Her high school graduation was fast approaching when Taylor Upsahl’s parents called a family meeting. The Arizonans planned to broach the same subject matter raised by many parents with teens of a certain age: the future, and what UPSAHL should be doing in it. “So,” they began, cautious. “We don’t think you should go to college. We think you should move to LA to pursue music.”

It’s an anecdote that serves as testament to the now LA-based UPSAHL’s unconventional upbringing. With a punk band-frontman for a father, five-year-old UPSAHL digested her morning cereal before an endless rotation of indie-rock instrumentalists rolling off her living room couch and back on the road. By age 10, UPSAHL had undergone half a decade of guitar and piano lessons under the tutelage of her father and band instructing-grandmother when transferred to Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix. The next seven years would see her balance academics with choir competitions, cello, violin, among the “coolest community of creatives.”

“Music was the only thing I was good at and the only thing I enjoyed,” the now-22-year-old says. “In high school I would play shows every weekend at some of my favorite Phoenix venues. After graduation it was like, Okay I’m doing this.”

While UPSAHL inked both publishing and record deals within a year of making her way to the West Coast — she was the first artist to sign with the relaunched Arista Records — life in Los Angeles proved tough. The culture was competitive, and climbing seemed to be a condition of being ‘seen.’

UPSAHL channeled her discontent into her debut EP Hindsight 20/20, emerging with a slew of cult classics to feed her rapidly-growing fanbase. Acerbically unraveling LA’s social dynamics on electro pop-bop “Drugs,” she would later sound-track millions of TikTok videos, reaching #1 on the TikTok Sound Trends chart. “When I started to fall in love with LA, I really began to figure out who I was as a person and an artist,” she reveals. “For the first year I struggled, then I realized it’s the most inspiring place to be.”

Just as she was finding her feet, 2020 forced UPSAHL to return to her roots. Mandatory lockdown hit while she was on tour, and UPSAHL figured she’d weather the storm from Phoenix. Many months and a major breakup later, UPSAHL had conceived a sophomore EP from her childhood bedroom — and had enough left over to lay the foundation for her debut album. The world was “falling apart” when she birthed Young Life Crisis, and so, UPSAHL felt, was she. “I just wrote and wrote and wrote so many songs as I processed these emotional stages of getting over someone: sadness, anger, anxiety, manic — it’s a roller coaster. At the end, it felt like a rebirth.”

Her aptly-titled debut album, Lady Jesus — released October 2021 — reflects that roller coaster with unapologetic irreverence. First single “Douchebag” anthemically takes aim at harmful female stereotypes, sabering toxic masculinity in one fell swoop, while the follow-up, electric ballad “Melatonin,” drags you to the dancefloor to forget your ‘hangxiety.’

The project traverses pop-punk, rock and dance with bass-driven melodies seasoned with nostalgia, and somehow still emerges a cohesive portrait of 20-something disappointment and derision. Lady Jesus is Taylor’s saving grace, and UPSAHL’s resurrection. "Lady Jesus is an energy — a way of life,” says UPSAHL. “Lady Jesus is unbothered, fiercely independent, and generally, a badass. Lady Jesus can be dressed to the nines, the life of the party, or can be chilling in sweatpants, hanging with friends. Lady Jesus can be anybody."

October couldn’t come soon enough. Over the past two years, UPSAHL’s steady climb has built up a voracious appetite among fans for a full-length debut. Taste-making supremes NYLON and NME declared UPSAHL “pop-rockstar” material and YouTube featured her as an ‘Artist on the Rise.’ Young Life Crisis became one of Billboard’s top 25 pop albums of 2020, and UPSAHL would also lend her songwriting finesse to some of the genre’s favorites, co-penning “Good in Bed” for Dua Lipa’s global hit album Future Nostalgia, Madison Beer’s “BOYSHIT” and Mike Shinoda’s runaway hit “Happy Endings.” Then there was her star-making performance on the Lollapalooza stage. “I feel like I have finally nailed what my sound is. It all feels really consistent to me — I feel so secure in it.”

While UPSAHL doesn’t need to demonstrate her musical prowess in-person to prove her industry staying-power, it’s particularly important that her music translates live. It’s by oscillating between instruments and delivering faultless vocals during shows that UPSAHL expresses gratitude for her listeners’ dedication. She may not know what her future holds, but fans will always be UPSAHL’s family.

“You can have the best team in the world, but if you don’t have fans, you don’t have a career,” she says. “If I’m making music and 10 people listen to it, that's enough for me.”

Upcoming Shows


Feb
25
th
First Avenue
Feb
25
th
First Avenue

K.Flay

The Inside Voices Outside Voices Tour
with UPSAHL and corook

Past Shows


Sep
12
th
2019
Fine Line
Sep
12
th
2019
Fine Line

PVRIS

with UPSAHL
Mar
14
th
2019
7th St Entry
Mar
14
th
2019
7th St Entry

Max Frost

with MIKEY MIKE and UPSAHL

More Shows

Feb
21
st
7th St Entry

Zombi

Aug
13
th
Surly Brewing Festival Field

Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine

Jun
3
rd
Palace Theatre

Primus

with Battles
Mar
1
st
First Avenue

Cordae