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Thread started 12/21/05 2:20pm

smchadwic

Mike Phillips

Saxophone players are not unusual to the world of music but when you find one whose influences have stemmed from his love of Hip Hop plus traditional jazz music, you got something pretty special on your hands. To be exact, you have an ''Uncommon Denominator'' that is indivisible by anything that doesn't equate to the love of music.
I caught up with Hidden Beach Recording Artist Mike Phillips one Tuesday evening while he was on the road in Cleveland, OH and we ''chopped it up'' about the music game, his dedication there of and his passion for keeping the arts alive.

Sheila Chadwick (S) – Michael, how are you?

Mike Phillips (MP) – I'm good, I'm good.

S – Cool. I'm glad that I finally caught up to you. How's your daughter?

MP – Oh she's fine. I was just on the phone talking to her. You know I got to talk to her.

S – How old is she?

MP – Seven

S – Oh yeah, I remember. I had ''two'' seven year olds at the same time so I know how that is.

MP – Yep! That's my daughter singing on the last song on my CD. I'm actually going to pick up a tape of her singing her first solo in church.

S – Wow, so I see whose following in whose footsteps.

MP – Yep, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

S – Well let's talk and let me take it back to the beginning. What influenced your decision to become a musician? How did that happen?

MP – It felt natural. It's always about things feeling right. I rented an instrument. I played in church. I just practiced a lot. I played by ear. I tried to follow Coltrane and Dexter Gordon. I had my first gig at the age of 17 and if felt good to work and get paid. I was playing in clubs and I was so glad because I was following my dream.

S – So how did you manage to get in the clubs at 17?

MP – I told them I was in college. They didn't trip. They'd pay me $10 to get home and I was happy because I was doing what I liked and then I knew that I wanted to do this for a living. When a career can feel like a hobby, it's a career!

S – So is this career what you always wanted?

MP – I didn't care what it took, I wanted to do this for a living.

S – I've met and spoken with some musicians and singers who knew from the start that they'd end up someday working along side the artist that they most admired. Did you always know or feel that you'd end up working with people like Stevie Wonder or Prince?

MP – No, no, not me! I was with Stevie in Paris and it just blows me away. Stevie called me and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and I hung up the phone like wow that was Stevie! Indulging in another's art form is a privilege because I am absorbing in the perspective of their genius.

S – Wow, that's a hell of a statement, very profound.

MP – Being around people like Stevie and Prince is a whole other level of pinching your self. It's an honor…for real because I know that I am in the mist of greatness.

S – Prince said your playing made him want to ''rise up'' to it when he went back on stage at one particular concert. How did it make you feel to hear him say that?

MP – At first, I just froze. It was almost unbelievable. I take the compliment…actually, any compliment in the highest regard. Having a gift is like owning a pearl. When you have a precious gemstone you treasure it and your careful of how you handle it. Like that pearl, I try to keep my gift (because that's what it is) centered around people who appreciate it just like reserving that pearl to the highest esteem. I want to be around people that value the music.

S – You can't help but to value the music you play. It's so beautiful and your very talented, to say the least. Now I know you're on the road and I don't want to take up too much of your time.

MP – Oh no, it's cool. We got to talk about Uncommon Denominator.

S – Ok, cool. So explain to me what that term, ''Uncommon Denominator'' meant to you with regard to your using it as the title of this project?

MP – This title is about understanding that I don't want to sound like anyone else. My style is like taking two uncommon situations of loving Hip Hop and traditional jazz and both to allowing me to express my love for each in my way. It's about having no one control my style.

S – Is that what you found at Hidden Beach meaning, a label that allows you to do you?

MP – Hidden Beach was a blessing. They allowed me to do me and stay true to myself. I am 100% happy there.

S – So are you pleased with the way your CD is going and the response so far?

MP – Yes, I am very pleased with the way my CD is going. It's about growth and being different. I grow the foundation on a daily basis.

S – So you are performing in Chicago this weekend at the Parkwest, on Armitage Avenue along with Will Downing and Regina Belle and I know this because I made my plans weeks ago to be there.

MP – So you're coming out?

S – Oh yes sir, I'll be there! I love you, Will's my man and Regina Belle is just the bomb. That's going to be an amazing show. I interviewed Will in October so to have all three of you on one show is going to be a treat, to say the least. How did you get hooked up on that show?

MP – I'm actually on tour doing several shows and Will called me and asked if I'd like to open up for him.

S – So were you guy's friends?

MP – We'd always bump into each other. I sat in on a couple of gigs with him and we talked about trying to do something together.

S – Wow, so this must have been meant to be. So do you have a lot of dates or some breaks in between?

MP – I'm actually touring like crazy. I'm out with Venus and Serena Williams on the U.S. Open Ronald McDonald House charity tour and I'm also involved with the Sax in The Schools project. I go out and talk to kids about music with hope so motivating them. It's hard because so many schools have cut their programs.

S – We (WOTS) have recently ''adopted'' an organization called Music in Schools Today for that same reason. The plan is to develop something to raise funds to donate to them. Both of my daughter's are in band so I know the importance of having music in schools.

MP – So what do they play?

S – One is on the flute and the other plays the Alto Sax.

MP – I was gonna say that somebody was gonna have to give up their instrument if either one wasn't playing a sax!

S – Well, that's what they picked. I commend you for doing that.

MP - Everything that I involve myself in is for a purpose. You just gotta give back. It's the only way you receive.

S – Yep, you are right about that. Now I also happen to know that you are the first jazz musician to have a sneaker endorsement by a major manufacturer. Did I get that right?

MP – Well, the story is that I met Michael Jordan from my performing the National Anthem at some of the NBA games and he approached me with the thought that it would be cool to have someone else who wasn't an athlete to represent his line. I started that 5 years ago with the Air Jordan 17.

S – Dang, you just got it going on all the way around!

MP – I'm blessed.

S – So tell me, what is your biggest pet peeve?

MP – I don't like people touching my horn. My horn is like an extension of my body.

S – Whoa, that's deep. Ok, one last question. Give me one word to describe Mike Phillips.

MP – Passionate.

S – What are you passionate about?

MP – Everything. With what I do, you gotta be.

S – Mike, I really enjoyed talking to you.

MP – Same here. This wasn't like an ''interview''. It was more of a conversation.

S – That's how I try to make it. Well, Thanks again and I'll see you Sunday at the show.

MP – Most definitely.



Visit Mike's website at http://www.hiddenbeachmed...illips.htm



C 2005 Sheila Chadwick for Word On The Street http://www.thewots.info



© 2005 Word On The Street. All Rights reserved worldwide. Word On The Street is for entertainment purposes only. Word On The Street, its Administrator, it's Moderator(s), is not liable for failure to monitor or edit messages sent over the Services. Word On The Street does not endorse the content of users' communications and does not assume liability for any threatening, libelous, obscene, harassing or offensive material contained therein, User is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of user's passwords and for all activities which occur under user's account. All information provided by Sheila Chadwick on behalf of Word On The Street is for personal use only. No commercial exploitation of anything contained herein may take place without prior written permission from Sheila Chadwick. Material contained herein may not be re-sold, loaned, hired, exchanged, bartered or in any other way re-distributed in any other manner whatsoever.
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Reply #1 posted 12/21/05 4:41pm

Anxiety

thanks for this!
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Reply #2 posted 12/21/05 5:23pm

sosgemini

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great interview...you really provided Phillips with the oppurtunity to share who he really is..

and you didnt fall into numero uno trap most reporters do when interviewing prince associated artist, "tell us about your working w/ prince".

lol
Space for sale...
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Reply #3 posted 12/21/05 6:32pm

GustavoRibas

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Great...loved the interview...he seems to be a real nice guy
Peace
Gustavo Ribas
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Reply #4 posted 12/21/05 11:04pm

tamaranow

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The interview was interesting and informative.
"Loved Mike's words."
"Having a gift is like owning a pearl. When you have a precious gemstone you treasure it and your careful of how you handle it. Like that pearl, I try to keep my gift (because that's what it is) centered around people who appreciate it just like reserving that pearl to the highest esteem. I want to be around people that value the music."


Thanks 4 ur X posting this.

typing merry xmas to u, urs and all.
i love you for who you are, not the one u feel u need to be.
My star shines bright ....even in the darkest night...star
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Reply #5 posted 12/21/05 11:37pm

prettymansson

kool
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Reply #6 posted 12/22/05 5:52am

1nitealone

Cool little pic of him with prince on his site!
U gonna have 2 fight ure own damn war cuz we dont wanna fight no more!!
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Reply #7 posted 12/22/05 6:36am

mzflash

Nice interview cool Thanks
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Reply #8 posted 12/22/05 7:01am

CandaceS

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Thanks! I only got to see Mike play live one time on the Musicology tour (Reno, the first night) but I really enjoyed his fantastic performance of God. I still remember him holding that one note forever, and the audience reaction that got...which is what Prince was talking about! nod
"I would say that Prince's top thirty percent is great. Of that thirty percent, I'll bet the public has heard twenty percent of it." - Susan Rogers, "Hunting for Prince's Vault", BBC, 2015
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Reply #9 posted 12/22/05 8:24pm

psychodelicide

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Damn, Mike Phillips was just in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio?? How did I miss it?? sad
RIP, Prince. A legend has left us, and you will be forever missed. cry

"She probably found her vagina". lol
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Reply #10 posted 02/03/06 9:19am

smchadwic

Apparently, I need to change my set up because I didn't even know you all replied. Thanks a bunch for the kind words. Mike is amazing. Interviewing him was a blessing and I can totally related to what Prince said about him because it's true. He captivates his audience. If you don't know of him and you see him you will walk away never forgetting him.
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