Photo credit: Andy Lachance

“When I was a teenager, I wrote the typical 15 year old angsty songs,” laughs Omaha-based High Up frontwman Christine Fink, who received her first guitar as a Christmas gift from her sister, singer/songwriter Orenda Fink. Music fell by the wayside when the Alabama native went to college and pursued a degree in theater. An all too common story, Christine graduated and went to work in an industry unrelated to her passions, but got her musical fix by performing karaoke around her hometown of Muscle Shoals. “Something about it, it’s like mainlining attention, and it was like a drug for me,” she laughs. “Orenda said, ‘you should be doing this like it’s your job, it makes you happy and it makes other people happy.’ I really wanted to make a break for it, get out of Alabama, and pursue music or theater as much as possible. So, I went for it.”

“Muscle Shoals has an incredibly rich music history, but at the time I lived there, there weren’t really any venues or many opportunities to play there,” she recalls. The Omaha-based Orenda encouraged Christine to relocate to Nebraska, so the adventurous singer and her husband packed up, hit the road, and left everything else behind.  “I could’ve easily moved to another city in Alabama that had more venues, but Saddle Creek is in Omaha, my sister was here, and there were venues and bars all over the place. It felt really comfortable, and if I was going to move across the country, it made sense to move to a place where I had a built-in support system,” Christine explains. “It took a while to get settled, and I bounced around between jobs. Orenda and I started hashing out songs and making demos in the basement, which is actually where I lived when I first moved here,” she laughs. “We felt really good about it, tested the songs out in some bars in town, got feedback from friends, and planted the seeds. Some friends came forward and said they wanted to be a part of what we were doing, and the band just came together.”

That band is called High Up, and they plan to release a self-titled EP on Friday, January 20th, a delicious four-song concoction of socially-conscious punk-tinged sassy Motown-inspired soul. The band recently released a video for lead single “Two Weeks,” a groovetastic one-fingered salute to an oppressive work situation—and it’s clear that Christine is finally putting her musical gifts and her theater degree to work as she struts her stuff through the visual story. “Most of the karaoke songs I would perform were soul songs and Motown songs; I was really drawn to that sound, and I felt like I related to it emotionally. When we started the band, we didn’t want to be a throwback soul band, and we all share rock and punk influences. We wanted to make it our own thing,” she explains. “We joke and call our sound ‘soul-ish’.”

“We try to go for something very human in our songs; there’s always a sense of a search for empowerment. There is a lot of disenfranchisement, frustration with the way we are treated, but also frustration with the way we treat others as well,” she explains. “We’re constantly grappling with the human condition; I don’t really look at things through rose-tinted glasses, and I don’t think other people should either,” she continues. “It’s cathartic–rather than tell everyone it’s going to be okay, I’d rather reach out to them and say, ‘It might not be okay, but it is okay because I’m fucked up too,” she adds with a laugh. High Up is working on their debut full-length, and will hop on a midwest tour with Austin rockers Leopold and his Fiction next month, followed by shows at SXSW in March. “We love what we’re doing,” she says. “We’re going to take it as far as we can.”

Purchase High Up

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