The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Austin Meade encourages fans to embrace emotions with powerful rock set

Jacob Slabosz
Texas-based rock artist Austin Meade performs at Lollapalooza on Thursday.

Rock artist Austin Meade made his Lollapalooza debut Thursday with a raw and powerful set at the BMI stage.

“You care if we play a little rock and roll for you?” Meade shouted to the crowd between songs.

Meade’s hard-rock performance featured lots of heavy head-banging as they took the stage for a 40 minute set. The small and shady performance space brought a nice break from the sun for fans of the musician.

Meade made the most out of his time, cramming every second with music. On stage, Meade expressed sadness at not being able to share more music with his fans.

“I wish we had more time, I really do,” Meade said before closing out the set with his newest single, “BLACKOUT.”

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    Meade expressed his feelings about performing at the festival with raw honesty after the performance.

    “To be honest, I’m pretty stressed out,” Meade said. “They build this city for Lollapalooza, you know, but from an art standpoint, it is pretty stressful.”

    Meade, who has been releasing music since his debut album “Chief of the Sinners” in 2014, said that he has grown to expect the stress of larger performances, and is still grateful for the opportunity to bring his music to the public.

    “I mean, I see it coming,” Meade said. “All the big festivals and the bigger shows, which I enjoy and appreciate the opportunity, but just being honest, as an artist, it’s f—ing stressful.”

    “You don’t get the full soundcheck, you don’t get the whole thing, but it’s cool to be in the same boat as some of these really large artists, you know?” Meade said.

    The rush of the festival is nothing new for Meade and his group, who have been performing and recording nearly constantly for the past decade.

    “We stay on the road all the time,” Meade said. “Yeah, we’ve been on the road for about 10 years. We just try to enjoy the moment while we can.”

    Meade has recorded four albums over the past decade, and has amassed almost 400,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. His most listened to track, “Happier Alone,” has over 27 million streams.

    The method for the rock musician’s progress over the course of his musical career is simply put.

    “I’m just trying to make every record better,” Meade said.

    The general message of Meade’s work, however, has been a constant from the start. As his emotional lyrics suggest, Meade said his greatest inspiration for his music is his sadness.

    “It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be f—ed up,” Meade said. “As you get older, more s— stacks on your plate and you have to figure out how to deal with it.”

    Mead said that his music is essentially his way of coping with this sadness, as he reaches out to others who feel the same.

    “Sometimes I just need an outlet, you know,” Meade said. “For me, that’s making music, and I’m glad that other people are just as sad.”

    Meade feels that fans of the rock group truly understand their message, stating that they “found authentic people.”

    By reaching out to others, Meade said he’s found a way to make his own peace with his emotions.

    “What keeps me sane is writing, recording and performing music, really,” Meade said. 

    The rock musician said that he believes other artists use their sadness in a similar way, by sharing their emotions with the people willing to experience them.

    “I think artists are emotional people that are just connecting with the real world,” Meade said. “I think that a lot of us, our goal is to give other people a way to release that emotion by listening to the music.”


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    About the Contributors
    Maaike Niekerk, buzz Editor
    My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working with The Daily Illini during the fall semester of my freshman year as a buzz staff writer, and joined the editorial team last summer. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini or cycling with the 2024 Illini 4000 bike America team.
    Jacob Slabosz, Managing Editor for Visuals
    Hey, I’m Jacob! I am currently a sophomore in computer engineering with a minor in German. I started with The Daily Illini in fall 2022 as a news reporter and staff photographer, and by spring 2023, I had worked my way to photo editor. I have been the managing editor for visuals since March 2023. When I’m not taking pictures for The DI or for fun, I enjoy cooking, water sports and tending to my numerous houseplants. I’m excited to see the content that our team can produce with a more visual-oriented approach.
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