Big Thief, Lizzy McAlpine Featured This Week on Colbert and Fallon

The Berklee alumni artists performed original tunes for the top two titans of late night, with each program reaching millions of viewers every episode.

March 3, 2023

If you tuned in to any major late-night television this week, there’s a strong chance you saw a Berklee alum or two. Last night, singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine ’20 brought her song “ceilings” to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and on Tuesday evening, indie folk mainstays Big Thief debuted the unreleased single “Vampire Empire” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Both shows consistently draw well over a million viewers at the time of airing, with many thousands more on YouTube in the days following.

Watch Lizzy McAlpine perform "ceilings" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:

McAlpine’s music began attracting attention early in the pandemic, her soft-spoken confessional songwriting style connecting with internet audiences during a very isolating time. Since then, she’s released two albums (the latest being five seconds flat), been nominated for a Grammy alongside fellow alum John Mayer ’98, and gone viral on TikTok. Her stripped-down performance with alumni vocal trio Tiny Habits on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series was named as one of the 10 best of 2022 in that series.

Watch Big Thief debut new single "Vampire Empire" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Big Thief features alumni Adrianne Lenker B.M. ’12 (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek B.M. ’10 (guitar), and James Krivchenia B.M. ’14 (drums), along with Max Oleartchik on bass. The prolific group has released five albums, the latest of which, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, was a sprawling double album that topped several best-of-2022 lists. The band’s uncompromising artistic vision has led them to a sound that ranges from Americana to noise rock—sometimes within the same song.

Listen to Buck Meek discuss hanging with Joni Mitchell, touring with Jeff Tweedy, and his time at Berklee:

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