With millions of streams on her releases, rising star UPSAHL is breaking out in 2021 with a new debut album in October and a new tour with Olivia O’Brien.
Tell us about your latest single ‘Melatonin’, how was it working on it, and what is the story behind it?
I wrote Melatonin while I was going through a pretty shitty breakup last year. It was during a time where I wasn’t really sleeping, and I felt like I couldn’t escape my problems, even in my dreams. Even though the concept is lowkey kind of depressing, we had so much fun the day we wrote it, so it still has an upbeat, energy feel to it. I was staying in an AirBnb doing a writing camp with my crew, and the house had a bunch of rad books that we were looking through. We found something that said, “I had too much to dream last night,” and we all just kind of looked at each other and were like, “cool, that’s the song we’re making today.”
Ever since you were a child you were surrounded by a musical environment in your home, your father is a well-known and respected artist and musician, can it be said that your father was the factor influencing your development and musical style.
100%. I feel so lucky to have grown up in a musical household. We’ve had a band room in my living room since I was born, so I had access to so many different instruments. My dad started teaching me guitar and my grandma starting teaching me piano when I was 5, and I felt so creatively supported by both of my parents. In fact, they were the ones who said “fuck college, we think you should pursue music” when I was 18.
Has COVID changed you as a musician or how you approach your creative process? Have you learned anything new about yourself during quarantine?
YES. Now that we’re back to in person sessions, I look back on the Zoom session world and think, “how tf did I do these everyday?” I don’t miss it, but I am so grateful that I had to learn how to produce vocals, make my own shitty demos, and be self sufficient during COVID. It’s made me more involved in the production of my songs and the process of getting them over the finish line.
Tell us what is it that people do not know about you?
I think as an artist, we make it so that people who listen to our music feel like they know us, so I sort of try to leave everything on the table when it comes to my songwriting. There isn’t much people don’t know because odds are, I’ve written a song about it lol. To answer your question though – I guess because of social media, people think everyone is glammed up and dressed up 24/7, but I am in sweatpants looking like shit, sitting in the studio 80% of the time haha.
In your songs, you talk openly about sex, human relationships, loneliness, and the difficulty in the music industry. Do you find answers to questions that bother you as a person and as an artist through poetry and writing?
Definitely. When I’m feeling some type of way, I normally just sit down and write a song about it. It kind of feels like I’m processing all of the emotions in real-time, so by the end of the song, I feel so much clarity on the situation.
Some claim that COVID has given other proportions about our lives, has the plague affected you in terms of creativity? Did you find yourself more time for writing and creating?
Like a lot of people, I feel like I am a completely different person than I was before COVID. I’ve dealt with so many things in my personal life so that I was able to have more energy to give to music. I’m in a place now where I’m diving deeeep into my creativity to make my debut album, and it feels good.
Can you share any upcoming plans with us?
My debut album!!! We’ve been working on it for the past year. It’s dropping in October. I’m the most excited I’ve ever been about music because of this album. I also can’t wait to get back on tour! I’m going out with Olivia O’Brien in the US in the Fall, then my own show in London in October, followed by more shows in the US in January.
You choose at some point in your life not to go on to college but to move to LA. Did moving to the big city alone, to the heart of the music industry shape you and change you as a professional artist?
I hated LA for the first year I was here because I was literally 19 and had no clue what the fuck I was doing. It was such a humbling experience for me when I realized that everyone who lives here is really just chasing their dreams, and everyone is at a different point in that journey. Once I realized that, I found some of my best friends, fell in love with LA, and just focused on how to make the best music I could.
You and many of the artists share their daily lives on social media, how important is exposure and connection to the audience for you?
I’m so grateful to live in a time where we have a way to connect with people from all over the world at any given time. As an artist, I love that I get to feel like I’m talking to my fans all day. Since COVID, we had to hang on to any human connection that we could find, and it’s made my relationship with my fans stronger for sure. Can’t wait to actually meet everyone on tour and raaage.
From all the singles you’ve released so far, which one still makes you excited every time you hear it?
One of my favorite songs ever isn’t out yet, but out of the ones I’ve dropped, People I Don’t Like just had an energy about it that feels so good. I think it’s the mixture of the bass and the four to the floor kick drum that just makes me feel like a badass every time I play it.