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August 2021
Feature

About to Break 2021: phem

"I'm down to use my platform to help in any way I can."
Published: 10:26 am, December 31, 2020
About to Break 2021: phem

With recent tracks and co-writes with the likes of G-Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Tracy and iann dior, it would probably be quicker to list the people Los Angeles- based alt-pop wonder phem hasn’t collaborated with. One of the most interesting acts around, she also recently performed on the pre-US election Noah Centineo and YUNGBLUD-hosted #DefeatByTweet livestream event, to raise money for The Justice League.

What first drew you to music, did you grow up in a musical household?

Yes, I did. My mom plays piano, and my dad played drums/vibraphone and wrote, so we grew up always having music in the house. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for me to fall asleep to either one of them playing some instrument.

How did you go from tinkering about on your own, to getting your music 'out there', picking up collaborations, writing credits and the like?

Everything that has happened has happened extremely organically. I wish I could say there was a grand master plan. The only thing I did was work really hard and kinda know what I wanted, but what I wanted shifted a few times along the way, and I think that's natural and even continues to happen now.

Do you prefer songwriting, or performing?

I think they're both exciting in their own ways. Performing tends to take more energy emotionally than songwriting sometimes, especially because you know you're responsible for entertaining large groups of people as opposed to just zoning off in your own world in the studio.

Are there any lyrical themes you find yourself returning to?

Yes. Catholicism, sex, sexuality, God.

What's been the highlight of your time in music so far? It sounds like you have a lot to choose from.
Dang, that's such a hard question!!! Some of my best moments are riding home in the car after a really amazing session, listening to the bounce of whatever I just made, maybe smoking a cig, maybe not. Just screaming all the words, knowing I made something special. That, and also just hanging out with like-minded artists and making art. Sometimes I'll be in a situation that's really amazing, and I'll just stop for a second close my eyes and say thank you to the universe, because it just feels too good.

What's on your 'music career bucket list'?

I wanna work with Tyler, The Creator, but even if I don't, I'm cool. Maybe we could just be friends, that would be enough. I wanna work with Rick Rubin, I wanna sell out a headlining tour. I just wanna keep topping myself in terms of art, be impressed with whatever I make.

The #DefeatByTweet event looked like a fun initiative, do you enjoy getting involved in politics?

Honestly, it kind of stresses me out, but when it's for a good cause and to change the world, I'm down to use my platform to help in any way I can.

Do you have lots of plans in place for next year? It must be difficult working around potential restrictions at the moment.

I think we all have been trying to plan our lives and every time we try to plan anything it changes anyways, so I've been enjoying living in the moment and not worrying about tomorrow so much. I've had some cool things happen to me recently that were random, and I could have never expected, so I'm kind of enjoying going with the flow and not planning. I LIKE WHEN THE UNIVERSE SURPRISES ME.

Is there anything else we should know?

I love my fans very much... and I'm grateful to be where I'm at. I don't take anything for granted.

Taken from the December 2020 / January 2021 issue of Upset.

December 2020 / January 2021
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