated towards the music industry and that she was fortunate enough to have instruments in the house to help her grow as a musician.

“There was never really another option for me, career-wise,” Upsahl said. “Music was the bigg

UPSAHL visits the press lounge during a rainy afternoon on Saturday. (James Hoeck )

est part of my identity. So when I graduated high school, I was like, ‘Well, I guess that’s what we’re doing.” 

Upsahl said she played piano, guitar and bass growing up.

She said her stage name “UPSAHL” is a tribute to her family.

“I tried finding so many other random things and nothing felt right,” Upsahl said. “Going by my family (name) feels like an ode to them being so supportive.” 

Upsahl said her mega-hit “Drugs,” which has amassed over 120 million streams on Spotify, came about when she had just moved to Los Angeles. 

“I hated L.A. for the first two years living there, and I was like ‘This is the worst place’ to everyone’s face,” Upsahl said. “Turns out, I was just going to the wrong f—ing parties.”

Upsahl said she was complaining about L.A. in one of her studio sessions, and her friend Sean Kennedy made a joke about only attending parties for the drugs. 

“We were like, ‘I think we’re writing a song called drugs today,’” Upsahl said. “It feels like we blacked out and then the song existed.” 

She said she was scared to put the track out, but that she sent it to loved ones and they reassured her. 

“(The song) didn’t really do much until two years later, when TikTok picked it up,” Upsahl said. “It’s cool because I always had a special feeling about the song.” 

Upsahl also shared the story behind another large hit, “People I Don’t Like.” 

She said that during Grammy Week — the week before the Grammys where a large number of parties take place — she would see the same people at every party. She said people would reintroduce themselves like they hadn’t met an hour ago at a previous party. 

Upsahl said that in a studio session, she was complaining about this, yet joked that she knew she was part of the problem. 

“It was honestly just making fun of myself,” Upsahl said. 

Upsahl said she’s currently working on a project called The Phoenix Tapes that she’s been putting out throughout the year in volumes.

“I wanted it all to feel very genre-less,” Upsahl said. “Very freeing. Which is like how I felt when I started making music as a kid back in Phoenix, and that’s why it’s called that. Each song feels like it’s in a completely different world.” 

Upsahl said she was planning on putting out five volumes total, and four are out right now. 

She said that there’s a pattern present in her song creation process.

“I’ll go into a session and just start complaining, like, treating it like a bunch of therapy sessions,” Upsahl said. 

Upsahl said that they then usually get an instrumental going. 

“Then we just kind of talk and shoot the s—,” Upsahl said. “Somewhere along the lines, someone will accidentally say the song title and we’re like ‘Wait, that’s it.’ And we write from there.”

Upsahl said her musical inspirations are No Doubt, Outcast and Weezer. 

Upsahl said that a lot of her friends from Los Angeles came to Lollapalooza to see her set and that they’re going to catch other sets at the festival.

She said she’s excited to see Sylvan Esso and Alex G perform at Lollapalooza.

Upsahl said that if she could collaborate with any artist, it would be Doja Cat. 

She also said she’s touring a lot for the rest of the year, including opening for Tove Lo for two weeks. 

 

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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todayAugust 7, 2023

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