Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
UPSAHL's “The Other Team” is an ode to unrequited love and vintage high school movies. With bright colors and plenty of drama, UPSAHL's (Taylor Upsahl) latest video invokes the spirit of Clueless or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Directed by Ally Pankiw, it brings high school to life with a strong dose of nostalgia. A parade of colorful characters dance across bleachers and through locker rooms to the upbeat tune.
Ultimately, it’s a song about finding yourself. The characters, both gay and straight, learn how to navigate relationships. UPSAHL is open about the song being based on a true story; when she was in middle school, she had the “fun little experience” of falling for her gay best friend. But the song is more than straight-girl-meets-gay-guy. “Regardless of whether a straight person is falling for a gay person, or a gay person is falling for a straight person, everyone is always going to be looking for someone,” UPSAHL tells Refinery29 over the phone. “Everyone can kind of relate in some way." Ultimately, its a song about "the connections between people."
Ahead, UPSAHL opens up about the crushes that everyone goes through in high school, and the process of “figuring out who they are" and "how they want to look." Her music video, debuting exclusively here on Refinery29, is a love letter to this awkward stage in life, as much as it is to her best friend.
Refinery29: How did you decide on the style for this video?
Taylor Upsahl: "I’ve always loved bright colors. In my past music videos I’ve kind of DIY-ed the whole process and kept to one color. My first video was all pink and pastels, the second one was red, the "Rough" video was yellow. This one is a rainbow of a ton of different colors. Everyone in high school is kind of figuring out who they are, so everyone’s wearing all these crazy shit. It’s very true to how people actually dress in high school."
It reminds me of those old 80s, 90s high school movies. Do you have a favorite high school movie?
"Definitely The Breakfast Club. That’s been my favorite movie forever. When I met with the director, I thought “Perfect." This literally reminds me of Breakfast Club."
Who are some of your other influences?
"I’ve always really loved Billie Eilish, her videos are so artistic. I’ve been really getting into Outkast recently, that’s really making a comeback this generation. I love Anderson Paak, Rihanna, and Lorde. My dad was in a punk rock band, so I grew up listening to a lot of alternative rock."
Yeah, the video reminds me a bit of Carly Rae Jepsen.
"Oh my gosh, yes! When I was in middle school that was my favorite music video."
You moved to LA last year. What has the change been like for you?
"I feel like it’s a very brutal place to move to, especially to move to alone. I moved straight out of my parent’s house to LA, and it’s kind of like a slap in the face when you get there at first. But I lived with a lot of amazing people who were also artists, so I was surrounded by a very strong support system. It’s very different. I grew up in downtown Phoenix, went to this little performing arts school, and then threw myself into LA. It’s been a year of growth, for sure."
How would you say that has affected your music?
"As a writer, you’re always trying to pull from any experiences that you’re going through. I’ve written a lot of songs about being alone, and then songs about being alone but being ok with it. I'm 19. My life is just so up and down every single day. But it’s really fun, I’ve kind of learned to embrace it, and if something really shitty happens I just turn it into a song."
You have an EP coming out next year. Can you tell us more about that?
"This whole year I’ve been basically experimenting with different sounds, trying to figure out exactly the sound that I wanted to go with for the EP. I have hundreds of songs to choose from. We’re just starting to piece together the EP, it’ll be five songs, coming out in February, right before I go on tour."
Sounds like you have a really busy year coming up.
"This whole past year has been the behind-the-scenes of writing a ton, and figuring it out. Next year I get to dive more into the live part of it, which I’m really excited to do."
Next year, Upsahl will be playing at SXSW and touring with Max Frost.