Elizabeth Clark “Liz” Phair (born April 17, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. Phair began her career in the early 1990s by self-releasing audio cassettes under the moniker Girly Sound, before signing with the independent record label Matador Records.
Her 1993 debut studio album “Exile in Guyville” was released in 1993. Produced by Brad Wood, the album received widespread critical acclaim. The release of Phair's second album received substantial media attention and an advertising blitz. “Whip-Smart” debuted at #27 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart in 1994 and the first single, “Supernova,” became a Top 10 Modern Rock hit, and the video was frequently featured on MTV. The album received mixed reviews, and although it was certified gold, it ultimately did not sell as well as expected, as it was hoped the album would introduce Phair to a wider, more mainstream audience.
Following “Whip-Smart,” Phair released “Juvenilia” in 1995, a collection of some early Girly Sound tracks and several B-sides, including her cover of the 1980s song by The Vapors, “Turning Japanese.”
Phair's third album, entitled “Whitechocolatespaceegg,” was finally released in 1998 after some delays, which included a disagreement about content. At one point, the label rejected the album as submitted, and asked Phair to write a few additional radio-friendly songs for the set. The album displayed a more mature Phair. The single “Polyester Bride” received some airplay, but the album was no more successful than her previous records.
In 2003, her self-titled fourth album was released on her new label, Capitol Records. Phair had not released an album in several years, during which time she had been working on her record, as well as making guest appearances on other tracks including lending backing vocals to the 2002 Sheryl Crow hit “Soak Up the Sun.” “Liz Phair” included four songs crafted by the production team known as The Matrix (best known as songwriters for Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne) at the request of Capitol. The album received many negative reviews, especially from the independent music press, who accused Phair of selling out by making the record very pop-oriented. The debut single “Why Can't I?,” co-written by The Matrix, did reach the Top 40 charts in North America.
“Somebody's Miracle,” Phair's fifth album and final album with Capitol Records, was released in October 2005. The album returned to a more traditional rock sound, mixing the mood of Phair's earlier work with a more mellow sound. The album received mixed reviews and was not a chart success.
Phair signed with ATO Records in early 2008 and re-released “Exile in Guyville” in June 2008. The special reissue package included three never-before-released songs from the original recording sessions, “Ant in Alaska,” “Say You” and an untitled instrumental.
Phair's first studio album after leaving Capitol Records, “Funnystyle” was released independently in 2010.