With a full-length self-titled album and some singles having been released, twenty-five year-old multi-instrumentalist ‘The Philharmonik’ is a captivating musical experience. Currently working on his second album, his openness with lyrics, honest approach to exploring his feelings, and comfortability with his musical talent all contribute to what culminates in a masterpiece of musical expression. This is true whether watching him perform live or streaming his music on headphones. As perfect example of these key points, one listen to his newest single DRUGS (something of a broadway play mixed with trap, complete with catchy singing, a thoughtful musical score, and sound lyrical content) makes the above statement painfully evident.
He’s no stranger to the limelight either, creating songs with Hobo Johnson and having caught the attention of Sway Calloway at his 2018 SXSW Cypher stage. In fact, Sway had him return for a live interview and freestyle on his show shortly after due to how impressed he was with the young artist’s showing and body of work. He has since returned to SXSW this year as a performance artist.
“A lot of musicians I’ve heard can outdo everything I do, but when it comes to artistry, no one can do you like you do.”
Originally from Cleveland but having moved to Sacramento at age 6, the 25 year old songwriter grew up playing music and producing in the Evangelical Christian Church community his Mother raised him in. He explains that HipHop was not an acceptable music form growing up in his household. Regardless, this is where the basis for his love and learning of musical creation began. He has since been focusing on secular music, a process which he has explained is like starting life over again.
“Hiphop was like my weed… You grow older and you find the artist in you and how important learning the fundamentals of music are to your artistry.”
Taking influences from a wide range of music he grew up listening to thanks to his immediate family (Prince, Herbie Hancock. Stevie Wonder, Queen, The Beatles, Michael Jackson just to name a few) he mixes these influences with his love for hiphop culture. The Philharmonik creates his unique mashups of music with an honest purity unlike any other artist. This may sound like a bold statement for a writer to make about an artist / rapper but it can be confidently stated as fact since his creations come from such a personal place. The well of potential and inspiration he draws from does not seem like it will run dry soon either, drawing equal inspiration from artists of today such as J.Cole
“I waited outside until 2am outside to meet him.” He explains. “Even without a meet & greet he still meets his fans. He has evaluated and analyzed fame and what it does to people and decided to transform his a life in a way that promotes inner peace (and) teaches the younger generation.”
The eclectic nature of The Philharmonik’s expression of music is enough to keep one entertained for hours. Ranging from sounds as powerfully beautiful as Let Freedom Ring, to straight-up Funk jams like Dope Man, to the poignant and honestly relatable (yet bouncy) Momma’s House, The Philharmonik’s prowess in musicality is easily shown and can be attributed to his openness with styles along with his natural instrument playing ability.
“I never got to play violin until my most recent song (Drugs). I played violin on three parts …. at the end I have a bunch of overdubs where it sounds like a string symphony.”
Of course, this life of talent doesn’t come easily. Dedication, intense self reflection, and an appetite for life experience are paramount to The Philharmonik. Like any of us, he explains that he deals with bouts of self-doubt and sometimes will struggle to constantly have a creative mindset. He explains he does music for the life experience more so than for money.
“I like the journey. Every little thing I accomplished and haven’t accomplished is wonderful. I don’t want it all at one time because I want to be able to enjoy (it)…”
All thoughts considered, it’s this writer’s belief that his honesty with himself only makes his expressive product that much more profound.
If all of these points together aren’t enough to draw you in to listen to at least one of his songs, also know that The Philharmonik plays 4 instruments in total, sings, AND produces all of his own music! Thus his name: he’s a one-man orchestra!