Sometimes you hear an artist’s music for the first time and you just instantly know that their work will change your life forever. That’s exactly what it felt like when we first discovered phem – fitting, since her stage name comes from the word “ephemeral” – and every song she’s released since then has proven that initial thought right. From the motivating ‘Blinders,’ to the angsty ‘congratulations,’ and the cathartic ‘brkdwn,’ each phem song has felt less like a song and more like a time capsule making us feel less alone in what we’re going through. The latest edition to our catalog, though, is the breezy ‘summer 23,’ which is a time capsule helping us memorialize our favorite summer memories! If you had a sucky summer, though, you’ll still be able to jam out and let go.
“I’ll figure it out one day, I swear,” phem sings, “but right now, I don’t even care.” It always feels like there’s so much pressure to have the perfect summer every year, or to have your life together in general, but stressing over it isn’t worth ruining the present moment or the good things you can enjoy right now. Sometimes it’s better to just let your hair down (maybe dye it green), turn some music up, and let your future self handle it! We know our future selves have it all under control while listening to more phem.
phem is truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of artist – not just for the emotions she brings up in every listener, but how she brings those emotions up. She manages to pick the little details and seemingly mundane moments that really paint the picture of the full story. For example, the jaded young adult anthem ‘ikea’ uses a trip to the furniture store as a symbol of past hope for a future that never arrived, and the earlier cut ‘Crypto B*txh’ predicted phem’s future success by recalling a wallet-emptying visit to a fortune teller. Even with how specific these anecdotes can get, there’s something universal about them that makes it feel like phem secretly raided your diary and worked your memories into those lyrics.
But speaking of memories, we have a new favorite: getting to ask phem all about ‘summer 23,’ her bond with the Phemily, and so much more! It was so surreal to connect with an artist who has soundtracked so many ups and downs in our lives while giving us hope for our futures and helping us believe in ourselves. We can’t wait to share it with you, so we’re letting go of our ‘Self Control’ and diving right in.
We’re always so impressed by your lyrics and how well they capture different feelings! Is there a certain lyric from ‘ikea’ that you’re especially proud of?
Thank u! Probably “I showed u Elliot Smith, u b*txh.”
You’re gearing up to release ‘summer 23’ later this month [if you’re reading this interview, it’s out now!] and we’re so excited to hear it! What were some of your personal favorite moments of summer ’23?
I had a really great summer.. this last weekend, I played a festival called Dinah Shore in the desert. I was able to go with a few of my friends and enjoy hanging out with everyone there as well as performing. I also was able to head to Houston a few times and wrote a bunch of music out there including ‘summer 23.’
Earlier in 2023, you got to tour Europe with Avril Lavigne, which must have been such an amazing experience! What are some things you learned from that tour that you’ve taken with you?
I think watching Avril every night was a huge learning experience in itself. I got to see one of the most influential artists of all time in action and started to pay close attention to her writing style and what parts of the songs really resonated with the audience.
You have such a beautiful connection with your fanbase, the Phemily, and you even host fun events like 90 Day Fiancé watch parties and movie nights for them. What has it been like for you to cultivate that relationship with fans and see how much your music resonates with them?
It really keeps me going and makes this whole career path a lot more meaningful and worth it. I’ve loved being there for my fans through my music and through the Discord. We’re able to hang out and have fun streaming nights together. I’m always trying to cultivate more activities and fun things for them to be a part of, so they know I’m present and that I care about including them on this journey.
One of our favorite lyrics of yours is “if we’re not growing, then we’re already dead” from ‘flowers,’ which has become such a motivational message. When you’re feeling stagnant, what do you do to push yourself to the next level and make room for growth?
Yes, that’s such a great line, I agree. When I’m feeling stagnant, it’s usually because I’m overwhelmed or I’m thinking too much about what I need to do or should do. I usually allow myself to take a break and decompress for a bit, and that will help kickstart my motivation again.
Over the years, you’ve collabed with so many talented artists, including iann dior and Tom Morello. Do you have any favorite memories from recording a collab? What about an artist you’re hoping to work with in the future?
Tom Morello is an amazing human. Some of my collabs have been enjoyable experiences, some of them have been horrible, unfortunately. I do have a collab song coming out soon though that will be incredible and fun for the fans. I’m excited to share!
What can your fans look forward to in the rest of 2023?
‘summer 23!!’ and possibly one other song.. next year will be all about rolling out the rest of my first-ever album : )
Thank you so much to phem for answering our questions and giving us so much amazing music over the years! Now, Phemily, we have some questions for you – what do you think of ‘summer 23?’ What are your favorite phem lyrics? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!