UPSAHL and Hoosh Talk Lollapalooza 2023 and Future Endeavors
Lollapalooza, Chicago’s biggest music festival, which engulfs the 319-acre Grant Park each August, brings the best names in music to the Midwest every year. This year, MP3 MAG had the opportunity to chat with two prominent musicians booked for the fest about their songwriting processes and Lolla experiences. Check out what UPSAHL and Hoosh had to say about their 2023 Lolla experience.
In 2019, alt-indie, edgy vocalist, Taylor Upsahl, known as UPSAHL, played her first Lollapalooza (and her first music festival), entrancing audiences from the BMI stage. Four years later, the “Drugs” singer returned to Lolla to play on one of the three main stages a few hours before Lana Del Rey’s headlining set.
“I’m so excited,” UPSAHL beamed. “So, getting to be back and play one of the main stages, I’m really excited.”
Her tantalizing performance included a sneak preview of a new song, “0 or 100,” dropping August 18, as a part of an ongoing project.
“It’s called ‘The Phoenix Tapes.’ It’s a mixtape, and I’ve been releasing it in doses throughout the year. Honestly, it started at the beginning of the year. I was feeling so good in the studio and just inspired and kind of not really fitting into a certain box or not really worrying about genre, and I ended up having a batch of songs that I just loved. I was like, I need to get these songs out stat,” she told MP3 MAG.
Lolla’s Bud Light Stage was the perfect place to debut the emotionally raw ballad, departing from UPSAHL’s usual high-energy, electric anthems.
“For ‘0 or 100,’ we were talking, I’m either a 0 or 100. I can’t find the middle. We were like, ‘oh, that’s the song,” UPSAHL recalled of the titling process. “I wanted to have a very 90s feel. We’re putting out volume three, which is the next two songs, on August 18. Side A is called ‘0 or 100,’ which might be my favorite song I’ve ever written. I’m really excited to put it out. And then the b side is a song called ‘FBL,’ Fucked By Life.”
On Lolla’s Astonishing Atmosphere
UPSAHL explained how the exceptional festival supports her creative expression to genre bend and blend. She related it to this “childish freedom,” where she explores ideas in the studio and sees what sticks.
Due to Lolla’s encouragement and the crowd’s open arms, she regarded her set as “the most excited I’ve been to play a show in a minute, just because it’s all my favorite songs and the most high energy ones, some new ones, some old ones, but it’s an emotional rollercoaster. That’s how I like to put it. But even with the more pop-leaning songs, it still feels like a rock show, which is really fun!”
Sudanese rapper Hoosh meshes honest, self-aware rap licks, backed by acoustic melodies to introduce fans to a distinctive sound.
“It was weird. I kind of just fell on it. I just listened to a lot of different genres of music, and when it came time to make music, I just tried my best not to think. And so, in me doing that, I just go with what I feel, and what comes naturally to me. That’s what I focused on,” Hoosh said, describing how he settled on his unique sound.
Hoosh delved into his songwriting methods and how daily activities like meditation and self-care contribute to his best work.
“Things like meditation, things like prayer, things like diving into how you’re nutritionally treating your body, your sleep, all those things that go into having a healthy mind and healthy spirit, are the most impactful things for your life as far as having a life with satisfaction,” Hoosh said. “The more I dive deeper into my music, the more it forces me to become a better person and figure out ways for me to feel better, think sharper, and move lighter, so it has become a consistent life journey of me figuring myself out. The music goes hand in hand.”
Hoosh showcased his talents to Lolla’s sundry crowd, performing two sets across two stages on the showery Saturday. He kicked off the day at the Coinbase stage at 12:15 p.m. for a 45-minute celebration. Four hours later, he entertained poncho-wearing fans at the Bud Light Backyard stage — a smaller, more intimate venue tucked in the nape of the woods.
“Oh my god, it was fucking incredible. It felt like a full circle moment in a way, because for the last year, I feel I’ve really leveled up my performances. I’ve also gotten a lot more bookings and dropped a lot of dope music, and I’ve learned so much,” Hoosh radiated. “So, in reaching this show, it exemplified all that I’ve learned, and all that I’ve been gracious enough to receive this year. All the blessings that I’ve had, all the dope ass people I got around with me, all put together in one big long show.”
Hoosh applauded the crowd, stating the vibe and “genuine energy” they put forth helped him gift a solid vocal performance ripe with excellent breath control and comfort. This set allowed him to “vibe out” with himself.
Lolla’s Laudable Energy
“I fucking love it. [There’s] something calming about being at Lolla. Ever since I got in the Lolla space, I just felt calmer energy, and the people who work at Lolla have been treating us really well. So everything is just dope here. Even the press people I’ve linked up with have been dope.
Aside from treating the attendees with two energy-riddled shows, Hoosh shared a set that inspired him to continue to up his game — J.I.D.. That set motivated Hoosh, especially since he had the opportunity to tour for a few days with the rapper earlier this year.
“I learned so much on that tour. It gave me a solid refresher on my performance and made me feel like I was coming back with a whole new landscape of how to approach things and how to give the best performance possible,” he shared.
What’s Next for the Artists?
As Lolla anticipates next year’s lineup, keep up with UPSAHL and Hoosh via social media and all streaming platforms. Both artists mentioned they have upcoming projects and sets they look forward to this year.