Audience members excitedly hold their phones in anticipation of Murph’s entrance. (Noor Aldayeh/Staff Writer)

Hundreds of phones wave in the air as resonating, deep bass tones and cymbal crashes ring through an intimate concert venue. Band members stand on stage, fog spilling in next to them, as the audience seems to slowly lean forward in anticipation of who is to walk onto the stage next. One more second passes, then Beatlemania-level yells reverberate all the way to the bar.

Hailing from Alabama, rising pop star Jessie Murph performed at Vinyl at Center Stage in Atlanta on Feb. 25 for her first of two sold-out shows in the city. Her first-ever headline tour in North America, the 18-year-old artist has been making waves in the pop world and online, having accumulated over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify and 8.8 million followers on TikTok.

Following the release of her debut mixtape “drowning” on Feb. 10, the young artist has been making a place for herself in the emotional side of the pop genre; many of the songs on the mixtape deal with pertinent issues such as addiction, mental health awareness and building community during difficult times.

Opening act “charlieonnafriday” preceded Murph with a similar musical style that perfectly succeeded in heightening the audience’s energy at the beginning of the night. The crowd yelled the lyrics to his songs just 15 minutes after doors opened, and they maintained that energy until the end of the show.

Though the venue was intimate, Murph’s fans were so vibrant that the crowd’s energy felt like we were standing in a venue with thousands of people. It was also wonderful to see how varied of a group the audience was — from children young enough to be in kindergarten to people old enough to be grandparents.

One of the younger members of the audience watches Murph perform. (Noor Aldayeh/Staff Writer)

Murph’s stage presence was incredibly dynamic and remained grounded and intimate even during moments of intense excitement in her more upbeat songs. Quite adorably, at the beginning of her set, Murph pointed out that her grandmother was in the crowd. It made being present at this performance feel so much  more special, as we all were experiencing the performance alongside the support system that inspired so much of her work.

Though her music style is not what I regularly listen to, I found myself very moved by Murph’s performance and evident passion in her work. How committed her crowd was to interacting with the show took me aback; whether it be filming, FaceTiming friends to show them the stage or dancing in a group, these people were constantly on the move. When Murph first stepped on stage, the ground genuinely shook with the intensity of the audience’s reactions.

I often overheard people talking about how much seeing Murph live meant to them. It was endearing to see the connection among audience members throughout the night.

Excitingly for all audience present, but especially the superfans, Murph’s set featured a prominent amount of unreleased work, such as the song “Blame Love.” Through taking on a more somber tone and discussing heavy material, it is clear that she remains committed to vulnerability in her music, regardless of what style she is emulating on stage. There were, of course, many songs from “drowning,” including crowd favorites “What Happened to Ryan” and “While You’re At It.” Her biggest hit, “Always Been You,” was a great lead-in to the end of the show, as many audience members knew the lyrics by heart and were physically swayed by the tune.

                                 Murph looks out to a sea of hands. (Noor Aldayeh/Staff Writer)

It is safe to say this set was a dynamic one. Later in the show, Murph performed a cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” which unsurprisingly got the crowd absolutely roaring. She then ended the night with “Where Do You Go,” the second song off her mixtape. She posted a snippet of the finale on her TikTok, which has already had more than 125,000 likes, with the caption “I think Atlanta might’ve been the loudest city so far.”

It was awesome to see such a young artist have such a strong impact and resonate with so many people, many of whom credit Murph with being a crutch throughout their hardships. She indeed shows immense promise for an up-and-coming artist and has already made heaps of impressive strides in the industry thus far. This debut tour seems like only the beginning of many great accomplishments to come.

+ posts

Noor Aldayeh (21Ox / 23C) is from Torrance, California, majoring in Film and Media Studies. At Emory, she serves as a student photographer for the Communications Office and Communications and Outreach chair of the Arab Cultural Association. Aldayeh previously interned at WABE in Atlanta, and loves to photograph around the city in her free time. When she's not at a concert, you can probably find her adding an excessive amount of songs to her Spotify library or doing work in her second home: the Visual Arts Building. She loves a good mocha, everything 70s, and getting as involved in the Emory and Atlanta arts scene as she can. You can contact her at: