The crooner of a lifetime steps up to the plate with Terrill & shines his light about his stellar career, the music industry, his current tour & prospects to a bright future!!
TERRILL: Hey guy, guess what – Urban Music Scene, we bring to you the one and only ultimate R&B balladeer Mr. Phil Perry. What’s happening brother?
PHIL: Wow, with an intro like that, I don’t know whether to thank you or send a check. Wow!
TERRILL: Hey man you are – the ultimate. Now you remember back in the day you were considered my No. 2 all time male vocalist. R&B vocalist of all time. You knew that right?
PHIL: Yeah, you did tell me that and what good company to be in as well.
TERRILL: Oh thank you so much man, I miss seeing you brother. I hope you’re doing good out there in Atlanta, how’s it’s going out there?
PHIL: It’s going well. I’m out on tour with Dave Koz and David Benoit, and a new sweet jazz singer, Kelly Sweet – 19 years old, got a voice like an angel and it’s her first road trip and so she couldn’t be in better company than with such astute musicians.
TERRILL: Not to mention she couldn’t be in more of a position to gain wisdom from a very well experienced singer, vocalist as yourself. I hope she’s gaining that experience.
PHIL: I’m chuckling because she calls me daddy.
TERRILL: See, that’s what I’m talking about. See that’s confirmed what I said. Confirmed. Moving right along though, I hope she is doing well, I know you’re doing well and I know you’re turning everybody out, because whenever you set yourself on the stage you pretty much take over the show.
PHIL: I’ve been real fortunate with Dave’s audience, they’ve been very receptive to what I’ve doing and so I think that it’s a, we haven’t been on the road together in 17 years.
TERRILL: And it goes back…
PHIL: It’s kind of nice to get the reunion. I worked with David Benoit, off and on through my association with GRP and my association with Peak Records.
PHIL: It’s kind of ‘Old Home Week,’ if you know what I mean. It’s not like it’s work. The hardest part about being on the road is getting from point A to point B, the music kind of takes care of itself.
TERRILL: Just like the music it took, the music that had gotten taken care of on that last or the most recent release you have. The release on Shanachie Entertainment, the CD…
PHIL: You’re talking about “Mighty Love” (starts to sing)
TERRILL: That’s right, I’m talking about “Mighty Love,” and I’m not going to attempt to sing it the way you just did brother. I might have to take this audio portion and drop an Mpeg on the website so they can actually hear the blessing I just heard!
PHIL: “Mighty Love” was a lot of fun to do. I worked with Chris Davis again. I got to work with some of my East Coast musician friends. The tunes kind of speak for themselves, they were fun to do I love the songs that came out on the original artists. It’s a way of me keeping it real and furthering the nurturing of young ears to what real R&B music is.
TERRILL: You know that absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you even more on it. Because you’re not coming back in here trying to reinvent the game.
PHIL: Oh no, no, no not at all.
TERRILL: You’re here to redefine.
PHIL: It’s the melodies man. Cuz people forget in today’s music society, that melodies are the catalyst to memory.
TERRILL: That’s right.
PHIL: And you don’t hear a lot of melodies today.
TERRILL: Oh no, and you?
PHIL: It’s best to kind of dust them off and redo them my way.
TERRILL: You’re redefining them. You’re redefining the art of singing those ballads and the younger generation should be hungry to hear this.
TERRILL: It should be. I mean there’s a difference.
PHIL: You know I kind of gauge it by my kids. When I play it for my kids – if they stay in the room and listen to it, then I know I have substance. If they don’t then I know I don’t.
TERRILL: Hey, you know basically that give it a catalyst to you know your love for the art, man that’s just awesome. How’s the “Mighty Love” project doing for you?
PHIL: It’s doing pretty well. It’s selling pretty good. I’ve gotten some very good reviews, thank you for a good review, I appreciate it.
TERRILL: Thank you.
PHIL: Like I said in most of the interviews, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m just I’m trying to sing music that after all this time still means something to me.
TERRILL: That’s what I’m talking about. And I tell you man, some of these ballads you’re putting out is just too strong to not let it go all the way to it’s entirety. And it’s not just “Mighty Love,” your previous release was just as just a classic. Is there something that about redoing these ballads that is not so much redefining the art, but is it also a personal interest of yours.
PHIL: Yes, I love all these songs. Literally, I love them all. And there are parts of my life depicted in each of them. And so it’s easy to come from your heart when you’re singing about something that you lived through.
PHIL: So that’s why I picked the songs that I did. Actually, Shanachie didn’t give me any trouble in the selection, creation or production of this project.
TERRILL: Oh absolutely, and what was it like working with the musicians on this project?
PHIL: Basically they are the same cats that I did the “Classic Love Songs” record with. They did such a great job, I figured why spoil it, let me just go back.
TERRILL: OK. Who do you feel stood out on it more so than anything.
PHIL: It’s hard to single them out. I got to say that Ronnie Lawrence’s guitar solo, on “Ride Like The Wind” is probably one of the highlights on the record, as is Kim Waters’ tenor solo on “Everything Must Change.” All the musicianship was fine on the record man, that’s why I enjoy doing these kinds of projects, ’cause I can work with the people I like to work with and I don’t have to worry about what they’re going to do because we feed off one another musically.
TERRILL: And you definitely got an extraordinary producer in Mr. Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis.
PHIL: Yeah, ‘Big Dog’, he is the real one man. He’s such a kind hearted man and he works so hard. And I promised him when we were on the road together with Will, Gerald and Chanté Moore – I promised that when I got a chance to do records, I was going to use him – I was going to be the one. I’m just trying to be a man of my word.
TERRILL: I tell you what man, it’s not just with his production, his ability to recreate that song and add a little magical flavor from the production department. But I also had the opportunity to listen to Najee’s recent, newest release pardon me – “Rising Sun,” and man you definitely crooned “Romance The Night.”
PHIL: I got the chance to come right with him while I was doing the “Mighty Love” project. I was doing two projects at once.
TERRILL: Wow. And how did you, what was your experience like working with that contemporary jazz sax supreme man?
PHIL: Well you know man, Najee and I go back maybe 20 years. Most recently, we did a stint in Japan together, and he’s a very good brother man.
TERRILL: Oh yeah.
PHIL: He’s as dedicated to his art as any artist anywhere in any genre. So the opportunity to work with someone like that and to go compose a piece of music that he would want to play on is just icing on the cake.
TERRILL: Definitely. And that song itself is icing on the cake for that whole project. It just steps out more in terms of what you do in the jazz genre as…
PHIL: You know I kind of think that’s why he wanted me to do it because he wanted a different twist, a little different flavor on the inside of what he usually does without taking away from what he usually does.
TERRILL: Right, right. Because it’s definitely an R&B flowing song, it’s a nice soul ballad, R&B ballad but it also contributes to the album, heavily. And again, your vocals just grace that song.
PHIL: “Every moment step with you turns into two. Let’s make it right and romance each other tonight.” I just love that lyric.
TERRILL: Oh man.
PHIL: I just love that.
TERRILL: That lights candles.
PHIL: Because you don’t hear that anymore. You probably listen to more music than I do. When was the last time you heard somebody say that?
TERRILL: The only time I ever do listen to music like that is if I put you and Howard Hewitt and various others…
PHIL: We’re still making that kind of music but it’s not being showcased in radio the way I thought it would. But it’s okay, as with any other project it finds its own listeners.
TERRILL: I mean that’s one of the discussions based on many of the interviews I’ve conducted and that is approach of how the music format has changed. To where you don’t get that introduction anymore, does that bother you some? I mean would you like to see more of that happening?
PHIL: Well I look, I’d love to, but I can’t change it based on what it is, I have to just ride with the bus like everybody else.
TERRILL: Right, right. And it is what it is.
PHIL: It is what it is. And just cuz I’m doing it doesn’t mean that it’s going to change.
PHIL: But I’m glad you like that thing that we did with Najee, Najee’s a good guy.
TERRILL: Thank you!
PHIL: They’re very good people man.
TERRILL: Now, other than touring with Dave Koz, are there some other interests going on other than your project, ah “Mighty Love,” then of course, your tour with Dave Koz, you have anything else going on?
PHIL: Yes, I have a concert on September 7th I believe in Chicago with George Benson at the Country Club Hills Amphitheater and then in October I’m going to be in New Jersey on Pleasure Cruise boat that just sails around in the bay. And in October, later on in October, I’m doing the Opera House in Detroit with “Pieces of a Dream” and then in November, I’m going to South Africa.
PHIL: So I’m staying pretty busy.
TERRILL: You’re definitely busy.
PHIL: I’m always busy man, that’s what it takes. I got too many babies not to be busy.
TERRILL: I know that’s right. When are you going to be back in Southern California?
PHIL: We’ll be back, actually this coming Saturday and Sunday at the Thorton Winery in Temecula.
TERRILL: All right.
PHIL: And we will be doing a series of shows all on the west – Humphrey’s in San Diego, the Concord in Oakland, Chateau St. Michel Winery in Central Washington. So I got, you know I’m blessed, my plate is pretty full.
TERRILL: Oh definitely. You’re definitely blessed brother. I mean I really enjoy the idea that you are staying true to the game, you’re very consistent with that. And your vocals are just supreme, it seems like it’s just aging like fine wine.
PHIL: Let’s hope that the wine doesn’t turn to vinegar.
TERRILL: Right. Hey either way it goes, you’re just a very blessed vocalist and we thank you on behalf of the Urban Music Scene and a bunch of fans that come to the sight, I mean you’re definitely one of the favorites and “Mighty Love” is definitely getting a lot of hits online and I hope it amounts to cash in your pocket.
PHIL: Thanks, Terrill. I appreciate the opportunity and you’ve always been good with me with your reviews. So, I do appreciate your effort in my behalf – I’ll always try to be worthy of it.
TERRILL: Ok. Let me ask you this, a strong request – if we got a part two coming down the line, brother?
PHIL: Oh, I don’t know if we’re going to do a part two or whether I’m going to do a double CD collection of my own compositions. I’m presently in negotiations to try to secure the London Philharmonic string section, where I could cut the rhythms’ sections here and fly to London and do the strings and then come back here and put it in the computer at a complete host facility and mix it.
TERRILL: Wow, wow.
PHIL: It’s a serious undertaking.
TERRILL: Yes, it is.
PHIL: And you’re talking about spending $40,000 a day just in musician fees.
TERRILL: Wow. And hopefully that will come out to be a major masterpiece. It sounds like a serious project. How long you been working on that?
PHIL: I’ve been working on it off and on for about 10 months now.
TERRILL: And it’s still in development.
PHIL: Yeah, I’m still writing tunes. I still don’t have all of the tunes that I think I need. And being as blessed as I have been to work with kinds of musicians that I have, I want to make sure that I always put my best foot forward.
TERRILL: You always do though. That’s not, that’s really definitely, you don’t need any crutches, I mean that’s for sure. I mean you’re definitely …
PHIL: I put more pressure on myself to maintain that kind of quality that anyone else would put on me. So in that respect, although it keeps my quality control pretty high, it makes me my own worst enemy from time to time. Because I can never be satisfied with what I do.
TERRILL: Right, Right.
PHIL: I’m always trying to do something, a step beyond you know.
TERRILL: Is there an artist out there other than what we just talked about with Najee and any others that you’re on tour with – is there any other artist, a favorite that you would possible like to hook up with down the line and possible do a track.
PHIL: Do you remember Barbara Weathers?
TERRILL: Yes I do.
PHIL: She used to sing in Atlantic Starr.
TERRILL: Right, Atlantic Starr is my group!
PHIL: I would like to do a project with her as well. I don’t know if I would like to do an album full of duets or just write some compositions for her to sing and maybe do some of the arrangement or orchestration on it.
TERRILL: She’s a powerful vocalist.
PHIL: She’s a beautiful girl too man.
TERRILL: Oh absolutely.
PHIL: She’s got a good spirit, she’s got an incredible voice. She takes directions so well. She’s a sweetie. I look forward to the chance to of working with her. Either on a solo project for her or just jumping in and doing a duet with her – I think it would be kind of interesting.
TERRILL: And I tell you what, she’s got that background too, and I hope she’s doing right now. I need to go look her up. But ah …
PHIL: She does have a, I think she’s on something but I don’t know whether she’s on a Kirk Whalum record, I think maybe she’s on a instrumentalist’s record. And that project probably was released in the last 12 to 15 months.
PHIL: I’m looking forward to her doing her own projects, because I think she’s a voice that people will respond to.
TERRILL: Oh yeah, definitely. And the connection of you two if you do do a duet together, I mean that would be such a powerful anthem together.
PHIL: That would be kind of nice you know.
TERRILL: I mean year, it’s a traditional R&B sound. It’s a sound – a remembrance sound because I tell you what. The Old School is coming back baby, and ah, you got a lot of groups coming back – they’re coming back as groups or they’re coming back as just a solo singer and there’s actually a need. A demand.
PHIL: I always wanted to hear her do “Weakness,” and I thought that “Weakness” would work itself, the Stevie Wonder song that is on the Woman In Red soundtrack album. (starts to sing.). I thought that that would make an interesting duet as well.
TERRILL: I think that alone was interesting (laughs).
PHIL: You know what I mean.
TERRILL: I know exactly what you mean.
PHIL: With her vocal prowess and her chameleoneesque way of delivering a lyric. I think that would be a great song for her to do.
TERRILL: Wow, wow. And I hope that with this interviewing and me getting this transcribed and getting it out on the air – she could see this on the site. I’ll send her an e-mail, so she would be motivated and…
PHIL: Terrill, do you think we have enough, do you think it’s cool? Because I got to run…
TERRILL: You do got to run and I’m done.
PHIL: Hey man, are we square?
TERRILL: We are square my brother.
PHIL: Do you have enough that you could use?
TERRILL: I got plenty and enough and thank you for your time.
PHIL: I trust I wasn’t too garrulous in our endeavor.
TERRILL: No, no, no , no , no. Thanks & We love you brother!
PHIL: I love you back. I’ll talk to you when I get back to the coast.
TERRILL: You got it! See you later.