The couple, who have been married since 2011, wrote the funny pop number together and called the opportunity a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."
A Canadian musician and record label executive, Versteeg is well-known in music circles for spotting up-and-coming indie acts. He owns his own music label and is involved in launching the careers of many new artists. Versteeg is also a major proponent of creating more mental health resources for musicians.
Here's everything to know about Menno Versteeg and his relationship with Annie Murphy.
He's a successful Canadian musician
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty
Before Murphy shot to fame portraying Alexis on Schitt's Creek, Versteeg was the more famous of the two — his successful career as the frontman of Canadian indie band Hollerado garnered national praise.
In 2019, Hollerado announced their final album and Versteeg switched gears to focus on his role in the Canadian supergroup Anyway Gang, featuring Sam Roberts, another well-known Canadian musician.
"We all respect each other's writing so much," Versteeg told PEOPLE. "It's nice to go into smaller rooms and kind of be starting from zero."
He co-writes songs with Annie Murphy
While Murphy has writing credits on several Hollerado songs, the couple is best known for co-writing "A Little Bit Alexis," the runaway hit from Schitt's Creek that reached No. 21 on Billboard's dance music sales chart in March 2019.
"It was one of the most fun things to work on," said Versteeg. "It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences."
Per Versteeg, Murphy originally asked Schitt's Creek creator Dan Levy if they could write the song after seeing the script. "He was like, 'You know, be my guest. But let's get a professional or whatever,' " recounted Versteeg. "We were like, 'We are professionals. Excuse me.' "
The musician tapped Hollerado bandmate Nixon Boyd to help craft the hit, which he described as "a legit banger." The song is a parody of "Work Bitch" by Britney Spears. "In this genre of parody and comedy, it's totally fair game," said Versteeg.
He admitted he laughs "all the time" at the irony that "A Little Bit Alexis" is his biggest hit considering his lengthy music career.
His and Murphy's apartment once burned down
The couple had a close brush with catastrophe in 2013 when the Toronto apartment they shared went up in flames.
Both were safe after the blaze and Murphy opened up about the experience years later on The Kelly Clarkson Show. "Just before Schitt's Creek, things were quite bleak," Murphy said. "My house had just burnt down, I had like, $3 in my bank account, I hadn't worked in close to two years. And I had just blown my very first screen test — like blown it, blown it, blown it."
Two days later Murphy auditioned for Schitt's Creek.
He's passionate about supporting local charities
Both Murphy and Versteeg are creative about finding ways to raise support for charities they care about.
"I was going through a drawer and I found the original, handwritten lyrics to 'A Little Bit Alexis' on a paper plate. So Annie auctioned that off," Versteeg revealed. The funds went to local shelters during the pandemic in their hometown of Toronto.
Versteeg then decided to auction some of his own memorabilia. "I had these original cassette recordings on actual tapes that I only made one of that I thought were kind of cool," he said. "They were just some cover songs." He auctioned them to benefit the Art for Aid Project, which supports art education.
"It's nice to spread [awareness] around in any way you can," he added.
He owns a record label
Menno Versteeg Instagram
Versteeg co-founded Toronto-based Royal Mountain Records, known for signing indie darlings Mac Demarco and Orville Peck, in addition to Ultra Q, fronted by Jakob Armstrong, whose dad is Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day.
The record label owner began working with Jakob when the upcoming rocker was 20 years old. "The kid is just a sponge," he said. "He's found his own voice and far surpassed anything we could add to it."
After 20 years of touring, Versteeg said he found the switch to developing new artists "very satisfying," saying, "Mentoring sounds a little bit heavy-handed, but I tell about stories and experiences, so hopefully some of that rubs off on these bands so they don't have to make the same mistakes as many times as I did."
He married Murphy in 2011
Annie Murphy Instagram
While the two are purposefully quiet about their relationship, Murphy posted a sweet tribute to her husband on their anniversary, calling him her "boyfriend for life."
Versteeg rarely posts about Murphy, but did share a photo of her to mark her birthday in 2018, saying, "Happy bday to this bad ass betch who's idea of a romantic birthday dinner is a buffalo chicken wrap and $4.50 tall boys of Molson Canadian at Gabby's."
He's a major proponent of mental health initiatives
Murphy and Versteeg have both experienced their own struggles with depression — which led Versteeg to develop a fund for artists signed to his label to help them access mental health care.
"I really struggled for a while on the road, and there's not a lot of help out there," Versteeg told PEOPLE. He shared how the rollercoaster of emotions in the entertainment industry can be difficult to navigate. "It's just up and down, up and down, and you're surrounded by drugs and alcohol. It's a really tough existence."
After Murphy was cast in Schitt's Creek, Versteeg was in a position to seek professional mental health help for the first time in his career. "I couldn't afford it until Annie got her job," Versteeg said. "Living off musician salaries, you can't afford it."
After seeking mental health support for himself, Versteeg decided he wanted to pay it forward to the artists he works with.
"The mental health fund comes out of our own pocket," he said. "It's not recoupable to the bands. It's confidential. I don't know who uses it," he said.
He enjoys gardening
Annie Murphy Instagram
"I've always joked that if plans A, B, C, or D don't work out, my plan E is to open a flower shop," he said, noting his parents are "big gardeners" and it's something he's trying to get into.
"I'm working on an herb garden and flowers," he added, explaining he was in the process of planting a memorial flower for his parents' dog Reggie. "I have to do it as a tribute," he said.