Ray of Light - Liz Phair
Our series profiling extraordinary women who are ever-evolving in life and style.
EE: You've been busy! What inspired these recent projects?
LP: It actually goes back to the night Prince died in 2016, and a conversation I had with my manager. There was this spate of artists like Bowie and Tom Petty that had passed and I guess I wasn't emotionally prepared for my childhood idols to be leaving so soon. And my manager asked me, “Are you making the record that you would want to leave behind if it were your last?” That shook me. It was a catalyzing moment that really refocused me and I knew then I wanted to do meaningful work.
EE: And the result is a memoir and your latest album Soberish, which sounds both new and nostalgic all at once.
LP: That's what we were going for. I worked with Brad Wood, my producer on the first three records of my career. After 20 years, we both wanted to work together again—it was finally the right time. We knew we wanted the Exile in Guyville sound, and we replicated that to a great extent—but we also wanted the style to be more current.
EE: Speaking of Exile in Guyville, you created that before you became a mom. Do you ever temper anything now because of your son?
LP: (Laughs) I probably should've. Luckily, most of my family is fairly immune to what I'm doing in my artistic life. Once I had done the kind of provocative songwriting that I'd done, any children I had were gonna hear it. And to be honest, my son is better for it. He knows what art is versus real life—art is a free, expressive place and he sees my real day-to-day existence, which is not that. And he has a role model for what you can do creatively.
My son is also an artist and he actually did all the artwork for Soberish. That's his graphic design. At the EVEREVE shoot, they had all my vinyl records laid out and I was looking at the collages I did on Whip Smart and Guyville and simultaneously looking at my son's artwork and I thought, “My God, it's a family business!”
EE: How was the shoot?
LP: So much fun. The photographer was amazing, and the clothes were fantastic ... and I love fashion. It was like being princess for a day. I could not get enough of it, and I could not stop dancing.
EE: Do you have a favorite look?
LP: The Monrow black dress with the racing stripe up the side and the slit at the thigh. I guess because of COVID I have been in sweats and jeans and flowy maxi dresses, and to wear something bodycon that just fit like a glove... it was exciting. But all the outfits were great, I was so happy to wear them. The stylists were asking my opinion and I was just like “more, more, more!”
EE: It sounds like you have so much fun with fashion.
LP: Yes. At this age, I'm appreciative of trying lots of trends and trying on different versions of myself when I get dressed. That's what I love about EVEREVE; it straddles that line between keeping one foot true to you and the other is like you've-never-seen-me-like-this-before! It's wonderful to transform yourself with fashion. It's not a meaningless thing. It's not a superficial thing. It's actually very impactful on your spirit.