Contemporary R&B artist Phé may have switched up her sound, but the feels she is able to evoke with her velvet vocals certainly haven’t changed.
While the title of the R&B singer’s latest single ‘Wtv, it’s cool’ provokes thoughts of nonchalance, the themes explored in the mid-tempo track remain ones of self-reflection as seen on her previous body of work the ‘Crisis’ EP.
‘Wtv, it’s cool’ follows popular single ‘You and Me’, which was featured on hit UK TV show, Love Island.
In the spirit of continuing that introspective vibe, Phé had a conversation with IndustryMe about what inspired ‘Wtv, it’s cool’
When we last spoke you had just put out the crisis EP, what have you been working on since then?
This year has been full of a lot of really special milestones for me! I started off the year with 2 performances on national television in Canada. Once as a contestant in the Canadian TV show, The Launch, and then as a guest performer with Sarah McLachlan at the 2019 JUNO Awards.
That was a really special experience, as the Sarah McLachlan School of Music is where I took my first official voice lessons. So to be able to perform with her in that capacity was really meaningful.
Then, the cover of You & Me, by Disclosure, that I released over the summer got placed in the UK’s number 1 TV show, Love Island. This was huge for me, as it’s my first sync placement in a major show.
Following that, I met director Brit Phelan, and we were inspired to work together to shoot my first two music videos. We pieced together a team, gear, location, and fundraised a budget all in a month, and shot the 2 videos in 2 days. It was really a whirlwind experience, and the videos have turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Making music videos has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, so to be able to work with such an amazing team of creative people and have the support of my community like I have has really meant a lot!
And now here we are, with the release of my first music video, and a new single. It’s been a year of creating music that I am really proud of and lifting my self worth to align with all that I am calling in as a person and artist.
You’ve also spent a lot of time on the performance circuit this year if you had to pick, which has been the most memorable show and why?
I would have to say that my most memorable performance was actually my most recent performance, opening for Dana Williams at the Moroccan Lounge on November 4th.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on consistently showing up for myself with as much authenticity and integrity as possible, confronting the different parts of my “shadow self” in order to be as integrated a being as possible. And I feel like this performance was one of the most honest exchanges I’ve had in my experience with live music.
Most of the audience was comprised of strangers, and my partner — who I am also lucky enough to make music with — and I just went up there and had fun in a way we haven’t before. It didn’t feel like I had to prove myself or make anyone like me. I was able to just focus on putting all of myself into this thing that I really love with a person that I love, and allow that expression to resonate with the people it was meant to resonate with.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as an artist this year?
This isn’t necessarily something I’ve learned ABOUT myself, but its something I’ve learned for myself. This year has really taught me to believe in myself in a way that I hadn’t been able to before. I’ve always been a hard worker, and I’ll forever be the first one to hustle for the things I want or am passionate about. I will always get the job done.
But, there’s been this little fearful voice in the back of my head that worries that I may not find that “success” as an artist. This year was instrumental in helping change that voice’s mind — rather than just silencing it.
There’s no room for doubt, especially as an independent artist who has to wear many different hats and do many different jobs outside of simply creating music. No one will believe in me more than I do. And this year I’ve learned to stop fueling that belief from a place of ego or as a result of validation, but rather from a place of true subconscious belief.
We’ve seen the acoustic guitar make the occasional appearance over on your socials, is this something you’re planning to share more of in the future?
I would love to bring the acoustic guitar and another acoustic instrument into my music. I actually grew up playing and writing on the acoustic guitar, but sadly its something I lost when I went away to college and started working with producers. I do still play a lot of acoustic shows, which I love doing! But, I have yet to create music that uses predominantly acoustic instruments. My music and creation process isn’t premeditated or planned, so it’s hard to predict when this might be. But it’s definitely something I feel drawn to explore.
‘Wtv, it’s cool’ has that same introspective feeling as your previous work but it’s definitely a lot more up tempo. A sign of a new direction maybe?
For me, writing is an expression of where I am in life, and the different spaces (mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional) I get to experience in this lifetime. That’s where my focus is when I am writing, more so than the actual style of a song that I’m writing.
The two parts work together to then create my “sound” as an artist. My first project was very much about love, heartbreak, and my experience at the ending of a relationship that at the time was really important to me. And that was reflected in the more down-tempo, dreamy, and sometimes dark tone of the project.
As I grow as a person and experience more, my perspectives will also expand, which will naturally transform of my sound. So I think the direction of my music will sort of always move with me — or at least I would hope to see that throughout my life and career.
We got to have a lot of fun with “wtv, it’s cool”! The subject matter is something that at the time, I was learning not to take so seriously in my own life and so I wanted to speak to that with the tone and style of the music. I wanted the song to feel how anyone would feel while dancing around alone in their room on a Friday night, having half-convinced themselves that they aren’t experiencing FOMO (the fear of missing out), even though they still can’t help but check their IG stories to see what everyone else is up to.
Okay so talk me through the single artwork, what are you trying to communicate and where does the inspiration come from?
For the longest time, I had no idea what to do for the artwork for this single. I wanted it to be as accurate a representation of the song and video as possible, and I wanted something bold and striking, but couldn’t see the actual image in my mind. After seeing the finished music video for the first time, I was hit with this really vivid vision of what I wanted it to look like. I’m honestly not sure what specifically inspired all the different elements of the artwork, but it felt like all the pieces fit together to represent the song.
I also wanted to create a visual that was strong enough to stand on its own and still have artistic value. Growing up, album artwork was something I really loved! I loved buying a new CD, opening it up, and pulling out the artwork booklet to read through all the lyrics and flip through the different visuals and pictures. It was a special part of listening to music. While we don’t get to experience that with online streaming, I feel like there’s still a lot that can be said or done with the artwork of a single or album.
The song almost sounds like a conversation to me. Who is it that you are speaking to?
This song sort of acts as the internal dialogue of me trying to convince myself that “it’s cool” and I don’t care that the community I had once felt really connected to was no longer as tight as it used to be.
Have you given any thought as to what you want to achieve in 2020?
I would love to join a national or international tour as a supporting act in 2020! That’s one of my main goals for sure.
Will 2020 be the year we finally get more collaborations from you?
This is also something I am very interested in doing. I’m lucky enough to get to collaborate with a number of super-talented producers, songwriters, and musicians, but I have yet to do a collaboration on a project with another artist. So who knows…2020 might just be the year I dive into this 😉
Finally, if you could sum up 2019 in a lyric, what would you write?
“Slow down baby
This world is so crazy
Keep your head in the clouds
Put your feet on the ground”
This is a lyric I wrote in a session for a French artist named Jasmin. We ended up editing it a little bit for her song, but I think it really sums up what this year has been like for me. It’s been a balance of learning to be present, grounded, and steadfast in myself while also still existing in that open, creative, and vulnerable headspace.
Listen to ‘Wtv, It’s Cool’ Here:
Photographer: Jayden Becker
- Website: www.jaydenbecker.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaydenhbecker/