During the past six months, pop singer/songwriter Em Beihold has emerged as a talented young artist to watch. She has made a strong impact with her unique, catchy single “Numb Little Bug,” which has become a Top 20 hit on Billboard Hot 100 chart and is still moving up. Notably, she has signed a label deal with Republic Records (in partnership with Moon Projects) and she’s just released her new EP, called Eggs in the Backseat.
Beihold, who is 23, is a singer, songwriter & pianist who is based in Los Angeles. She has a distinctive musical style, a charismatic singing voice, and she writes creative, imaginative songs. She’s also becoming known for her fun, colorful lyrics and her fresh storytelling.
Beihold is part of a new generation of artists who are using social media to great advantage in promoting their music. In the past two years, two of her songs—“City of Angels” and “Groundhog Day”—went viral after she posted short videos of these songs on TikTok. Beihold became popular on TikTok, and her videos of “Numb Little Bug” received huge exposure on this platform and propelled the single onto several charts. Impressively, she now has 681,000 followers on TikTok and 123,000 followers on Instagram.
Her new EP, Eggs in the Backseat, is an excellent collection of seven songs that displays Beihold’s songwriting skills and music creativity. Besides “Numb Little Bug,” other highlights include the title cut, “Goo,” the hooky “12345,” “Too Precious” and “Porcelain.” She collaborated on this EP with several songwriters & producers including Nick Lopez & Dru DeCaro (on “Numb Little Bug”), Dallas Caton, Alexandra Veltri, Michael Coleman and James Khaleb.
Prior to her success with “Numb Little Bug” and her songs “City of Angels” and “Groundhog Day,” Beihold independently released in 2017 her first EP, Infrared. She also attended and subsequently graduated from UC San Diego.
Here’s the video of Em Beihold’s hit, “Numb Little Bug.”
Beihold recently celebrated the release of her EP by performing a live show at The Echo club in Los Angeles. Then in October, she will be launching a major tour as the opening act for King Princess. In addition, she has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Sony Music Publishing.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Em Beihold. She tells how she got started in the music business, and how she wrote her hit “Numb Little Bug.” She also discusses the making of her EP, Eggs in the Backseat.
DK: I read that you’re from Los Angeles. How did you get started with music and playing piano?
Em Beihold: I was born in L.A. and I was always surrounded by the music scene. My parents would take me to the Hollywood Bowl for shows and stuff like that. Then when I was 6, I saw a piano in the window of a store, and I wanted to play it, because I thought cool kids knew how to play instruments. I later learned that it wasn’t necessarily true.
When I was around 7, I started writing songs because I hated practicing so much. I would play classical music and start goofing off and see what chords I could make from those notes. I basically started writing from there. And I liked writing lyrics—it became my therapy and my favorite thing to do.
DK: Around 2017, you released your independent EP called Infrared. Can you talk about your early years as a singer/songwriter and making that EP?
Beihold: I was fortunate to have a piano teacher who not only had a studio in his house, but he was a big influence to me. He showed me a lot of music like Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor, who are two of my favorite influences to this day. So we wrote some of the songs together for that EP, and I wrote some of the other songs alone. Then we recorded the songs in his studio. He produced them in front of me, and I would make notes and it was a big learning experience.
DK: In the past two years, you’ve made an impact with your songs “City of Angels” and “Groundhog Day.” Can you talk about these songs and starting to become known?
Here’s the video of Em Beihold’s song, “Too Precious.”
Beihold: During the pandemic, I had downloaded TikTok kind of begrudingly, because my friends were on it. I didn’t think much could happen from it (laughs). I remember posting covers of some Dua Lipa songs and I think had 10 followers, but it got about 3,000 views. So I started posting all my original snippets of songs that I would normally just keep in my voice memos. And I would put the lyrics on the screen, and most of them didn’t take off and that was fine. I was just doing it for fun. But then “City of Angels” got 300,000 views. At the time, it was crazy because I couldn’t keep up with my phone notifications. So I posted more snippets on TikTok, and “Groundhog Day” was the next one. And it’s interesting to tease these ideas, because you can see what connects before finishing the whole song.
DK: You’ve talked about TikTok, and you now have almost 700,000 followers. So has TikTok been instrumental in helping to break your songs and your career?
Beihold: Yeah with TikTok, you can get your stuff in front of eyes that would have never seen it. The fact that I can post a video from my bedroom and millions of people can see it is crazy. But I’ve always been at my core a songwriter, and I’ve would have been using any medium that’s available (laughs). I don’t ever want to be seen as a TikTok artist because my music started way before that. But I do think it’s been monumentally helpful.
DK: Currently, you’re having a breakthrough hit with “Numb Little Bug.” Can you tell the story behind writing this song?
Beihold: When “Groundhog Day” was going viral, all these doors opened up very quickly for sessions and label talks and publishing talks. And it was everything I wanted, but it was overwhelming in the way it was happening. I was doing two sessions a day at the time and getting burned out. And I was talking to my mom, and saying “Everything I’ve ever wanted is happening, but I don’t feel happy as I expected to.” She was like, “That’s a little ungrateful of you.” And I said “No, it’s not that I’m a little ungrateful.” I wanted to find the words to describe it to her and hence came “Numb Little Bug.” Then I was driving and the beginning of the chorus came to me, and I took a little voice memo while I was driving. From there, I came home and I wrote the first verse and chorus pretty quickly. I brought it into a session the next day and finished it with my co-writers and producers.
Here’s the lyric video of Em Beihold’s song, “12345.”
DK: You’ve just released your new EP, Egg in the Backseat. Can you talk about the making of this EP?
Beihold: I had a session last August with Dallas Caton, who produced “Numb Little Bug,” and this girl named Alex Veltri. Normally, when you have a session with new people, the point is more to meet them and see if you vibe, than write a song that you love a lot. But we wrote “12345” in a day, and then the next day we wrote “Porcelain.” I think it’s pretty rare to find people where you can write some of your favorite music in no time, because you’re on the same creative wavelength.
For the songs on the EP that we did together, I don’t know if thematically there’s something that ties it all together. But I would go in the studio and tell them what I was going through that day, and we would turn it into a track, and I loved how it turned out.
DK: Besides “Numb Little Bug,” what are your favorite songs on your EP?
Beihold: I would probably say “Goo.” And I love “12345.” And “Porcelain”—it’s kind of a weird one but I like it for that reason.
DK: I’ve noticed with your songwriting that you like to come up with unique song titles such as “Numb Little Bug,” “Egg in the Backseat” and “Goo.” How do you come up with your titles and write your lyrics?
Beihold: When I’m writing the songs, I don’t like to take the titles too seriously. When we were writing “Goo,” the beginning part of the song goes, “My mind is a little bit like Goo, always comin’ back to you.” So we titled the Google Docs “Goo,” and then by the end of the session it was like, “Why change it?” So that encapsulates (laughs) what we’re talking about in the song. With “Egg in the Backseat,” it was a joke lyric that I suggested, and then Dallas and Alex were like, “No, we should actually go for it.” So we went for it. I feel that a lot of people like to have dramatic titles for their albums or EPs. But I like it to seem light and fun, and not overthink it.
DK: In October, you’ll be launching a concert tour in the U.S. with King Princess. Can you talk about your upcoming shows?
Here’s the video of Em Beihold’s song, “Groundhog Day.”
Beihold: My first experiences of really playing live was this year. Before, I had done acoustic open mics and stuff, but never with performing tracks and everything. Then all of a sudden because of “Numb Little Bug,” I went on tour opening for Anson Seabra and I did some radio shows that were for thousands of people. So it’s definitely been a crash course in performing (laughs). With King Princess, that came together quickly. One of my managers texted me and asked, “What do you think of King Princess?” And I said, “I think she’s so cool.” Then they said, “What do you think about opening for her?” And I was like, “Are you kidding? Let’s go for it.”
DK: You’re doing very well with your music career and “Numb Little Bug” is a big hit. So to new songwriters and artists who will be reading this article, what advice can you give them to follow the path that you’ve had?
Beihold: I would definitely say to have persistence, because what I was saying with TikTok, I had songs that went viral, but there were a lot that didn’t. And it could be easy for me to feel, “Well I had my moments and now it’s over.” You love songwriting, not for the validation but because the way the process makes you feel. So I would say always keep going and if something happens that’s great, but you can’t do it just for something to happen.
DK: These days, all the social media—TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook—seem to be part of the strategy for new artists to have success. You have to use those outlets to get your music out there.
Beihold: It’s true. I have a friend who swears she’s gonna make it without TikTok, and I said “That’s not how it works” (laughs). Now that I’ve learned about the industry, all the eyes are truly on TikTok. So you gotta do it.