Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest single.
“I’m giving you one more chance.” It’s a youthful sentiment, but it’s also universal. Taylor Upsahl’s music as UPSAHL functions similarly, as it taps into the sweet spot between unfettered innocence and the complicated courtships of adulthood we can’t help but approach with the optimism of a sophomore. That makes sense, as UPSAHL, who’s only just out of high school, teeters on the verge of being a grown-up. Of course, one never truly achieves adulthood until they realize just how much of their adolescent self remains wrapped around their heart.
When UPSAHL sings of “giving you one more chance” on her new single, “Kiss Me Now”, she’s singing not from a broken heart or a shattered will, but from a place of relatable yearning. All she wants is a kiss from the boy with whom she’s on a first date, but he’s not taking the hint. Maybe he’s not interested, or maybe he’s just extremely awkward; either way, UPSAHL is “always on the move” so it’s now or never. Whether you’re 15 or 50, the anticipation of that telepathic dovetail remains the same, as does the conviction that there is such a thing as the perfect moment (and that perfect moments pass).
As on her previous single, “Can You Hear Me Now”, “Kiss Me Now” grounds UPSAHL’s modern pop sensibilities with splashes of acoustic guitar that heighten the song’s innate humanity amidst its bright, infectious beat. Upsahl’s bold, expressive vocals pair mellifluously with Max Frost’s production, resulting in a sweet, upbeat banger suited for even the dimmest set of starry eyes.
Stream “Kiss Me Now” below.
For more on what influenced UPSAHL to pen “Kiss Me Now”, check out her breakdown of its Origins below. A movie, a songwriter, and a real-life experience are among them. Also, stay tuned for the song’s music video, which is due to drop, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day.
As a person and a creator, I love bright colors, and the idea of associating a specific color with a song or idea is really important to me in music. I definitely don’t have synesthesia, where you hear colors, but I still think that everyone can relate to this condition in one way or another. For “Kiss Me Now”, I immediately think of the color red. You picture lips, you see red. You picture kissing, red. And if you picture me, irritated on a first date because he isn’t making a move, you see red. I utilized the significance of this color when creating a theme for my music video, which comes out on Valentine’s Day.
When writing songs, I typically put myself in other people’s shoes to channel a feeling or situation, but this song very literally happened to me. I was on a first date with this guy I was really into. I’m a very outgoing person who knows what I want, so going into the date, I knew that I wasn’t going to leave without my first kiss. I feel like everyone can relate to the feeling of being with a new person, not taking anything too seriously, but just trying to have a good time, so I wanted to put this feeling into a song that everyone could vibe with and understand.
Never Been Kissed:
One of my favorite movies is Never Been Kissed, with Drew Barrymore. At the end of the movie, when she waits on the baseball field for Sam to come and kiss her, you can literally feel the anxiety/excitement/butterflies that she’s feeling in the film. I wanted this song to embody this feeling that a lot of people my age can relate to. Drew’s character in the film allows herself to be completely vulnerable and puts herself at risk of embarrassment for this kiss. Although “Kiss Me Now” is meant to be a fun, light-hearted track, I think it also shows immense vulnerability, which is empowering in a way.
Julia Michaels is one of the most talented songwriters of our time, and I really look up to her as a writer, musician, and artist. I feel like some writers try to over complicate lyrics, and this sometimes causes the meaning of what they intended to say to be lost. Julia says it how it is, and I think that is why people gravitate towards her writing. It’s very conversational, relatable, and understandable, and the way everything is delivered has a certain swagger to it that makes everyone want to listen to what she’s saying. When writing “Kiss Me Now”, I had a similar outlook on it, so I put the listener in the perspective of the person I was on the date with, using pronouns like “you” throughout. I think the song is candid and conversational, which makes it really fun to perform.