Rising popstar and singer- songwriter Maude Latour kicked off her first headline tour in north Portland on March 11. The 22-year-old played to a sold-out crowd at Polaris Hall, the first stop on a tour that will take her to cities across the country during her spring break and over weekends of her final semester at Columbia University.
The show featured stellar opener Jensen McRae, who played an acoustic set of songs from her album “Are You Happy Now?” which was released on March 22. McRae’s announcement that it was her first ever tour was met with resounding applause from the crowd.
Latour delivered a high-energy set, which the audience matched with ease. The crowd screamed along to every word of Latour’s songs with passion. She opened with her song “Furniture” and closed with “One More Weekend,” which she said was her favorite to perform. The show included some moments that felt extra special. Before “Ride My Bike,” Latour silenced the crowd and had everyone take three deep breaths before starting the song. During “Block Your Number,” everyone dropped to the floor during the pre chorus before jumping up and dancing energetically after the beat drop.
Latour had wonderful stage presence, interacting with audience members throughout the show and giving the experience a very personal feel. She said that starting her tour in Portland was a great experience, despite it being her first time in the city.
“There was totally some magic in the room and I felt overjoyed after,” Latour said. “I had such a good time, it was such a beautiful experience.”
Adjusting to what it means to be on tour and play the same show multiple times has proved to be a challenge, and Latour has been figuring out how to navigate this experience.
“I’ve never done more than one show in a row before,” Latour said. “I’m just trying to work on learning … (to) preserve and protect my energy.”
Latour’s set included every song that she has released in her career thus far, including her most recent release “Headphones,” as well as two songs that have not yet been released, “Lola” and “Trees.” Latour’s music explores themes of friendship, romance, heartbreak and love in all forms.
“I definitely feel like this heartbreak chapter has been said and has been closed,” Latour said, referring to her last EP, “Strangers Forever.” “I think I found out how to write about being 16, I found out how to write about being 19 and 20. And I’m currently figuring out how to write about being 22.”
“Lola” is the next song Latour plans to release, a song she says is about healing and protecting the people that you love. It is named after her best friend Lola.
“I want it to be an anthem to protecting my friends and keeping my friends safe … like, group love that you feel,” Latour said. “It’s also about this theme that I find in my music a lot, of the fluidity of love and friendship.”
Latour also finds that there is a connection between love and loneliness in her music, which she has been exploring in her writing process. “I’m finding more and more that so much of my music is about being lonely,” Latour said. “But then like also having these surges of total community and total love and the opposite of loneliness.”
Latour is currently finishing up a degree in philosophy. She jokingly told the crowd about how she had submitted a midterm right before leaving for Portland. However, launching a music career and being a full-time student has not been without its challenges.
“(I have been) emailing my professors my music to try to convince them to give me extensions,” Latour said. “They’ve been super helpful.”
Despite the challenges of juggling everything, Latour’s classes have helped her improve as an artist.
“I’ve taken a lot of English classes focused on words and poetry,” Latour said. “It’s talented writers who have found cracks in the world, and figured out how to shine light through them.”
Latour is set to graduate in the spring, and though she has learned a lot from college, she believes it is the friendships that ultimately make it worthwhile.
“Don’t stress too much about school,” Latour said. “Just enjoy. Give yourself a break. Just enjoy hanging out with your friends. That’s true education.”
Latour is currently focused on completing her next project. In the meantime, “Lola” is set to be released on April 8.