Artists to Watch #11
At the tender age of 19, vocalist and songwriter Jessie Murph, who hails from Athens, Alabama and operates out of Nashville, has already distinguished herself with an eclectic musical style. Drawing heavily upon the narrative tradition of country music and the varied influences of hip-hop, alternative, and pop genres, her work exhibits a unique synthesis of the various strands of American music. Murph’s understanding of the significance of country music in the Southern identity is deeply influenced by her upbringing—her father himself aspired to be a country musician. Her voice, characterized by a remarkable combination of power, a touch of Southern twang, and an ability to convey authenticity, proves adept at bridging these musical traditions.
Murph first came to public attention through her vigorous social media presence in 2020. The release of her breakout single “Always Been You” marked the advent of her professional music career, leading to the launch of her inaugural mixtape, “drowning.” Her lyrical expression is unflinchingly honest, addressing topics of mental health, depression, and addiction with commendable open-heartedness. The year 2021 saw her sign a recording agreement with Columbia Records and ushered in her first commercial release, “Upgrade.”
2023 marked a significant milestone for Jessie Murph, who achieved a landmark of over 1 billion streams worldwide across her discography. Lauded as an ‘Artist to Watch’ by industry platforms including Genius, Pandora, and Amazon Music, she introduced her debut mixtape drowning in February.
While primarily recognized for her forays into pop music suffused with R&B elements, particularly through her well-known songs “While You’re At It” and “Upgrade,” Murph has also garnered acclaim for her collaborations with artists who inhabit the intersection of hip-hop and country. She has recently explored country music more deeply with her latest songs— “Texas”, “Cowboys & Angels” and “Wild Ones”—showcasing her versatile and emotional vocal delivery. They also signaled the advent of a new phase in her career, characterized by heartfelt songcraft and a convergence of hip-hop inflected production, alternative influences, and pop accessibility.
Murph’s collaboration with distinguished artist Maren Morris on the song “Texas” in 2023 has been particularly noteworthy. This song poignantly recounts the story of a cowboy’s departure to the Lone Star State, and together, they have imparted a fresh perspective on this timeless narrative. There is an interesting vocal juxtaposition in the collaboration: Morris’s tender and feminine tone contrasts Murph’s more forthright and unadorned delivery.
Her most recent release, “Wild Ones” featuring Jelly Roll rapidly ascended to the No. 42 position within six weeks of its release, acclaimed for intertwining a compelling country beat with narratives of defiance and risk-taking. The success of “Wild Ones” was further amplified by support from Drake, leading to impressive achievements on various music charts.
Murph recounts the organic origins of “Wild Ones,” initially conceived without the prospect of collaboration. An invitation from Jelly Roll to perform a cover at his concert, which culminated in a live rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” led to Jelly Roll contributing a verse to the song.
A testament to her growing influence, Murph triumphantly embarked on her inaugural tour, which included performances in Australia and New Zealand last Fall. She is slated to continue her live appearances with headline dates in the UK and Europe in February 2024. In a nod to her burgeoning international profile, MTV designated her as the Global PUSH Artist this January.
Despite her youth, Jessie Murph’s burgeoning career stands as a paradigm of rapid ascension in the music industry. She commands an impressive capacity for crafting music that defies conventional genre boundaries, captivating audiences with her profound and expressive vocal prowess. Murph’s ability to seamlessly oscillate between genres, from delivering intricate hip-hop verses to emotive, tender ballads, portends an exhilarating and venturesome musical trajectory for 2024 and beyond.
Label: Sony Music / Disrupter Records / Columbia Records
Hometown: Born in Nashville, TN but raised in Athens, Alabama
Current City: Nashville, Tennessee
Hot Release (s): “Wild Ones”; “Texas”; “Cowboys and Angels”
Musical Influences: Adele, Drake, Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, Lil Baby
If You Like: Maren Morris, Jelly Roll, Halsey
KEEP UP WITH JESSIE MURPH: www.jessiemurph.com/ www.youtube.com/@JessieMurph Socials: @JessieMurphhh