Where else do dreamers go, but La-La land to launch their careers?
Emerging singer, songwriter and producer, Joel Phil, is one of those aspiring many, with one single out, and a recently dropped EP, Phil is hoping to make a name for himself in English and in Spanish.
With a chiseled face and a sexy smile, Phil, 27, told the Los Angeles Blade from his publicist’s office in Hollywood, his goal isn’t to make a hit; he simply wants to make music that has meaning for him.
His latest EP, “Raise Up,” is his hope for connectedness in a much-divided world.
“The song is about accepting one another, and a community coming together. When that happens it’s much stronger than when separated,”Phil says. “But, for that to be able to happen, we have to accept one another. And the first step to accepting one another is accepting yourself,” he adds.
DespitePhil’s new arrival on the music scene, “Raise Up” came together with an all-star group of music veterans. It was produced by two-time Grammy nominee Jorge Holguin aka Pyngwi and mixed by Jaycen Joshua, an academy-praised engineer who’s gotten Grammy nods for his work on hits like “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé and “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx. In his career he’s worked on over 60 #1 albums for artists like Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Sean Combs, Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus and more.
The song was mastered by Kevin Peterson, an engineer who worked on recent gems like Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’, Chance The Rapper‘s ‘Coloring Book’ and Alicia Keys‘ ‘Here’. Kevin also mastered the highly regarded recent album from Tinashe ‘Nightride’.
Shot in the historic neighborhood La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia, Andres Sanchez — whose production company, “I See You,” has worked with such prominent Colombian artists as Bako, Juan Felipe Samper, and Cohetes, directed the video.
“It was amazing. I felt like Beyoncé,”Phil says.
Phil’s parents are immigrants to the U.S. from Spain. It’s one of the reasons he says he was inspired to the write the song.
“I was in Colombia in January of this year. Coming from a Spanish immigrant family, I didn’t want to celebrate Trump’s inauguration, and that’s where the song came from. I was glad to be out of the country. The song is a reflection of the times. The idea evolved and I thought this should be an anthem,” he says.
Phil believes that music is a vessel to send a message, but in a “sly way.”
“Look how great life could be if it was a music video all day long,” he says.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, he says shyly that his parents weren’t very supportive of his pursuing a life in music. They also haven’t been supportive of his sexuality. His look is an ambiguous gender-neutral style, but he identifies as bisexual.
“You shouldn’t put a restriction on love. You might want this person, or that person, even though society says you can only have one. We’re all bisexual at heart. Society just makes certain things taboo,” he says.
He says he’s been compared to George Michael, and that’s fine he adds… “He’s dead. I’m happy to replace him.” But the artistPhil admires and hopes to immolate (without the drugs) is the late singer, Amy Winehouse. “I love old school music from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s — she was the perfect mash-up of old and new. I like that, because I don’t want to be characterized in any one genre. I just want to make music,”Phil says pointedly.
Ultimately, the young singer, who got his start playing bit parts on Broadway, has more long-term aspirations than simply “making heartfelt music.”Phil says his goal, ambitious as it is, is to bring people together to make real change.
“The LGBTQ community is great symbolism; like the African American community coming together. Now, it’s the LGBTQ community coming together to help make real change. This isn’t a marketing ploy. It’s a symbolic thing. This community is the one you see come together and create real change for itself,” he says.
He is already working on new music for his next EP. This time it will be less political and more personal, he says. He has plans to go on tour… but not without his petite Pomeranian, Sam, toted along in a chic black leather bag. The two haven’t hit the big time yet, but for now,Phil is spreading the “Raise Up” message, and hoping to make big things happen in a world that could certainly use a bit of hope and a lot of unity.