Last month we linked up Reverb Nation for another great featured selections campaign, kicking things we we’d like to introduce you to Boston-based singer & songwriter Natasha Pheko, known by her stage name Phé (pronounced fay). After falling in love with her music, I reached out to her for an interview, and to share her great music with you guys. Check out the full interview below along with her latest tune “Incredible,” Produced by MOMBRU.
Big hair, dimpled cheek, and quirky personality, Phé steps out of the shadows ready to stake her claim in the world of music and entertainment. After years of exploration and experimentation she has tapped into a unique musical style, a sultry blend of R&B and urban pop, accompanied by a tapestry of electronic sounds. Through her thoughtful and poetic lyrics, Phé reflects on the world as she experiences it.
With the recent release of her début single “Incredible”, this is just the beginning for Phé, and her career as a solo artist. Having worked as a songwriter on projects with renowned Canadian producer Chin Injeti, and with many credits as a backup vocalist — singing on recordings for artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Aloe Blacc and Mariana’s Trench — she is finally ready share her own personal stories and voice with the world.
Who is Phé?
Honestly, I’ve asked myself that a lot in the past year, and only now am I really starting to gain some clarity. I always thought that Phé the artist and me the person had remain separate some-how. But I am coming to realize that there is little difference, if any, between myself and the music I write. Phé is simply the voice through which I share myself with the world.
Phé is an awkward girl from Vancouver, who cracks dumb jokes, and frolics around in her lanky, long body. Because of how I look, I have always been seen by people, they are drawn to me because of my aesthetics. But it is with my music that I am able to be heard. It’s a channel through which I speak on my experiences of the wold around me, and for some reason, people seem to want to hear what I have to say.
At What Age did you first fall in love with music?
I’ve always been very music oriented person, ever since I was a baby. I grew up making up songs. that’s just what I did, and how I communicated. When I was little, my mom and I used to turn my bedtime stories into songs and poems. My sister and I were always making up musicals and plays that we would force our family to sit through. In school, I studied by turning my notes into songs and rap’s so I could remember stuff for tests. I grew up learning and teaching myself through music. So there was never really a moment of falling in love, because it’s always been a part of who I am and the way I understand my surroundings.
Who are some of the artist that inspired your sound?
I grew up listening to tons of different music — whether that be what my parents played in the house, things my voice teachers gave me to experiment with, or what I found on my own. So because of that I find that I’m influenced and inspired by a lot of really different music. Right now my sound is very influenced by Rihanna, SZA, H.E.R., and Sinead Harnett. But I’m still on my “personal sound” journey and am trying something new everyday.
You started off as a songwriter, and singing backup for a few major artist, when did you decide step out on your own and start a solo career?
I grew up singing in choirs and different vocal ensembles, so I was always super comfortable singing in group settings. I always knew that I needed to do something that included music, songwriting, and singing but it took me a while to really find my path, and to make it to where I am now. Yes, along the way I was lucky enough to get in the studio with Mariana’s Trench, and recorded background vocals on “Shut Up and Kiss Me”. Then I had the opportunity to sing in the choir that sings in Aloe Blac’s “The Man”, which was super fun! But this past year I came to realized that as much as I loved being a part of portraying the messages of others, I had things that I needed to say for myself. So I decided to stop hiding in groups, or behind other people, and decided to share my music with the world. It was a big step! And a terrifying one, but also an extremely liberating choice.
Are you working on a solo project, if so what type of tunes can we expect?
Yes actually! I’m currently working on my début EP with my producer Mombru. As life would have it, the creative process isn’t going as we had originally planned. I got a little-bit caught up in expectations of others and my vision got diluted with the thoughts and opinions of the people around me. But I’m back in a space of inspiration and authentic creation, and am super happy with what we are creating. I’m really experimenting now and trying to create something that is as authentic as possible, and not thinking too much about it, or trying to fit myself into some sort of category.
You can expect an honest exploration of some of the things I have gone through this past year, spoken about through the lens of different relationships in my life. So I guess you can expect songs that stem from love, heartbreak, confrontation, and self-reflection, just to name a few of the different themes the EP explores. I really just hope that by creating music that helps me to understand my world, I can help other people understand theirs.
Stream Phé‘s latest single “Incredible,” produced by MOMBRU.