On The Porch-Step Of Success From Self-Titled Album: The Philharmonikʻs Year ʻ18 In Review
By Aaris A. Schroeder
Christian Gates; also known in the Sacramento, CA music community as The Philharmonik, is a multi-talented emcee, vocalist, music producer and all around awesome guy who has a full plate on his table along with plenty of recent success all around him by way of prosperity that has followed him since his self-titled album, released almost a year ago.
Showcasing at Honey Hive in San Francisco, CA and around the Bay Area in ʻ16 was the momentum that got the ball rolling for Phil; who is 25-years-old now and has been making music his entire life.
“I really wanted to be a rapper when I first started but then I grew out of it.” Phil explains who chose to change the music up so listeners would pay attention to how he cultivated his sounds. Over the years of experimenting, he found his avenue. Phil has been able to tap into the mindʻs eye of his fans.
Philharmonikʻs voice does not wobble, it stays steady and takes you on a journey, sharing stories and lessons. He writes music from an artistʻs point-of-view seemingly as a way to treat his own pain and sorrow and finds a way to shine light on any self-doubt. Take a listen to Philʻs music and you may be instantly taken somewhere new but familiar. A heavy dose of funk, sprinkled with blues, definitely some jazz and even the go-go of disco dance on the rhythm, bar by bar. His talent does not just go to his soulful and resonating voice, it is extended into the instruments he plays including the piano and self-made production. The atmosphere created in the mind of the listener produces a clear vision of loungy, grown and sexy music with a bit of spunk.
*UPDATE: The Photos That Were Here Unfortunately Were Asked To Be Removed By The Photographer Due To An Formatting Error When Updating Photo Credit. UBO MAG Apologizes To The Photographer, Ashley Hayes-Stone For This Mistake and Will Make Sure in The Future Items That Require Permission Are Saved Appropriately Before Publishing. The Philharmonik performing for a Black Lives Matter (BLM) event at Freedom School, a Charter School in Southside Park of Downtown Sacramento that works with students in the arts. The school held a Black Lives Matter Fundraiser on Campus.
Photo Courtesy By Ashley Hayes-Stone who freelances with Sacramento News & Review and is Photo-Editor at ARCurrent.com (American River College Campus Newspaper).
“In a perfect world, if I had a perfect show, it would be Stevie Wonder, J. Cole, Prince (I donʻt know if he counts), Kanye West (of 2000 era), Common and DʻAngelo.” contends Phil whose dream concert mirrors his play on music.
Just take a listen to his song, “Energy” that he recorded at Sofar Sounds. He uses the keyboard to make the beat and drives the song. Watch The Philharmonik (above video) performing “Energy” at Sofar Sacramento on April 7th 2017.
“Good Day” is simply a song about having a good day. The song reminds people to not be fake for others, just enjoy yourself and your day. Phil wants to convey that being honest about your feelings even when being asked, “How are you?” is meant to be taken seriously when answering.
“Self-Love” is an ode to those who need some self-love. The song pertains to everybody because we all go through it. Reading the lyrics from the chorus that repeats twice, “ I gotta love myself before I love anyone else/Even if nobodyʻs ever there/ʻcause I am the only one who seems to care.” Phil can not stress enough how important it is to always remember yourself before anything else because even if somebody has the best of intentions and wants to save the world, it will all be lost in translation if they canʻt take the time to love themselves. Take care of yourself, everyone!
Recently, Phil was interviewed by Sway Calloway of whom started his roots in Bay Area Radio; originally receiving notoriety from being an on-air personality with co-host DJ King Tech at KMEL106.1. Sway is now an international stream radio sensation on SHADE 45 whose show, Sway in the Morning, is one of the most popular streaming radio shows in The United States of America. The Philarmonik met up with Sway originally at SXSW Festival in Austin, TX where Sol Collective; a non-profit that works with youth and young adults within the arts, located in Sacramento, CA, was running a local-global showcase stage. Sway was holding a cypher nearby and Phil joined in. DJ Wonder put the beat on and it was “right up my alley” says Phil, explaining his infamous meeting with Sway.
The crowd went crazy and the rest was history. Phil picked up a gig out of the deal, performing at New Yorkʻs “Summer Stage New York” July ʻ18. Kelly Kincaide; who manages MTV News Senior correspondent & SiriusXM personality, Sway booked the interview for Phil. He was even able to make some connections with up-and-coming artist and Macklemoreʻs protege Travis Thompson. More recently, Phil was able to perform on SHADE 45 for the annual Doomsday Cypher, December 14 which is also an end-of-the-year type of celebration at the radio studio with Sway and his team.
Of course, just like bad luck, rent was due. Phil had to decide if he was going to pay rent or pay for a flight to go see Sway and his team for a once-in-a-lifetime cypher opportunity. He didnʻt have to rattle his brain for long. He decided to take that flight. His girlfriend paid his rent for the time being. In turn, he wrote, “Drugs” and published it upon returning to California.
Phil admits that he has not held a ʻrealʻ job in over three years, relying only on support and funds made while performing music. Luckily, Phil did not succumb to the “temptation” as he calls it, of selling drugs. Instead, he is on a mission to showcase his music to the world and make up for all those times others have helped him out.
The Doomsday Cypher pairs up some of the biggest producers in Hip-Hop with some of the most talented and hungry rappers in the game, according to Sway who hand-picks each emcee with his Sway In The Morning show team. This is one of the biggest cyphers the show has for the entire year and is well-known amongst the underground and indie HipHop heads around the nation. This time around, the infamous DJ Premier will be mixing up beats along with Jahlil Beats and Powers Pleasant
The emcees to hit the mic include Chyna Black, battle rapper A.K., Lyric Da Queen, The Philharmonik, Rikki Blu, Bones Brigante, Nova, TR3 and Young Devyn. Once Lyric the Queen hit the mic Philharmonik followed through like a veteran in his cypher.
“Iʻm really feeling this right now. This nigga saying he rather give tips than hollows. Do you feel him Do you feel Phil the Harmonik. No pun intended.” accumulates Joe of JoenoJoseph. Joe placed The Philharmonic in second place for round one.
There was depth and groove coming through on his bars and matching the beat perfectly. Phil knocked pretty much every other emcee out the box. He did not sound rushed with his lines and you could feel the emotion in his descriptive poetry.
“Yo, his voice is dope. Gangstar has a song called, ʻStricktly the voice that makes you jumpʻ His voice just woke me up.”Rich Nice, one of the radio personalities on air at the time. The Philharmonik was one of the only emcees to receive such a compliment during the showcase.
The Philharmonik is on his way to success but on his own, not the record labels. Creative control is something that is very important to him and his artistic integrity; something he will never betray.
“Everyone has an angle to sell [their] music for profit. I want to be affiliated with people who I know I can trust on a human level and also [trust] the fruits of their labels.” says Phil who recently signed with Sol Collectiveʻs label, Sol Life because they allow all of their artists creative control while assisting them in polishing their music, “I have control over all
I make and can put out what I want. That is very valuable.”
Art Piece by Evan T.Lilley who is currently a caricaturist at Six Flags in Vallejo. Lilley occasionally sketches stand up comedy posters. He previously was a cartoonist with The Californian Aggie, (Also known locally as “The Aggie”), A U.C. Davis Newspaper.
“Diplomacy is about surviving to the end of the next century. Politics is about surviving good until Friday afternoon.” A quote by Sir Humphrey Appleby, a favorite quote of Lilleyʻs.
Connect with Evan T.Lilley
Evan T.Lilley Twitter https://twitter.com/ETLtwit01
Evan T.Lilley Facebook https://www.facebook.com/evan.t.lilley
Phil discussed how labels seem to possess control of artistsʻ work and even their influence in society. He goes on to explain that suicide and depression rates are high amongst recording artists who have ʻsigned their life away;ʻ so-to-speak. If he were to sign to a label it would be Dreamville, J. Coleʻs music group. He shares that this label is a good example of where he would like to go as an artist.
Right now time is crucial for The Philharmonik. He is in a space so many other independent artists have been. Once the album has been released and you throw a party, get some notoriety in your city and beyond, the road is just itching for a guy like Phil to hitch a ride and start performing all over the states.
“When you are at the place I am at and you are struggling to [create that] bridge between a local and national level, this [becomes] a crucial bridge to cross and blossom into the next level. Go on tours, [get] more listeners and [broaden the] fan base.” Phil explains.
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