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Stories, steps and Cigarettes

Living

NEW TUNES Uppbeat and Elle Lexxa’s musical collaboration has been garnering attention in music circles.

Westport musician collaborates with New York social-media star

Ciara Moynihan

Westport musician and rising star Uppbeat’s new track ‘Cigarettes’ has been chosen as RTÉ 2FM’s track of the week – and it’s no surprise. Featuring New York social-media sensation, ‘18th century hot girl’ Elle Lexxa, this sumptuously produced tune will enter your head, make itself comfortable and refuse to leave.
Described as ‘a silky-smooth pop belter with an edge that will place you inside of your own coming of age film’, the song is about ‘sitting on the steps after a night out when you’re young, deeply in love and trying to prove your feelings to that person’.
It’s already going down a storm with critics, with Irish DJ and record producer John Gibbons describing it as ‘a crafty, energetic and socially conscious musical timebomb’, adding: “Don’t say you weren’t warned!”
RTÉ 2FM’s Chris Green wasn’t holding back either. “I think this could be the best Irish song of the year, it’s going to be around for a long time,” he declared.
Uppbeat and Elle Lexxa met earlier in the year through TikTok and quickly developed a close working relationship. “I was blown away by how developed and striking her aesthetic was and when I found her music I instantly became a fan,” Uppbeat explains. “We decided to work on some records and we came up with ‘Cigarettes’. We then planned to meet in London and work on the record more and we shot a homemade music video while we were there.”
Pop-scene newcomer Elle first shot to fame in the retail world of Instagram jewelry, having set up her own company in 2016 at the age of 24. Her musical career soon followed, with her alt-pop aesthetic heavily influenced by her flair for theatre and interest in art history.
A star of the interactive social-media age, her massive fanbase flocks religiously to her TikTok presence, her live-streamed performances entrance thousands of watchers weekly, and her videos have clocked up millions of views.
Westport-born alt-hiphop creative Uppbeat (AKA Finn Costelloe) specialises in lyrics that tackle the real social issues that colour our lives today.
Back in October 2019, just months before the pandemic hit, he told The Mayo News that he likes to make thought-provoking tracks that have ‘heartfelt messages’ while being packaged in a ‘light-hearted and fun way’. His previous themes have included everything from toxic masculinity to the father/son relationship, the topsy-turvy nature of romance, and not being able to afford to tax your car.
Engineered by musical wizard Stuart Hawkes (responsible for music from the likes of Mura Masa, Charli XCX and Ed Sheeran), ‘Cigarettes’ is the first single from of Uppbeat’s new project, ‘H!V!S’, which is coming later in the year.
And the musician is staying true to his long-held aim. “I want to represent cultures that I grew through and the things these cultures experience,” he explains. “The reason ‘Cigarettes’ is the first record off the project is because a lot of stories are told sat on the steps or in smoking areas. ‘Cigarettes’ sets the scene in which this world exists.”
These little slices of reality – the everyday mini-dramas of ordinary lives – are fertile ground for Uppbeat, because it is in these common mundanities that shared human experience is found, and revealed.  
“This is what ‘H!V!S’ and Uppbeat is in general,” he explains. “It’s me telling my story and the stories of the people I meet who may never be heard… Essentially my goal is to tell the stories of those who don’t get seen and heard, and hopefully create a community where we all feel safe, seen and heard.”

‘Cigarettes’, by Uppbeat, featuring Elle Lexxa, is now available on Spotify, Apple Music and all streaming platforms. It is the first single from of Uppbeat’s upcoming project ‘H!V!S’, generously funded and supported by MISP album fund and First Music Contact.