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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: Jessie Murph left Nashville in tears after raw and vulnerable show

Jessie Murph brought her sold-out “Drowning Tour” to The Basement East, where she performed her viral TikTok hits and future releases

As a massive fan of sad-girl-pop, I quickly became obsessed with Jessie Murph’s music this past fall when I saw her open for Sasha Alex Sloan’s “I Blame The World Tour.” Although Murph was only 17 then, I could tell she was a natural star. Her incredible control of the crowd and ease on stage would take her far.  

She proved me right when her headlining tour sold out within minutes after its announcement. Additionally, only two years after the release of her first song, “Upgrade,” she has already amassed over 5 million monthly Spotify listeners and 8.8 million TikTok followers. It is clear that Murph is taking over the music industry by storm and is sure to go far. 

As soon as I arrived at The Basement East, I spotted many fans wearing pajamas since Murph posted on her Instagram story that Nashville would be a PJ-themed show. I arrived two hours before the show to try and get a good spot, but the line was already wrapped around the entire venue. While waiting in line, fans’ dedication proved that an incredible night was ahead of us. I learned that people came from all over to see the rising star — one told me she drove seven hours. Even fans who couldn’t secure tickets still came out to support. 

“[Jessie is] going to save the universe,” a fan screamed while standing on the roof of her car in the parking lot next to the venue. 

The show opened with charlieonnafriday, another young artist quickly gaining fame. Charlieonnafriday, whose real name is Charlie Finch, had an incredible set, including his songs “Enough,” “After Hours” and “Colorado Boulder.” After his set ended, Finch stood by the merch booth to meet fans, and a line quickly built up.

Murph’s set began with an introduction played by her band members Nolan Frank on keys, Yotam Weiss on drums and Jessie’s brother, Garrett Murph, on guitar. The crowd was already full of energy, but fans managed to scream even louder when Murph ran on stage in black silk pajamas and a black cowboy hat. I could never have imagined pajamas and a country-western staple looking cute together in an outfit, but she looked stunning. 

Murph began with her song “I Would’ve,” which went viral on TikTok after its release in 2022 and continued to play 19 other songs throughout the night. A few of these were unreleased, and fans were excited to hear what Murph has been working on since her debut album, “Drowning,” released on Feb. 10, 2023. 

I should’ve brought tissues because Murph brought me to tears three times throughout her set. Her song “What Happened To Ryan,” which is about losing someone to addiction, touched the hearts of many in the audience. After she ended the song, Murph noticed one fan in the front row crying. In response to her asking from the stage if she was okay, the fan held up an image of someone she had lost through a similar battle and told Murph their name.

Despite the tears from myself and many others in the crowd, Murph brought the energy back up with a cover of Nashville-staple Lady A’s “Need You Now.” Throughout the set, Murph pointed the microphone at fans so they could sing along and also recorded a clip of everyone singing to add to the day-in-the-life TikTok she was filming. Among the crowd, I spotted Gabe Simon, the incredible writer behind some of Murph’s most popular hits, including “How Could You,” “Pray,” and “I Would’ve.”

Murph’s last song in the set was her hit “Always Been You,” which has already amassed over 100 million streams on Spotify. However, after leaving the stage, she returned for a two-song encore. The first, “How Could You,” brought the audience to tears again. It tells her story of being sexually assaulted and taken advantage of. Her lyrics describe the anger, pain and fear she experienced. 

Murph ended the show with her favorite song from her new album — “Where Do You Go.” The song describes dealing with the darkness of depression and feeling alone, no matter how much you try to find a home. Fans passionately screamed the lyric, “I’m not the same girl that you had in your Chevy,” and Murph noted she would be compiling videos of fans screaming that lyric at every show. 

Jessie Murph looks up while performing, photographed on Feb. 24, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
(Sara West)

Shortly after Murph’s set ended, she came out to meet fans, take pictures and even sign foreheads. During the show, Murph announced she would be moving to Nashville after the tour ended, so I am excited to see her play in Music City again soon. 

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About the Contributor
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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