UPSAHL: “I’ve just been loving these headlining shows!” (5/3 at The Foundry)

“Honestly, just the past year of touring has been a literal dream come true…  I’m down to live out of a suitcase for the rest of my life,” says...

“Honestly, just the past year of touring has been a literal dream come true…  I’m down to live out of a suitcase for the rest of my life,” says UPSAHL.  I first met the emerging alt-pop star – who I’m chatting with over the phone from the studio – in November of 2021, just after the release of her debut LP (Lady Jesus) and just prior to playing a show at Union Transfer, while on tour as immediate support for Olivia O’BrienShortly after, she embarked on a headlining run that would have her at The Foundry last January for one of the best live shows the city saw all year.

UPSAHL spent much of the past year on the road, but she also released a handful of singles, in addition to an astrology-themed EP (Sagittarius), and even found herself on the cover of Spin just last month!  “It was insane.  It all happened so quickly and so last-minute that it wasn’t until I was on set that I was like, ‘Holy Fuck!’  I mean, I grew up idolizing people on the cover of Spin,” she tells me of being selected as the cover star for the classic music publication.  The feature covers the 24-year-old singer/songwriter’s time growing up in Phoenix with parents who actually pushed her to pursue her music, her move to LA half a decade ago, and her collaborations with the likes of Dua Lipa, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and OutKast’s Big Boi.

This May UPSAHL will be back in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on her newly-extended North American This Is Still My First Headline Tour, which will have her returning to The Foundry at The Fillmore on Wednesday, May 3rd.  “I’m just excited for these upcoming shows in May.  I’ve just been loving these headlining shows!” she tells me, but does note that we really made an impression on her last January, and she’s anxiously awaiting her return to the 215: “Dude, I’m so fuckin’ excited!  The Foundry’s sick!”

UPSAHL’s latest single, “Into My Body,” first dropped last October, before going on to be included on Sagittarius, and during our chat she tells me that the song was largely inspired by all of her recent time on the road: “I wrote that right as I was getting back from tour.  It all revolves around tour, this past year [laughs].  It was the first time I had let my brain settle in a while.”  And apparently the song’s title and chorus came about when she was just shooting the shit with her collaborators: “I’d said, when I was in the studio with my producers, ‘I just wanna get back into my body.’”

Accompanying “Into My Body” are three music videos: the original, a rendition of the song “Live at The Roxy,” and a final official video for “Into My Body [SPED-UP].”  And while UPSAHL is only in her mid-twenties (seemingly too young to remember the golden age of MTV), she tells me she actually loves the art of the music video and definitely has fond memories of watching videos as a youngster: “Just as a fan of art and music, I live for a good music video!  It takes me back to my childhood…  When a video can elevate a song, that’s the most magical thing ever!”

At the time of our chat last week, UPSAHL was currently putting together the live show for her upcoming dates, which she describes as, “High energy!”  She also wants to let fans who came out last year know that her show next month will be something totally new: “With the last tour, it was more or less the same show, or the same order, and I wanted to make sure this was completely different.”  And, despite her newfound status as a Spin cover star, she tells me that she still enjoys playing relatively intimate settings whenever she can: “I love clubs, like 200-300-cap, packed in, sweaty, dancing.  That’s my favorite way to play.  That’s when I feel most connected to the crowd.”

Unlike the icy January Saturday of UPSAHL’s last trip to The Foundry, which likely required at least a little bit of layering, her upcoming Spring date will hopefully provide an opportunity for fans to get a bit more creative and uninhibited with the fashions they bring to the show, which the musician tells me she totally appreciates: “I love a good red outfit.  I always love when I see people in red, and we get to match!”  But, while I gently attempt to prod her into giving some respectful advice for outfits she might especially appreciate seeing, she tells me that her concerts are really about the audience experiencing it however they would feel best: “This is the time to escape whatever the fuck else is going on in your life.  Just rage and have a good time!  Just wear whatever the fuck you want to wear!”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.