Photo: Daniel Prakopcyk
Rapidly rising sixteen-year-old artist Jessie Murph is no stranger to being the odd girl out, especially considering her upbringing in a small conservative town. Like much of Gen Z, she channeled that frustration and constant feeling of otherness into social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram but not without repercussions. Murph recalls, “If I posted something with a cuss word in it, they would make me run four miles per word. I got tired of running and we ended up having to move… I couldn't take it anymore."
Murph used the bullying she received at school as fuel to conquer her emotions and transform her songwriting into the captivating and emotive tour de force it is today. The isolation, mistreatment, and misogyny she encountered ultimately made her stronger and birthed the authentic and unapologetic Jessie Murph who is ready to take the pop world by storm.
We had the chance to speak with Murph regarding her latest vulnerable single, "When I'm Not Around," and plenty more.
Ones To Watch: There's a quote from Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." When did you realize that it's okay to be different?
Jessie Murph: I love that quote - probably the beginning of my sophomore year of high school I'd say. I was on the cheer team and did competitive figure skating - everyone around me kind of looked/acted/dressed very similar to each other. I definitely tried to fit in for a while. Looking at old pictures of myself, I was super blonde and dressed how I was expected to dress. Eventually, I just realized that I was spending more energy and trying way harder to be someone I wasn't rather than just being myself… and it was f**king exhausting!
The music video for "When I'm Not Around" sees you revisiting high school. Was there any pain in reliving that or did it just fuel the fire?
I'd say a little bit of both, but mainly it inspired me. Actually, while we were on set, my mom got really choked up and teary at one point because it felt so real and it was hard for her to see me relive all that on screen. At the end of the day though, it was still so cool and motivating because look at where those experiences led me… I'm on the set of my own music video!
What happens when you go on tour and play in Alabama? Do you think their perception of you will be different now?
Oh, definitely I think. I feel like they used to kind of judge me for wanting to take risks and pursue this crazy dream but now that it's actually happening, they're able to be more supportive. It also obviously wasn't every single person that was critical - there were people who had my back from the beginning. When it was actually going down though, it felt like the critics and haters were way louder than the supporters.
You're sixteen and you've been through a lot at a very young age. What's helped fueled your fire to keep pushing on?
Hmmm. I feel like people saying "you can't" just fuels me and makes me want to go even harder. I've honestly never really taken things too personally, which I think is important because a lot of times people don't realize how impactful their words can be. I guess I learned early on that it's better for the mind and soul to let any negativity push you up instead of bring you down.
Your mom has always been one of your biggest supporters. How important was this relationship growing up?
My mom has always been very supportive of me. No other moms in the small town where I grew up would've let their daughters express themselves in the way that I was. It was so cool of her to allow me to just be myself. I'm eternally grateful because I really don't know how I could've done any of this without her.
You originally blew up thanks to the help of social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube. What's next for you as an artist?
I hope to show people all different sides of myself honestly. I'm so excited to get on the road and start playing some shows later this year. I've never even been to a concert before let alone actually performed at one, so my first ever concert experience is going to be my own which is wild! But, I'm just really excited to get in front of fans and start meeting people in person especially because I talk to so many of them in my DMs. Also, I think releasing a lot more music, cool music videos and visuals will continue to showcase who I am and where I'm headed as an artist.
Will we ever see a music video of Jessie Murph ice skating?
I feel like we will eventually.
What are some sad songs you can scream out to?
When I'm sad I literally listen to Lil Baby. I yell it aggressively. So I guess anything Lil Baby (laughs).
Who are your Ones to Watch?
I really like Wifisfuneral. I've also been loving Wiley From Atlanta and DDG a lot lately.