In the early 90’s, I moved to Houston, after leaving Grambling State University where I was a bass drum player in the Marching Tiger band. I had dreams of being a songwriter, producer and artist manager. I loved writing and working with other artist. I never cared for the spotlight. I always wanted to help other people shine. That was part of the reason I did much of the work I did musically back then.
When I moved to H-Town I began to work with a guy named Matthew Knowles. Matthew would have me sit in his living room and write songs for and rehearse his girls group which included one of his daughters. We’ll just say her name rhymes with Sheyonce’. After a little while with Matthew and working with his artists, he thought it would be a good idea for me to become lead singer of a group that he was managing. I ended up joining the group; we called ourselves Adagio. This is us in the picture above and that is me, the guy on the far left with the hat to the back. We traveled, we did artist showcases, we opened for some of the best and had a ball being young and singing in a group back in the 90’s.
After my time with Adagio, I moved on as a solo artist (my stage name was Phaz – like Phase without the “e” – lol) and hooked up with a local label JamDown Entertainment. Shortly after I signed, we signed a local artist who was killing the streets and the Southern region named Lil KeKe. Ke and I hit it off right off the back. So much so, I sang dang near all the hooks they could think to put me on back then.
I recently got a chance to catch up with one of my fellow former members of Adagio and talking about all we did musically some 20 or more years ago really brought some things home for me. That discussion reminded me why what we do through Dirty South Club is so important to me.
You see, Matthew Knowles taught me a great deal about the music business and business in general. JamDown Entertainment gave me an opportunity to experience being a solo artist, but Don Ke (lil KeKe) gave me something of value that many of us want. He gave me the opportunity to be heard and celebrated. He was the guy who insisted I sing his hooks. The guy who said, this cat has something special and I want everyone to experience with me. Guess you could say, he believed in me and thought I deserved an opportunity to shine.
It’s in the spirit of what Ke did for me that is part of the motivation behind doing what I can to celebrate others and giving them a platform to be heard and celebrated, especially here in the Dirty South.
The crew here at the club thought it would be good to share the motivation behind what drives me to do what I do through D$C. To share why this undertaking is so dear to me. It’s because it’s personal on many levels. I believe folks deserve to be heard and celebrated and I believe the Dirty South is that place that I’ve been assigned to showcase because of my love for it. Hopefully we continue to do that in creative and great fashion — for a long time.
Thanks for rockin’ with us kinfolk,