Artist Hadley Nelson, lead singer of indie pop band Silver Cup, said there is something special about Utah that makes it a favorite performance destination for musical artists.
“The ambiance of the crowds at our concerts in Utah is different,” Nelson said. “People are excited. There’s just kind of a positive energy and people go harder.”
Nelson has toured with her band, Silver Cup, from coast to coast as they have moved from their home state of Utah to New York.
Nelson said that the excitement she finds in Utah is attractive to artists planning their concerts because performing can be intimidating.
“Performing as someone who is not a character but is just you on stage and being authentic and confident and vulnerable on stage is terrifying,” Nelson said. “Maybe it’s an ego boost, maybe it loosens things up, maybe it just makes the whole atmosphere more enjoyable, but as someone who does get freaked out on stage, that all melts away when I have people screaming and dancing with me.”
As someone with performance anxiety, Nelson has found that a welcoming audience helps her cope with her fear and allows her to enjoy performing as much as the audience enjoys listening.
“When we played that first show, we were absolutely mind-blown by the turnout, by the way the audience interacted with us and knew our songs,” Nelson said. “I didn’t even know that people cared, and then suddenly I was on stage and there were these people singing my own lyrics back to me.”
“I think artists like coming to Utah because music is huge here, and artists can experience a crowd that is energetic and will be involved in the concert by singing and having the time of their lives,” BYU sophomore Alex Pence said. “Compared to other places I’ve been to, people in Utah are way more involved and care more about the concert.”
This excitement is not the only thing Nelson said makes performing in Utah so special.
“After the show, I love interacting with people who are excited to come talk to me and thank me for putting on a show they enjoy, and I thank them for being there and supporting us because they’re the reason we can do this,” Nelson said. “People are usually really excited to come say hi, which is a Utah-exclusive thing.”
Halle Huber, a junior in the BYU Nursing program, said that artists seems to favor performing in Utah as opposed to other venues around the country.
“I remember going to the Bleachers concert in Salt Lake last October.” Huber said. “Jack Antonoff said that it was the best concert he has ever performed at outside of his hometown. He played the encore a cappella because of a power outage from jamming so hard and that was absolutely awesome.”
Huber said she loves going to concerts in Utah because there is such a large young adult population to fill the crowds and excitement for smaller artists that less people heard of.
“Even though Utah may not seem high demand for tourists, it feels like every concert is sold out and filled with die-hard fans,” Huber said.
Nelson said that as Silver Cup expanded across the country, she has discovered that this excitement for upcoming artists allows them to grow a fanbase quickly and helps push them into the spotlight in other states.
“It all started when my older brother reached out to me in 2019 and said, ‘Hey, you can sing. Why don’t you come join me and try it out? We can do something together for fun,’” Nelson said, referring to the beginning of Silver Cup.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson’s band, a brother and sister duo who produce and write most of their music in-house, began mostly online. Nelson said they put out songs and content on social media before getting their feet wet in the live music scene post-COVID-19.
“Audiences that I’ve performed in front of and been in here in New York just don’t get as excited, and I don’t know where that comes from or why, but I think it’s true,” Nelson said, “There’s a really positive, lovely, incredible energy there… I can find that energy in a lot of music venues in Utah.”
Silver Cup has performed at Kilby Court, Vivint during LoveLoud and plans to perform at SoundWell in the near future since their first live show in the summer of 2021.
Nelson said she loves, as both a performer and an audience member, when people sing along.
“There’s something really magical about hearing an audience sing a whole chorus with the lead singer on a stage,” Nelson said. “It’s really beautiful and special. It almost makes me emotional a lot of the time because of the stimulation I get from that.”
Nelson said that performing live is something that she is still figuring out how to maneuver, but that it has always felt like the right thing to do. In Utah, she said she feels at home and the excitement of the crowds has helped her create a genuine connection with fans.
“I won’t lie, screaming and cheering after every song is also a pretty good feeling too and of course dancing and vibing out with the people on stage,” Nelson said. “That’s a must for any good audience.”