Fantastic feminine forces were found at Lollapalooza in 2023

Wed. August 16, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

After attending the original Lollapalooza in Ohio back in 1991 when it was the touring event a great deal has changed. From the jump the musicians booked were eclectic but needed to expand and grow from that original concept. Mixing genres such as rap and industrial music was a good place to start with Ice-T and Nine Inch Nails, but Siouxsie Sioux was the only woman given a seat at the table.

It was a sign of the times when guitar bands and punks ruled the airwaves in the '90s. Woodstock '94 and many of the acts booked for Lollapalooza reflected that, but thanks to side stage more opportunities were given to female presenting musicians.

The popularity of electronic music arose a decade later and K-pop music has now taken things to a whole new level. South Korean girl group NewJeans made new fans in 2023 at the iconic music fest.

After all this time country music is still trying to get its boot in the door but singers like Lainey Wilson and Kacey Musgraves keep trying. Dolly Parton is putting out a rock album soon so give her a headlining slot in 2024!

The last time Taylor Upsahl played a festival was Lollapalooza in 2019 and has toured Chicago several times, most recently with a concert at Subterranean.

Crossing over to the mainstream has not been easy for the talented songwriter, “My team wants me to stop talking about drugs or sex and to not cuss! One of the biggest challenges is trusting myself more and that is a learning experience. In this career, it is easy to care about what other people think.” Her track “Drugs” is easy to sing along to and popular in the gay scene because of the inventive lyrics. She explained her creative process,” I try to come from a personal place so I go in the studio and treat it like a therapy session. I will talk about my life and something will stick to become a song title or lyric. From there the song just happens and is really just a conversation.

Playing off her track “Good Girl Era” Upsahl stated that she has exited being a good girl after two months at the beginning of the year while following resolutions and is now a bad girl who wrote the song about mental health.

“Condoms” started as a ballad where she sent her boyfriend a voice note of the verse and they worked on it together at the end of last year. It is part of THE PHX TAPES project with two more songs set to release this week on August 18, 2023.

One person she mentioned collaborating with was rapper Doja Cat and she looks forward to returning to the Windy City to open for Swedish pop tart Tove Lo at the Salt Shed on September 6, 2023. Her music director Alex Flagstad helps her create her live show after she sends him ideas. “My goal is to make it an emotional rollercoaster while keeping it rock inspired. When I am onstage I feel empowered and my bad girl era comes out to play,” Upsahl stated boldly.

Half Ethiopian and half English singer Izzy Bizu always loved music growing up, but never thought it would be a career until recently. She pictured herself possibly singing in a bar and her favorite karaoke song is “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles. She was influenced by singers such as Amy Winehouse and Marvin Gaye.

The talented songstress released a single called “Flower Power” during Lolla and it talks about her personal experiences while touring America. She confessed that her parents were strict and that “it is about me being liberated for the first time.” She described herself as shy and into skateboarding. Bizu is shooting a short film to enhance her music and then will go on tour with the electronic duo Odesza.

Isabel LaRosa grew up in Minneapolis singing with her family. She spoke about her history in the media area, “Music is what I have always done and loved. It all funneled into what I am doing now.”

Similar to Billie Eilish who also played at Lollapalooza, she writes music with her brother. She was surprised at their collaboration “eyes don't lie” and its sudden meteoric rise, “It meant a lot to us both and came at the right time. I wouldn't be here without him both in my career and in life.”

Singers such as Sabrina Carpenter, Carly Rae Jepsen and Maggie Rogers all put on powerful pop-tinged sets at Lollapalooza this year. Karol G was the first Latina to headline and Lana Del Rey returned to set the mood in her late night time slot.

Joy Oladokun was another performer that came back for more in 2023 and was joined by other out-and-proud women like Beabadoobee and Rina Sawayama who packed in the crowds to witness their powerful vocals.

Stay tuned to to see what is in store for 2024!