In the Phone Booth with Phoenix

Phoenix

Phoenix

By: Gordie Tamayo

The streets of DC are known as grooming grounds for several of boxing’s greats. It were these same streets where trainer Barry Hunter found 11-year old Lamont Peterson and his brother homeless, took them in and developed their survival skills within the gym. And although a life of ‘normality’ appeared to be anti-Peterson from the gate, in retrospect we are reminded that there was something destined beyond struggling on the District. Something Barry Hunter must have saw also.

Unknowingly to Peterson at the time, it was the same type of familiarity from the streets (solitude, fearlessness and determination) that would make the fight-game the next logical transition. Almost two decades later, Peterson still keeps his inner-circle small and continues to amass a solid track record of relentless work ethic and putting on a good fight.

We can see similar traits in R&B songstress Danielle Marie Green, otherwise known as Phoenix. The 22-year old Boston native has had her fair share of adversity away from the mic; overcoming homelessness and alcoholism were only part of the battle. But through those experiences, she would discover some of her most honest material and inspiration to date.

One look at Phoenix is enough to encourage a double-take and one preview of her vocals, creates hope that the track is on repeat just to indulge once again. She is unequivocally as blessed with carrying a tune as she is eye-candy, which was more than enough to attract the attention of NFL star Raheem Brock who when they met, was in the midst of starting an independent imprint label.

Brock was able to flex some of his celebrity muscle to align Phoenix with other industry song writers/producers and the rest as they say, was history. The partnership led to the release of her first solo mix-tape “Concrete Love” and Phoenix has been on the warpath since. A student of classical, opera and jazz, Phoenix is well versed in the intricacies of what goes into composing a hit track. The byproduct thus far has been nothing short of stellar. We invited Phoenix to step “In the Phone Booth” with us to talk music, boxing and how they go together like hand-in-glove. Knuckle up.

@TheTitleFight : Big props on being selected to step “In the Phone Booth  with us. When we first heard “Took a Shot” we were immediately wide-eyed and wondering where you came from. In boxing we see some fighter’s with innate talent that can be perfected in the right hands. Others have to work a little harder at it. You seem to have been born with it. Take us back; when did you first learn this is what you were meant for?

@SheIsPhoenix : I first learned (or discovered rather) My talent at a very early age. I was 5 and that age was introduced to artist such as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Envogue, Prince, And even James Brown. My mom would constantly play all of these artist in our small little apartment In Dorchester Ma. I later went on to an Arts High School where I was able to expand my knowledge and vocal abilities while studying other genres of music such as Jazz, Classical and Musical theater at the Boston Arts Academy.

 

@TheTitleFight : Your work ethic reminds us of fighters like Bernard Hopkins; tirelessly working and dedicating yourself to get to that pinnacle of success. Your ability to network eventually brought you face to face with the man that would sign you to his label. How has the partnership worked for you up to this point?

@SheIsPhoenix : Partnering with Raheem Brock was definitely a blessing. However I was hesitant at first with him being an athlete and still playing at the time it was definitely a smart move. He is very hardworking and has really made me step up even more! That guy is always busy and really gets things done. He has been a really great mentor and has taken me under his wing teaching me how to push myself as an artist and really how to stay grounded and know how to deal with people accordingly in a very classy professional way without becoming overwhelmed. It’s tough at times but we really get things done. I am confident about BME and I see myself going very far as an artists being with BME from the very begining. Growth is really important and I have watched myself grow as an artist and person being signed to BME. I am with a label that cares not only about my talent, but my well being. It was a really smart move and decision signing with Raheem.

 

@TheTitleFight : Obtaining the right people in a fighter’s corner can differentiate the good from the great. You have had the opportunity to work with seasoned song writers like Andrea Martin who have lent their talents to legends such as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson (R.I.P), all the way to Corté Ellis who’s written for Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Jennifer Hudson. What were you able to take away from the experiences?

@SheIsPhoenix : It is such a blessing and honor working with such talented writers and producers that have worked with the some of the greatest of our time! Andrea Martin is this funny, outgoing spirit with this amazing positive clean energy who works you to the bone but makes it very interesting! Her voice is unmatched and her songs are so powerful. It was awesome working with her, It was more than just going in and cutting records. She would tell me stories of places she had been around the world, and stories of her performing. That was so inspiring for an upcoming artist like myself to even be able to work with this woman and get advice on how to better myself as an entertainer and song writer. Corte on the other hand was this smooth brother who had a look so serious, I was almost afraid to sing a note wrong (LOL) But the 2nd time around He loosened up and really appreciated my grind. He saw how serious I was and how quickly I was able to get things done! I would fly into miami and go straight to the legendary Jimmy Douglas studio and cut 3 songs a day. I literally went in to work, I didn’t pack a bikini or any party clothes. I was in gym attire just ready to work and make music and knock things out. Corte is like family now, whenever I want to get in and get things done under a certain time constraint I text him and if he is available we go in and WORK! I was able to take away a lot from Andrea and Corte and although they are two different people they had the same advice. GRIND and keep going and eat sleep and breathe music, CREATE no matter what your creating and no matter what your doing in life go above and beyond and reach far because there is always more.

 

@TheTitleFight : In the United States, female boxing does not seem to get the same kind of recognition as it’s male counterpart. Do you run into similar roadblocks in the music industry solely because of your gender and if so, how do you combat it?

@SheIsPhoenix : I think the only road blocks I run into being a female artist is just men not really respecting you as much as a really tough gangster rapper (LOL) And it is as simple as a sound check! If Raheem isn’t with me they will definitely move slow or not move at all. I never really seemed to get it. I can be the first one there and its like I’m invisible sometimes. But as soon as I open my mouth to sing everyone is kinds like “Oh wow, she’s talented” and I gain a little brownie points. But other than that everything else is cool. For now at least. Hopefully I can stay smooth sailing because I am definitely not one to let anyone treat me as if I am any less than a male artist.

 

@TheTitleFight : Boxing is a business and sometimes decisions are made that may not be the most desired by the public, but are strategically made for the fighter’s future. Do you ever find yourself compromising in the type of music you are making in effort to set your sights on a bigger picture down the road?

@SheIsPhoenix : I am definitely about compromise if it is to expand my branding and marketing as an artists to a certain extent. I love hair and fashion and making bold statements but it has to be with class. I want younger girls to be able to look up to me. I would never do anything I am uncomfortable with to be bigger. I always want to stay true to Phoenix. I refuse to sell my soul. That never works out anyways. Eventually people start to dislike you and even hate you and you become this image that becomes permanent because no matter what you do to try and clean up it’s something that the people (fans) have labeled you as.

 

@TheTitleFight :  A fighter’s stock is sometimes measured in entertainment factor outside of the ring as much as it is inside of the ropes.  Being that much of your music may be inspired by life offstage, how do you determine what pieces of your life make it on wax which is ultimately used to win a fan-base?

@SheIsPhoenix : As much as I want to keep my personal life personal there really is no such thing. I’m an artist! I sing and write music based on MY life. I mean thats how it all began right? I can sing about a break up to singing about a new pair of shoes. It’s my job to put myself out there and sing about life. People want real life. It’s what gets them through a break up or what helps them celebrate or gets them through a loved ones death even. They want to know that they are not alone and since I was blessed with a talent to sing this is my job. I want my fans and anyone who listens to my music to feel closer to me and to know that I too know what heart break is and how bad it sucks. So I will continue putting myself out there to get people through the ruff times and celebrate the happy times.

 

@TheTitleFight : Marketing a fighter correctly is an integral part of building a reputation and credibility as someone a public is willing to pay to watch. You chose the mix-tape option as your introduction to audiences. What was the strategy behind this approach in marketing yourself?

@SheIsPhoenix : I chose to drop a mixtape as a form of introduction. I was not a well known artist In Philly where I am based out of and I needed to get a feel of what kind of reaction I would get and what route people preferred. I didn’t just want to drop a single. I didn’t think that would be smart. So I put together my first mixtape “Concrete Love” basically taking industry hip hop beats and sang over them and added two popular covers because I knew it would grasp my audience attention. People love familiararity and they become sucked in and want to hear what you did over their favorite rappers track. I also added my first single “Took A Shot” right in the middle and it worked. People would say the mixtape was dope and “Took A shot” was their favorite! It was a cool marketing strategy and helped build a buzz for my second mixtape “808’s & HighHeels” because now I had people looking forward to new music and a new single.

 

@TheTitleFight : In the fight-game, trading shots is part of what comes with the territory. The music industry can be a battleground as well and sometimes you get hit unexpectedly. How have you learned to rebound from or dodge potential people/decisions that could have taken you a different direction?

@SheIsPhoenix : This Industry is definitely a battle ground, but I have learned not to get sucked into the negativity or let it consume your energy. I want to make music and rock out on stage and sell out arenas. I want to be a star. I know that their will be rumors and that unfortunately as sad as it may be it is someones job to try and knock you off make you feel bad or make things up. I see things every day on blogs and social media about artist and actresses and models! This is the industry, America loves gossip. But as long as I stay focused and don’t go astray it will never affect me. I’m too strong and too hungry for the B.S.

 

@TheTitleFight : Every champion desires to test themselves against the best. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. Talk to us about some of the big dogs you would like to rub elbows with and why?

@SheIsPhoenix : I would definitely Love to rub elbows with Kanye West, The Dream, Raheem Devaughn, Neyo, John Legend, Frank Ocean and Pharell. I love the sound they develop and the way I feel when listening to them. I find myself so evoked by their lyrics and the beats and the production. In My eyes its timeless music and I definitely want to be a timeless artist.

 

@TheTitleFight : Any last minute thoughts, shout-outs or recognition you would like to leave readers with?

@SheIsPhoenix :

Lastly I would Like to say Thank You to “The Title Fight” and the readers for getting to know a little about me. Shout out to BME & Raheem Brock. Be sure to check out My new Video “Nobody’s Perfect” Feat. Big Ooh By going to my websitewww.SheIsPhoenix.com where you can also find music, Videos, Phacts with Phoenix, Vlogs and upcoming show dates! and Check out my New Single “Run Down” remix coming soon feat JadaKiss! And please follow me on Twitter. Instagram Facebook and Reverbnation! Everything is @SheIsPhoenix.

Stay fly!

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