By Kristen Hawley | 15 March, 2023
The release of her 2022 single, “Numb Little Bug” that blew up on TikTok before hitting mainstream radio waves, made Em Beihold a viral sensation. With a hook like “Do you ever get a little bit tired of life?/ Like you’re not really happy, but you don’t want to die?”, instantly struck a chord with listeners. In a post pandemic lockdown world, openly speaking about how heavy and numbing the world has become, Em said our most inner thoughts out loud.
“Numb Little Bug'' skyrocketed Em to internet fame which brought on a roller coaster of emotions. The whirlwind of incredible highs and deflating lows turned her mind into a pressure cooker. Artists like Em try to balance being present with the moment that their success has given them, while also answering inevitable questions from the label, the fans, and the public of “What’s coming next?” This specifically happened with the release of “Numb Little Bug.” The song went viral, and the pressure seeped in to make sure that the momentum kept building.
While the pressure is both difficult and exhilarating, she notes the importance of continuing to work, staying grounded, and surrounding yourself with those that love you. Her biggest reset came from a writing trip in Palm Springs that brought peace and contentment. She was in the moment, not letting the outside noise cloud her head. This trip let Em reflect that a highlight in her career, like a viral song, will enviably end, but doesn’t mean she is not worthy anymore. She also reminds herself that career highlights will pass and it’s not a reflection on her or her value as an artist, but rather a testament to the saying, “that’s showbiz” – a lesson many artists learn in time. But, Em continues to work hard at keeping a balanced mind.
With the release of her latest single, “Roller Coasters Make Me Sad”, she responds to the crazy success that “Numb Little Bug '' brought on. She sat with the song’s concept for a while before going on tour. And when she returned in May 2022, tour exhaustion didn’t slow her down. She scheduled the session to write the song due to her overwhelming excitement.
The song was sparked from an interesting conversation between Em and her songwriting collaborators about how theme parks and the music industry relate. Em shared when she gets to the top of the roller coaster, right before the drop, she doesn’t get scared or excited. She gets depressed. While most people would be confused, since roller coasters are a thrilling adrenaline rush, her collaborators understood what she meant based on how she described the music industry.
In other words, the grind and uphill battle to get noticed, to get high streaming numbers, and to have your shot at success is an exciting moment that is laced with euphoria — the ride is about to start. The fun is about to begin.
But, as an artist whose success came from virality, it can be the most depressing time. Your stomach is in knots from the anticipation of the drop, your heart sinks as you’re about to come down from the highest you’ve ever been. And, of course, the comedown is harder than the climb up. The life of a recording artist is a constant, never-ending roller coaster of chasing the highs that the industry can offer - a hit song, dream collaborations, exposure, and breaking records, - and the devastating lows - social media, bullying, comparisons, and questioning your self-worth and talent.
In the track, she sings “First they take you up the track/Build you up then take it back.” She correlates a rollercoaster ride to feeling like the industry controls when it gives and takes her success and connection. My personal favorite line is “I should be having fun” which Em repeats urgently. Her voice grows as if with each rounding corner and slight drop of the ride, her sinking feeling is getting worse despite the notion that her career should only consist of highs.The track embodies a sense of speed and lack of control which plays well with Em’s correlation to the music industry. While she should be having fun since it’s her dream, it’s understandable how the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of the music industry can cause some nausea.
Another career landmark is rapidly approaching Em, as she gears up for a spring tour with Lewis Capaldi. With “Roller Coasters Make Me Sad” officially released, the potential release of an accompanying music video and upcoming tour dates, Em is racing full-speed up the track to the top of this roller coaster. And hopefully fans are buckled up for what’s coming next.