Today, queer musician Phem releases her new single "Blinders," a song that focuses on a specifically troubling time in the artist's life as she explored and examined her own identity and the authenticity with which she was presenting herself to the world.
"I’ve struggled with my sexuality for quite some time," she explains. "There were people in my family and friend groups who were confused about who I was and would ask me stupid questions about what it’s like and how it works... During the process of figuring out how to answer these questions, I decided I didn’t need to and that was also at the time I wrote "Blinders," a song about turning away from having to fit into a box or curb the way I am so it’s easier for other people to understand."
The single, which premieres today on Out, is off of her forthcoming new EP, out on Valentine's Day. Phem has previously worked with and written for artists such as G-Eazy and Dram—her collaboration with the former, "Just Friends," has garnered several million streams on Spotify since its release.
Listen to "Blinders" and read our Q&A with the artist below:
How has your queerness influenced your music, specifically with this song?
I always aim to be as honest as I can with my writing... no matter how difficult it has been for me. Sexuality and queerness can still be confusing for many people, but luckily we have art and poetry as another outlet for understanding these feelings. I'm thankful for that, and I think writing and making music is extremely therapeutic for me.
What was the inspiration behind "Blinders" - what's the significance of the title?
I wrote this song at a time when I was living out of my studio & pretty isolated in my own world. It was definitely a scary and confusing time, but my goal was to figure out what my next step in life was and how I was going to get there. I felt like many things around me were failing... many of my securities in life were no longer stable. I felt really alone.
"Blinders" is about laser focus on your own path and not worrying about what anybody else is doing. Everyone has their own particular journey and what your neighbor is doing might look cool but it might not be the story you were born to tell. Comparison is the death to creativity. I think that if everyone took the same time to discover their true selves as they do to watch what everyone else is doing, they might be surprised at how much magic they have at their own fingertips.
You've collaborated with G-Eazy - what other artists would be your favorites to work with?
I really would love to work with 070 Shake... I've been asking friends to put me in touch who know her. Her writing is really amazing and her tone of voice and delivery really impress me. She's doing something not many people are doing right now.
A few other people on the top of my dream collab list are Post Malone, Swae Lee, Starrah, and Halsey—she has something really special about her & I appreciate the authenticity that shines through her work.
Is "Blinders" part of an upcoming EP?
Yes it is... The EP is slated to drop on Valentines Day of this year.
This project has been a bit of a growing pain for me. Finally trying to start making sense of my sexuality, and coming to terms with the person I've become. Letting myself evolve naturally into what I will be, and being okay with that. And also just putting the blinders on and unapologetically saying everything I need to.
New Year's resolutions?
To use less plastic and to trust my instincts.