Photo by Sarah Pardini

Chatting by phone somewhere in Texas, en route to a show on her current headlining tour of North America, Upsahl offered a public service announcement for anyone coming to her Oct. 10 concert at Subterranean in Chicago.

“Anyone coming to the show, be ready to rage. It’s gonna be a good time,” she said.

If you were lucky enough to see the pop performer open for K.Flay earlier this year you already know that Upsahl is a bewitching artist with a repertoire that includes such singles as “IDFWFEELINGS,” “Douchebag,” and “Lady Jesus,” the title track of her 2021 album. Since her last Chicago stop, she has even more music to share as she is currently putting the finishing touches on a new EP that will be released in the coming months.

“I’m definitely playing my new song ‘Antsy’ in the set and my song ‘Into My Body’ – which is not out yet – I’ve been playing every night, so everyone who comes to the show gets to see and hear another new song which is fun. Definitely for my tour in November, we’ll be playing some more unreleased stuff. It’s fun for me too because I kind of get to test the waters with my fans before anyone else when it comes to unreleased music. It’s cool,” said Upsahl.

Another bonus of testing the waters of new material with fans is that Upsahl is able to bring the vibe of her crowds into the EP itself as she continues to work on the tracks.

“I feel like when I’m on the road I’m in such a different head space. I look at my music a lot differently so it’s been a cool fresh new perspective for me while doing the final stages of the EP for sure,” she said adding, “When you’re playing songs live you can kind of study when the crowd gains energy, when the crowd loses energy, and take that information into your songwriting too.”

Along with writing her own songs, Upsahl has co-written music for several artists. She recently worked with a few frequent collaborators to “write a creepy fun sounding song” that became Bella Poarch’s new single “Villain” and, previously, she was credited as co-writer of Dua Lipa’s “Good in Bed.”

“The way I got into writing for other people was by just writing for myself all the time. Obviously when you’re writing for yourself all day every day you have hundreds of songs,” explained Upsahl. “There was this Dropbox folder full of unreleased music and my publisher started sending it around. Then one day I got an email that I thought was a joke saying that Dua Lipa wanted to cut one of my songs. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll believe it when I see it.’ And when that actually happened, it was like, ‘Oh, I can write for other people like this.’ That opened the door for me to co-write for other artists.”

Whether writing for herself or other artists, Upsahl does not restrict herself to any given genre or label. One of the reasons why her songs are so uniquely appealing is her vast range.

She said, “This summer when I dove into writing, I let myself get out of the box that everyone tries to put themselves in as an artist and do whatever I want. If I wanted to make a dance record, I was going to make a dance record. Or [if I wanted to make] a ballad, I was going to make ‘Antsy.’ It’s been a cool summer for me of trying a bunch of different sounds and not really giving myself any rules.”

Right now, Upsahl is finding inspiration in reconnecting with old fans and meeting some new ones for the very first time.

“It’s been amazing. I feel like we’re all still so happy to be back at live shows coming out of Covid. Being in the same room with so many people is just such a magical thing,” she said. “For me it’s been cool, especially on this headlining tour so far. I feel like I gained new fans during Covid but I had no way of knowing if this was actually going to translate into people in a room at a show. And now getting to meet all these people and put a face to a name is just insane. It’s really fun to do the meet-and-greets before hand too to see old faces and new faces and bring that energy to the actual show. It’s been awesome.”

Feel the amazing energy for yourself by seeing Upsahl perform at Subterranean in Chicago on Oct. 10. Click here to learn more about the show and head over to Upsahl.com to pick-up tickets to future tour dates and find more information.

Laurie Fanelli

Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and...