Official Biography (courtesy of J Phoenix)
"Authentic, that's the genre," says award-winning songwriter and vocalist J. Phoenix when asked about his music. He is not being facetious. He's serious. Every lyric and ever melody comes from some place deep inside his soul leading him to create the type of songs that are cherished for decades.
After years of being shunned by major labels, claiming they did not know how to market him, and being told by his publisher, the very person who was to market and sell his music, "I don't know what kind of music you write," J. Phoenix knew he had to take control. In the fall of 2007 he brought his music to the people with the independently released, 13-song debut CD, MASTERPIECE.
"Creating Masterpiece has been one of the most empowering acts of my life" J. Phoenix says. "Preparing the album reinforced my belief in my music and spoke to my independence."
One of the industry's best kept secrets, until now, J. Phoenix (who writes under his given name, Larry Loftin) is highly disciplined and dedicated to the arts of singing and songwriting. In an effort to be heard, this ASCAP award-winning songwriter has performed his own music in clubs and at special events, licensed his music for film and television, and had hit makers in pop, jazz, R&B, hip hop and gospel genres record his
tunes. But, his ultimate goal is to sing the songs he writes to the masses.
J. Phoenix began his music career, in church, at the age of seven. "By the time I reached high school I was winning vocal contests and working with local bands. I was also writing, but doing so secretly. It wasn't until college that I let the proverbial cat out of the bag. People were feeling my songs, but I still considered myself a singer, not a songwriter." The earliest acknowledgment within the industry of J. Phoenix's vocal talent came from the late Luther Vandross; and his songwriting talent was recognized by renowned arranger and producer, Mattias Gustafsson, with whom he wrote more than 100 songs.
From those launching pads J. Phoenix, followed the encouragement of his attorney to shop himself as a songwriter, which resulted in consecutive publishing deals with BMG and Zomba. His skill as a songwriter across genres was proven early in his career. In what seemed like lightening speed, J. Phoenix was honored with the ASCAP/Sammy Cahn Award for excellence in lyrics. His song "Adore You", recorded by contemporary gospel group Anointed, was nominated for a Dove Award (Urban Recorded Song of the Year). His ballad "I Fall So Deep" was prominently featured in the film B.A.P.S. Legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson recorded "A Fool In Love". R&B vocalist Joe recorded "All That I Am" for his platinum-selling album of the same title. Acclaimed European, pop vocalist Gary Barlow recorded "I Fall So Deep". Renowned jazz guitarist George Benson recorded "Still Waters"; and Michelle Wright, one of Canada's premiere artists recorded "Circle of Life".
Coming of age at the dawn of hip hop, it was only natural that this genre would soon embrace him. When it did, it was as both singer and songwriter. J. Phoenix is the voice and the writer behind the hook for Tupac Shakur's "Thugz Mansion" (Nas version) on the Better Dayz album and on Nas' God's Son.
J. Phoenix songs, and oftentimes his voice, have been heard on television shows in Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Sweden and Taiwan. In the United States his songs have been featured in major motion pictures, such as "The Brothers" and "From Justin to Kelly", and on tell-all television shows such as E! True Hollywood Story, Revealed, Access Hollywood, and Facing Fame. In 2006 J. Phoenix was heard, along with American Idol, Bo Bice, in a commercial campaign for Hasbro's MonopolyTM board game.
J. Phoenix's writing style is best described as universal. Every song--whether a love ballad or a mid-tempo, with a socially conscious theme--carries a thought-provoking message. As a writer he is often mentioned in the same breath with Lionel Richie, Bill Withers, James Taylor, and even John Lennon. Former Billboard editor, Melinda Newman, summed it up best when she wrote "few artists looking for deals come with credentials as strong..."
Vocally J. Phoenix is soulful-not only R&B soulful, but soul-felt across all genres, delivering from deep within. He arouses crowds while seamlessly performing Donnie Hathaway and Stevie Wonder covers, Broadway show tunes and his own pop, R&B, rock and country-tinged songs. Music journalist, Brian Cogan described him this way: "He is by no means a soul singer in the traditional sense. While trace elements of Al Green and Sam Cooke can be detected on the Geiger counter, there is just as much craft as a typical Disney show tune, somehow funneled through Seal."
J. Phoenix has been invited to perform at such high-profile events as the Sundance Film Festival and Intel Music Festival, to sit on panels along side prestigious songwriters, such as Barry Eastmond, and to collaborate with other well-known writers in Nashville, and on both coasts. His lyrical wisdom and provocative styling have brought invitations to perform live with well-respected Broadway stars Heather Headley and Lilias White, and veteran artists such as The Family Stand and Cory Glover. He has packed New York City hot spots-Arlene Grocery, Fez, CBGB Gallery and Downtime-the way veteran performers pack Radio City and Madison Square Garden.
While performing on the Royal Caribbean cruise line, his Broadway trained co-stars were in awe of his talent and consistently begged the oft asked question: "Why aren't you famous?" J. Phoenix doesn't have the answer. He just keeps writing, singing and looking to follow in the footsteps of Lionel Richie and Irving Berlin--creating No. 1 hits in nine consecutive years, at least.
J.Phoenix was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in African Studies. His entire career has been in the music business. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA). He is the Grand Prize winner of Ed McMahon's "The Next Big Star," and his voice can be heard on albums by such diverse artists as Patti LaBelle, Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson and Randy Brecker, and in the films B.A.P.S., The Brothers, and How To Be A Player.