The Alt Artistry of Phem
Who is Phem and why is she so important to Gen Z? Phem is an indie singer-songwriter with a grip on reality. Her approach to creating art is based in honest, personal stories and engaging alternative instrumentation. Her outstanding collaborations with artists like Machine Gun Kelly and Iann Dior has given her art an even wider audience. Everyone is thankful for that.
Since she sprung onto the scene in 2017, the young, brazen star from LA has put her best self forward. What is her best self? Well, as she’s taught a new generation of music fans, your best self is your real self. Her third EP, how u stop hating yourself (part one), shares that. She was in middle of the pandemic – like the rest of us – and continuing to wrestle with her self worth – again, like the rest of us. Therefore, she worked on herself and decided to use the power of music share with the world just how she did it.
“I couldn’t think of a better EP title for 2020,” phem shared with Happy Mag in December 2020. “This project is more than the music, it’s been a growing experience for myself, my fans and my whole team. At the end of the day all I want to do is help people, and make them feel less alone by sharing my own feelings and experiences. If I can do that we’ve succeeded.”
Not Part Two, Part One Point Five
Slowly but surely, phem has been turning that EP how you stop hating yourself into an LP. The new deluxe edition of the miniature album has brought the tracklist to a total of eight songs. Originally at six, the beloved record was already fabulous. These two new additions make the record whole, though. While the original EP from 2020 felt concise, these two new tracks add depth to the message of learning to live with yourself as a whole.
Phem has been ridiculously transparent since the beginning of her rise in the alternative world. Honesty and transparency, alongside some really bouncy alt pop tracks, have shaped her narrative.
At her core, Phem is a realist. All she wants for herself and for others is peace. Not world peace and not any sort of grand excursion to solve big life problems. She is simply advocating for inner peace. The idea of coming to terms with yourself and being honest with both the good and bad the exact point of the how you stop hating yourself album series. It’s right in the name, really.
Each track reflects a different stage or step in learning to love yourself… or at least appreciate what you bring to the world. Songs like “Self Control” and “suxker punch” force this idea onto listeners of the original EP. Now, the two standout tracks are, without a doubt, the new additions. Titled “American Beauty” and “congratulations,” these two tracks dive headfirst into what it means to evolve.
The first verse of “American Beauty” talks rejecting mainstream society’s ideas of beauty. “I’m over this American beauty. You don’t know what it’s doing to me. When I look in the mirror, I want to be somebody else. I want to be anybody else,” phem sings.
It’s brave to love who you are wholly and truly. But, it’s even more courageous to believe that your beauty is yours and not society’s expectation of it. Phem has learned that and is using her slick, trendy sound to showcase it. The modern world needs more authentic artists like phem, who make music for themselves just as much as for their fans.