Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Phair was adopted at birth and raised primarily in the Chicago area. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1990, she attempted to start a musical career in San Francisco, California, but returned to her home in Chicago, where she began self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly Sound. The tapes led to a recording contract with the independent record label Matador Records.
One angry man wrote this about Elizabeth Clarck on Forumdvdtalk: I'm really sick of these people who think they are entitled to get good reviews. You know something Liz, not everyone is going to like your music!! Get over yourself!! I bought Liz Phair's first album, and I thought it was complete crap! For someone who would most likely be waiting tables she needs to show a little more humility and gratitude toward the people who actually DO like her music.