Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and producer phem might be considered an enigma but she’s definitely seen in all the right places.
Like any musician in demand, everything always seems to happen all at once. Hot off the release of her latest single, “slippery slope,” she is currently touring across Europe alongside the motherfucking princess herself, Avril Lavigne. And with her resume boasting previous touring experience with Machine Gun Kelly and Waterparks, it’s safe to say that phem is a pro at this performing malarky, therefore, we can only imagine that Lavigne’s crowds are in for a treat every night.
In addition to “slippery slope,” phem’s back catalog is stacked with killer material worth checking out, particularly the moody “flowers” and the riotous “brkdwn.” In an interview with EUPHORIA., we learn more about her creative process, the new single, touring with Lavigne, and what she hopes the rest of 2023 will bring her.
You are supporting Avril Lavigne across Europe throughout the next few weeks. What does that mean to you?
Avril is a legend, I like all her songs. She’s had more hits than I can even count and they’re all catchy and memorable. She’s a great writer and singer and I have a lot to learn from her.
Where on this tour are you most looking forward to playing?
London and Poland… I love Poland.
What is a song that always goes down well during your live sets?
“slippery slope” even though it’s new. It went really well when we played it for the first and only time so far in LA! I think people really resonate with the words and it’s been getting a lot of love online.
Talking of “slippery slope,” tell us more about it! What inspired it and how long ago did you write it?
I wrote “slippery slope” at the end of 2022, I was running late to the session and we only had a few hours. It was an overwhelming and heated day… I was buzzing off caffeine and super irritated by some life and business shit. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time but I had a lot of emotion inside I needed to get out and I just kinda let it rip on the mic for a bit and we pieced the whole thing together. It was a super fast process, I didn’t wanna overthink it.
The music video is amazing, congrats! Throughout a lot of the scenes, we see you in a disguise wearing a large mask that covers your whole face. What influenced that visual?
Well, thank you! The mask is going to be a theme throughout the album… it’s representative of a lot of things but I think it would be fun to let the audience find their own meaning in it. We all wear different personas depending on where and what we’re doing it.
How liberating was it to run naked in the forest too?
Extremely liberating! Nothing like being naked in nature.
You hold up a sign that reads “Caffeine sold here.” What is your Starbucks order?
Ha, I like this question! An iced matcha latte, almond milk, extra matcha – I keep it pretty simple.
It’s been a minute since you put out a project. Are you planning on releasing one this year?
Yes, my first album ever… this year! “slippery slope” is the first of many songs.
Your songs clearly come from a personal place. How do you go about your writing process?
I usually write a bunch of stuff down every day, all day, thoughts feeling ideas, then I work with whoever is producing and once we find chords, I freestyle melodies and freestyle a bunch of stuff, then go back and rework it to figure out what it all means and how to get the points across better, but initial melodies come the easiest and usually stays.
What is your advice for aspiring artists that are hoping to follow in your footsteps?
The risk is not worth the reward unless you enjoy the process of creating. Don’t get into this career for the glory at the end of the race, the goalpost keeps moving and you’ll rarely feel good enough. There is lots of heartbreak and disappointments. It’s exciting and fun at times but if you want to keep your life simple and stress-free, it’s not the vibe.
What are you manifesting this year?
Persistence to keep making my art and believing in myself to connect with people who need encouragement. I also wanna continue to become a universal force of good in the world.