Many are called, but few are chosen.
Philip 7, real name Philip Scantlebury, believes that he is one of the chosen ones for the entertainment arena –– by the mere fact he cannot imagine himself doing anything else.
“From school I always liked it. It was like chosen for me. No matter what I did, it always came back to music. If I felt down I sang; if I was happy I sang.
“With my mum on Sundays, when she cooked she was singing, and we all sang together. So it was always a big part of my growing up, and my personality. So it was just like fate that I had to sing,” Philip said.
The singer told Bajan Vibes music was his first love. And, it’s all he wants to do. In fact, he has been doing just that for the last 19 years.
Most would know Philip 7 from his current band Masala; but before that, he was the founder of the band Strategy, now renamed The Energy Band, with Kirk Brown.
“Me and Kirk, we realized that there was a void in the industry when it comes to live music . . . . We decided we needed a young fresh energetic band; so we started up the band Strategy. And to get the name we just said, we needed a strategy; and that’s how we got the name for the band.
“We decided we needed a female vocalist and we auditioned a few and we came up with TJ. We had some great musicians playing with the band. We did Ship Inn, Bakoo, the hot spots that were happening,” Philip said.
But he decided to move on from the band and start his own –– Masala –– where he could sing all genres of music, including rock and alternative.
“Strategy, like I said, was supposed to be a young, hype, energetic band and full of energy. Everyone loved it and so on, but I still felt like for me personally, I wanted that element, but I still wanted music, and I didn’t only just want music, but a greater cross section of music, because after a while Strategy started concentrating totally on soca, reggae and R&B.
“And I always loved the rock music; so I had missed that. I decided that I needed to start a band that I could play every single genre . . . and that’s when I came up with the name Masala,” Philip explained.
And the band has been doing quite well by any standard.
“. . . From travelling the world, everyone loves the band and is blown away by how one band can play so many genres so well . . . . We did Reggae On The Hill one year that was fantastic, and I think that was one of our biggest crowds –– over 13,000. One of the biggest ones I can say is when we opened for John Legend when he toured here.
“His musicians came to us after and gave us so many praises like they didn’t expect to hear such talent and musicianship to their standard coming out of Barbados. We have been doing colleges across the United States, and that has been going very well and promoting Barbados all over,” Philip added.
He is also making movements as a solo artiste with his soca music.
“I have been singing soca from 2008. This year my two songs were Rumpage and I went to semifinals in Party with a song called It’s Starting.”
It’s actually on the soca charts in the top 20 in London. My other song I did that was really big was Ben Ya Back in 2012 with Skinny Fabulous,’ the unpretentious singer said.
However, he admitted they were downtimes. But this was not a deterrent to him; only motivation to push even harder. He admitted to Bajan Vibes that sometimes his motivation came to him in the forms of small, but beautiful surprises.
“It is a hard business, and it is a business. As you go on and grow you realize that music is a business . . . . From my experience, talent is only like ten per cent. The rest of it is strictly business.
“It’s how you get out there and promote yourself; and I still have a lot to learn. Every day you meet challenges. And you just don’t stop. I love it a lot and I just don’t see myself doing anything else. I just love everything about music.
“Even the down, the parts of it where you feel like you are not getting ahead; you are not moving forward. Every time you think you might give up, something happens. Simple little things like when you’re in the supermarket shopping and a ten-year-old girl comes over and says, ‘Are you the guy that I saw on television singing?’ and I say ‘Yeah’, and she goes, ‘Can I have a photo with you?’.
“Simple little things like that keep you going. The fact the kids know who you are, they look up to you; and that’s great inspiration for me,” Philip said.
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