Exclusive: Upsahl talks touring, song inspiration and staying true to herself

Upsahl is a force to reckoned with, signed to Arista Records, she is an artist who musically is going from strength to strength and one whose EP, Hindsight 20:20 is on we cannot stop listening to!

We recently caught up with Upsahl while she was in London doing a gig at the O2 Islington, opening for the Drax Project, today she has realised an acoustic version of her hit Drugs.

1) How old were you when you wrote your first song and it sort of
clicked, that yes this is what I want to do?

So I was always writing songs growing up, just because music was the thing that I was always doing. But the songs were really bad, obviously and then the first song that I released was a song called Disturbance when I was 12 years old. I guess there was never really a moment where me wanting to do music just clicked, I was like this is what I want to do it was always like there was no question. It was just always the thing, the only thing I was good at, the only thing I had an
interest in so it was just always a big part of my life.

2) Your lyrics are always honest and relatable, is that something you
always try and do when writing, create something the listener can relate

Yeah, so the way I treat my writing sessions with other people is very much like therapy so however, I’m feeling that day or whatever I’m going through is what I write about. So my EP is very representative of my life in the past year and I hope that my lyrics and feelings relate to at
least one person, cause that’s really all that matters.

3) If you had to describe your musical sound to someone who has never
listened to you before, which track off your EP Hindsight 20/20 would
you tell them to listen to them?

Erm probably Drugs, because that song I’m most proud of. Kind of like my goal with my music is to make people feel really badass  like they’re a badass bitch so that song makes me feel that way so I
would hope it makes other people feel that way.

4) Weirdest place you’ve ever got inspiration for a song?
In the shower is where I come up with most of my ideas. In the morning before sessions whilst I’m getting ready I’ll always be singing a melody and that’s normally what I come into the session with.

5)Did you ever imagine you’d be in the UK performing shows when you
signed your record deal?
Erm no. I mean as an artist, all you can do is like, dream that one day you’ll get to tour the world and play music for people you’ve never met. The fact that I am here right now is so surreal and sometimes I have to personally check in with myself and realise that if you told me a year ago that I would be doing this interview right now and about to play a show in London, I’d be so ecstatic. I love it it’s awesome.

6) Had you ever visited the UK before you flew over to do your shows?
Yes. I was here last November, it was the first time I had ever travelled out of the country and I was doing it alone. I was so terrified and the day before I left I actually wrote the song Stressed which is on the EP. It’s very much how I treat it like therapy, I really do. I was telling the person I’m leaving tomorrow; I’ve never travelled alone, I’m so stressed and we wrote the song about it.

7)What venue would be your dream to headline at?
Obviously like Madison Square Garden in New York or something. But a venue I’ve been wanting to play forever is the Troubadour in LA. I got to play, I didn’t headline but I got to open up for Max Frost. So it was fun.

8) Do you find it hard not to get caught up with everything in the music
industry as it can be quite an intoxicating and distracting environment?
for some people and they kind of lose themselves, how do you stay true
to yourself and who you are as an artist?
Yeah I feel like it very easy especially like moving to LA and being so young and still trying to figure myself out, it’s super easy to get caught up in the bullshit of people, people being fake, who has the most clout. I definitely think it’s hard but I feel as an artist the most important thing for me is to stay true to myself and realise this stuff I might not like about myself could be what makes young girls like my music and look up to me. I think holding on to that is really important!

9) The best piece of advice you’ve been given either within the industry
or on a more personal level, that’s stuck with you?
Going off what I just said when I first met my publisher for the first time David Grey he told me “Now that you are just getting into all of this it’s going to be really easy to compare yourself to other people and how far ahead they are in their musical journey than you. The most important thing is just to compare yourself instead of to the other people, compare yourself to who you were a year ago. So that really stuck with me and I’ve just been trying to hold onto that this past year for sure.

10) What advice would you give anyone wanting to start writing and
I think just to go for it and not like, everyone’s is in a different place in their life journey and for some, it takes longer than others but if you like love what you are doing then, it shouldn’t matter like if anything else is going on. If you just get to play music, embrace it and do it and don’t let people tell you what to do. You’re the artist and you’re the reason people like you because of you – so just stick with that.

11) What’s next for you, after you finish your shows in the UK and for the
rest of the year?
I’ll be heading back to LA, hopefully writing more songs releasing more music and then we get to play Lollapalooza in Chicago and hopefully another tour this year.

Do you love the acoustic version of Drugs and are you as obsessed with Upsahl’s EP Hindsight 20:20 as much as us? Let us know @CelebMix!


Written by Kelly McFarland

Likes to post in black and white on Instagram. Avid Tea drinker, preferably Yorkshire Tea or Lipton Iced Tea and lover of Pop Culture. Contact: kelly@celebmix.com