Phoenix grew up closely with his late grandfather L.A Ferrero who played bass in a Jazz band in New York. As well as private lessons, his grandfather helped teach him how to read music and play guitar and piano.
By the age of 17, whilst studying at college, Phoenix started DJ’ing at local venues, bars, clubs and private events around the home counties of England.
Whilst it was fun playing other peoples records, he had ideas for his own, and therefore began producing his own music at 19 years old.This saw him working with the likes of Pharrell Williams’ record label StarTrack ENT; Ryan Leslie’s NextSelection label; YMCMB; Crooked-I from Eminem’s Shady Records; DefJam Records, Universal Records, plus more. He has also produced a large array of remixes for top 10 artists.
Having now moved into the Electronic Dance Music scene, he landed his first big cut by producing the 2014 National Arabic Basketball Championship Official Anthem – Brise d’été (Summer Breeze) which was held in Morocco.
Phoenix has spent the past 2 years working on his debut album ‘When We Were Young’ featuring a selection of very talented singers and songwriters from around the world and it’s due for a February 29th, 2016 release through Island Records.
Over the past year of releasing a selection of remix’s and original tracks he’s almost reached 1 million plays on Soundcloud and over a quarter of a million views on his YouTube channel.
Whilst gaining an increase in followers and fans he’s been able to keep within the top 10 of EDM artists on reverbnation.com and has most recently come 1st place to take the crown in edmranks.com Top 100 DJ’s/EDM Artists of 2015.
With the album on the way, Phoenix hasn’t even really begun yet, so we expect big things for 2016 and beyond.
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Phoenix: I actually grew up on my parent’s farm out in the Hertfordshire countryside near London. Acres of land, quad bikes and guns made for a fun childhood with family and friends. My grandfather was a bass player in a Jazz band and he helped teach me the guitar and to read music, so it all started there I guess.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
Phoenix: Well Phoenix is my middle name, and ‘keys’ is just reference to a piano or keyboard… and since I make electronic music I can play any sound or instrument through the keys. I actually only spelled it with a ‘Z’ to make google searches of me more reliable and not bring up key cutters and lock smiths in Arizona, haha.
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Phoenix: I think it’s absolutely vital.. probably the most important thing you can do if you ever want anyone to hear your music. I spent most of my time coming up putting out free tracks, whether remix’s or even original songs and collaborations. You need to get heard and build a fan base, so let people build their trust in your music and once you have that, they will be willing to pay and support the hard work.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Phoenix: Make sure your social media game and presence are the absolute best they can be. Target every platform and utilise it. Get the music to peoples ears, but target your audience. Email local radio stations, try you luck at bigger ones, local clubs, even organisers, A&R agents, PR companies. Think big, dream big and give it everything you got, but be prepared to put serious work in.
Exposed Vocals: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Phoenix: I just get ideas in my head when I’m relaxing and away from noise. Once I get in the studio to replicate what I hear it might even become something slightly different but I let it develop organically and let my subconscious mind and hands take over.
Exposed Vocals: Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
Phoenix: Yeah, my official website is phoenixkeyz.com.. and you can find me on twitter, soundcloud, reverbnation, Instagram, facebook, snapchat, beatport and probably more!
Exposed Vocals: If you were given half a million dollars and a year off, what would you do? How would you spend it?
Phoenix: I would expand and upgrade my studio. Find some of the best singers and songwriters in the world and make great music. And spend a lot on promo and marketing. Then take a well-deserved vacation with my girlfriend!
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Phoenix: I really like twitter the most for sharing my links. Instagram is great for pics and YouTube and Facebook for videos. I like to snapchat my progress whilst working on some tracks live too. I have a promo twitter page which is utilized to tweet fans of similar artists to make them aware of my music!
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Phoenix: Yes.. well I just ended 2015 with winning EDM Ranks top 100 DJs/EDM Artists and now gearing up to release my debut album on February 29th, a memorable date for this leap year! I’ve been working on it for 2 years but actually did most of the work and changes in the past few months. My styled changed from when I started making it, so it’s been a process and a journey of evolution. But major thank you to the artists that have collaborated and featured on the album, big thanks to a great writer from Canada called Zack Yassin who wrote a few of the tracks on there and my engineer Victor Vieira.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Phoenix : Probably involved in digital marketing and social media management. I really enjoy that aspect of the business and have been doing it just as much as I’ve been making music.
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
Phoenix: By working 18 hours most days. It’s a sacrifice and it impacts aspects of my life. But whilst everyone’s out at the club, I’m busy making the music you’re gonna dance too haha. It takes local friends and partners to sick through it sometimes so big thank you to them.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2016?
Phoenix: Well the album’s dropping on Feb 29th, so go get that! I have an album preview video on YouTube now that you can check out. There’ll be new additional music and collabs coming later in the year and possibly some live DJ events and appearances, so a lot will be happening.