If it’s one genre I love the most, it’s the 80’s theme! Listening back to some of the songs, you could feel the raw emotion when the vocalist sings! Today’s guest Dana Jean Phoenix brings back the old school feel with her music! Her latest album Drrty shooz contains tracks such as, Bullitz, Sumbody Else and Drrty shooz to name a few! I had the chance to interview the lady and this is how it played out!
3.47: When did you first started getting noticed as a singer?
Dana Jean Phoenix: I first got noticed as a singer when I entered a youth talent competition and won 2nd for singing Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ (To this day I’m a Michael Jackson fanatic), doing all the choreo from the video, and wearing a homemade costume emulating the leather and buckles. It was pretty badass! I then went on to study Jazz in college and started touring America and Canada first as a backup singer for Canadian R&B Queen, Jully Black (Canada’s version of Mary J. Blige, and then as a lead singer for NuFunk Band ‘God Made ME Funky’ (Think Black Eyed Peas meets Parliament Funkadelic)!! It was only a matter of time before I wanted to write and perform my own material in earnest.
3.47: What inspires you as an artist?
DJP: The amazing artists, singers, producers, and musicians that I collaborate with, and all the awesome female artists both past and present who aren’t afraid to take control of their destiny and carve their own paths. From Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, and Madonna to Kristine, Electric Youth, Grimes, MNDR, and Mozart’s Sister.
3.47: Who would you like to work with next? Anyone famous at all?
DJP: David Bowie would be my ultimate dream to work with!!
3.47: When it comes to a track do you get a lot of them and have to decline them? For example the beat might not be to your fitting or are you open to all types?
DJP: I’m really open to all types of songs. I really like how different styles force me to write and sing out of my comfort zone, so I don’t get stuck in the same pattern. I love how different tracks inspire different stories. It keeps it interesting and encourages me to explore new textures and ideas. On my latest album ‘Drrty Shooz’, I loved working with so many different producers to really get an eclectic sound. But sometimes time factor doesn’t allow me to work with every producer I’d like to.
3.47: What was your reaction like when you saw the feedback coming in about your music?
DJP: I was excited and so grateful! I love the sense of community and support that the synth scene has. It’s really amazing to be a part of and everyone’s talent is so inspiring.
3.47: If you had the power to run your own music label, what would you call it?
DJP: I’d call it Phoenix Records!!
3.47: What would you say has been the weirdest request you had?
DJP: To do an Acapella Youtube cover of Weird Al Yankovic’s ‘Amish Paradise’.
3.47: When it comes to being independent what would you say are the advantage and disadvantage you have?
DJP: Independent artists now have it better than ever. I have the power to control my own destiny with so many tools at my fingertips in terms of social media and using the internet to teach myself things like: video editing, and web design. That was the inspiration for the title of my latest album ‘Drrty Shooz’, meaning that if you’re not afraid to do the ground work and get your hands a little dirty, the payoff can be so rewarding because you know its 100% yours.
3.47: Are you playing live events or is that something you want to do?
DJP: Performing live onstage is the best feeling in the world and where I feel most alive. This summer I’ll be performing different live gigs, including Toronto’s international Jazz Festival on July 25th. I’ve been in rehearsals lately to get my ‘Drrty Shooz’ album up and running for live shows!!
3.47: What’s your favourite song at the moment?
DJP: Probably ‘Mozart’s Sister’ by Mozart’s Sister, or ‘Arcturus’ by Silent Gloves. They’re on constant repeat in my headphones.
3.47: What’s the best advice you been given?
DJP: Just do you!
3.47: What advice can you give to others who want to be like you?
DJP: Keep writing, singing, and performing as much as you can to hone your craft. The mistakes are how you learn, and are often the beautiful imperfections that make you unique. And, Just Do You!!
3.47: Does anyone else in your family sing?
DJP: My father has an amazing voice and has the biggest record collection of anyone I know, and my mom plays violin. I’m lucky to have been raised by very musical parents who exposed me to so many different genres growing up, from Jazz, Soul, Prog rock, Pop, classical and country.
3.47: What do you do in your spare time?
DJP: Watch Star Trek, go to the theatre, read, and dance!!
3.47: Do you have any other hidden talents?
DJP: I can do a mean vocal jazz trumpet, and several impersonations of different singers. I recently performed a Cabaret with a renowned theatre company in Toronto, Acting Up Stage, where I showcased these!
3.47: If you had the chance to run YouTube what would you change about it?
DJP: I would love to see it go back to the days where you had more freedom to customize your YouTube page and make it more individual with your background, font colour, etc. I miss the days of individuality!!
3.47: You did a track earlier this year with Stellar Dreams on the track Distance, what was it like and how did that come about?
DJP: We had worked together previously on ‘Nightvoid’. I think they’re amazing and loved working with them, so when they approached me to do a ballad, it was no question.
3.47: So I noticed you’re a comic book fan as well which is awesome! Which comic book character would you like to be and why?
DJP: Rogue was always my favourite growing up, for her sass and her ability to be one of the guys. But more and more I think I would like to be Mystique. You could be a fly on the wall of some pretty amazing scenarios if you could camouflage yourself into any situation.
3.47: What can we expect from you in the future?
DJP: More music videos! I’m also currently beginning work on my new EP – definitely more songs dedicated to make you move, while telling strong stories of self empowerment, and of course love!!
3.47: Any words you want to say to your fans out there?
DJP: Thank you so much for all your amazing support!! A special thank you to everyone who has supported my latest album, ‘Drrty Shooz’ on Bandcamp and iTunes from around the world!!