'Ceilings' singer Lizzy McAlpine on her 2024 'Older' tour

Thousands of fans sway in sync, phone flashlights held high, anticipating the crescendo.

“But it's not real,” Lizzy McAlpine sings as Red Rocks Amphitheater audience members join in. They sing with the conviction of Broadway stars, some collapsed by emotional catharsis.

It's the second show on McAlpine's “Older” tour and “Ceilings” is far from the last song on the setlist. But when the viral impact ends, an exodus occurs. For many of the fans, the show is practically over.

“It's very discouraging as an artist,” says McAlpine, recounting the episode from his home in Los Angeles two weeks later. “People will come to shows just to see that song, to see the snippet of that song that they know from TikTok, and then they'll leave.”

From now on, he says, “Ceilings” will be an encore. “You'll have to wait the whole show if you want to see that.” one song.”

This will apply to their concerts on Saturday and Sunday at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The dates follow one of the brief breaks the singer-songwriter takes between shows to preserve her energy. On previous tours, she exhausted herself to the point of physical illnesses: pneumonia, laryngitis, influenza, and more.

“Every tour I did, my body literally rejected it,” he says.

He will also visit fewer cities and forgo an opening act so he can start his show earlier.

McAlpine didn't expect “Ceilings” to be the title track of his 2022 album, “Five Seconds Flat.” It wasn't even a single.

However, an accelerated version of the song that he published on Tik Tok In January 2023 it has generated almost 665,000 publications, with many users (Victoria Justice and Jimmy Fallon among them) lip dubbing the song while running, dancing, or both.

“Ceilings” peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has amassed more than 523 million streams on Spotify. Following its success, McAlpine signed with RCA Records.

“That moment allowed me to get here and I'm obviously very grateful for that,” McAlpine says. “But it's also hard to see that people only care about, apparently, one song, especially after I just released this new album that feels the most like me I've ever felt.”

A highly confessional record built on wandering folk melodies and soft, layered vocals, McAlpine's third studio album, “Older,” was released on April 5 after three years of work. She calls it a “second or third listen album,” one that you like more the more time and attention you give it.

(Sarah Midkiff / For The Times)

Writing the songs was easy, as it usually is, McAlpine says. “Making them sound good,” though, “that was the part that took forever.” He recorded with a lot of producers on a trial and error basis, never realizing the vision he had in his head.

By fall 2023, I had a version of an album I couldn't bear to release and a mission to find a producer who could fix it.

Instead, he found a gang of six men.

Assembled by Pasadena guitarist Mason Stoops for a Marcus Mumford tour in 2022, the band took its final form, Stoops says, after he and a few other members were recruited to record a live version of the band's 2023 album. Los Angeles singer Ryan Beatty, “Calico.” .” They later supported Beatty on his “California in Every Color” and “Calico” tours.

When McAlpine saw the band perform with Beatty at the Ford in Hollywood last September, she was mesmerized.

“I can't really explain it,” he says. “I was so impressed by the band and their playing, and it really was a focal point of that show.

“I felt so human, and that's what I felt like I'd been missing.”

As luck would have it, McAlpine knew the brother of a band member, steel guitarist Tyler Nuffer. She reached out the following week.

“Lizzy called me and said, 'I have this record that I hate, basically, and I think I can produce it myself with the right band, and I heard them play and I felt like this is exactly the sound I want,'” Stoops says.

It didn't take much convincing from the band. Within two weeks, they re-recorded nearly half of McAlpine's album at Nuffer's Pasadena home studio, Nuffer Ranch.

Stoops did not believe that McAlpine really needed his help, but seeing how discouraged she was after years of working on her album, he hoped to restore her confidence.

“I think he felt the pressure that a lot of artists feel when, after they have a hit or they have a following (they're known for something), it's like, 'Well, I have to live up to that,' or 'I have to live up to that.' of that'. We have to give people more of that,'” she says. “This record became a mission to help Lizzy truly find herself in these songs and give her some kind of platform so she could move forward as her own artist.”

Sometimes that meant leaving the songs intact. Track 10, “You Forced Me to”, is the original demo that McAlpine made alone in her apartment. He became the “north star” of the album, says pianist Taylor Mackall.

Until Stoops heard that demo, he says, “I didn't know Lizzie was a savant-level arranger and composer.”

“That's what's wrong with production,” he says. “It hides or covers up a lot of the musicality of the artists we work with.”

The “Older” tour’s stage design, essentially a replica of Nuffer Ranch, does the opposite. There's no cue, no clicker, no show, nothing to detract from the raw performance.

Stoops believes McAlpine's audience is recording his intimacy.

“I think it's helped encourage people to just take a moment and listen to her and be there with her instead of seeing her as an external object on stage that you can just yell at,” she says.

In footage of the tour's opening show in San Diego, Stoops says, the crowd is so quiet you can hear crickets outside the venue.

So far, the “Older” tour has been a healing experience for McAlpine, who spent his previous tours trying too hard, assuming a persona he thought people wanted to see.

“I never knew I would want to do this, but yeah, honestly, it's been like night and day,” he says.

Still, once the tour concludes in October, McAlpine plans to take a long break from music. She is considering working in film and theater, but nothing is concrete, and that is a comfort to her.

“Just getting to this point took a lot out of me,” he says. “Now that I finally know who I am and how I can do this work in a way that makes me feel good, I'm doing it, but I still need to take a step back and just live.”

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