Mike Phillips Releases His Rendition Of: Lift Every Voice And Sing
In commemoration of this year’s annual Juneteenth celebration and its status as an official National Holiday, it was only fitting that Mike Phillips released his rendition of this classic song.
“If we truly listen to this song and take heed to the words, it can be a road map to fairness and equality, which can only lead to a better America for everyone,” mentions Mike Phillips. This powerful masterpiece was written by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson and produced by Hamilton Hardin and arranged by Mike Phillips and Hamilton Hardin.
In June 2020 after an incident that caused NASCAR to take a close look at themselves and the imagery that surrounds the fans and events, Mike was invited to perform the National Anthem as he has done for dozens of NBA, NFL, and NHL games over the years.
What they did not expect was Mike with West Byrd accompanying him on piano extending the anthem to include snippets of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the Black National Anthem at the start and end of the iconic song. This peaceful act of defiance was quickly observed by black NASCAR fans around the country and shared on social media while many other fans were left scratching their heads wondering what they had just witnessed.
“When I snuck the song into the NASCAR performance of the anthem, I was kind of outraged that the executives didn’t recognize it. But, it served as the perfect educational moment about the existence of the song and the importance of it and its historical context,” adds Mike.
Mike Phillips also released his new self-titled album, Mike Phillips, globally available on July 8, via the SRG-ILS label imprint. Mike Phillips (The Album) is available for pre-order now via Mike Phillips (The Album) and also at the SRG Store.
The lead single from the new album is the beautiful smooth-jazz, “City Lights” and it was written by Claude Villani and produced by Hamilton Hardin.
“I had the melody for City Lights in my head for years and one day I played it for Mike and he really connected with it and well, the rest is history,” mentions Claude Villani. “It always reminds me of a summer day when I hear it,” he adds.
“The CEO of SRG who is a musician and who went to Berklee College of Music and who takes music seriously, has a keen understanding and love for music and I’m honored to take a song that he wrote over 40 years ago and bring it to life with the assistance of producer Hamilton Hardin,” shares Mike Phillips.
Mike Phillips recently announced his new partnership with SRG-ILS Group, and launched his Jazz record label, “Keep It Moving Music” (KIMM). Keep It Moving Music will serve as a platform for young jazz artists that are extremely intentional about their musical growth, willing to work hard, and want to learn the dynamics of the business.
Artists that partner with KIMM will be developed, educated, mentored, and will potentially be exposed to working with other established artists on the SRG roster such as Brian McKnight, Raheem DeVaughn, After 7, and many more. Where radio was once the main avenue to share new music, KIMM will work with their artists to utilize social media, curated playlists, NFT platforms, and other cutting-edge technology to market their product.
About Mike Phillips
World-renowned saxophonist Mike Phillips is known as one of the most electrifying instrumentalists today. Mike is the first musician signed by Michael Jordan to the Nike Jordan Brand, home of the Air Jordan, and is the only musician in the world to have recorded and toured with the legendary “Big Three” of American soul and pop music: Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder, not only as a member of the band but as a featured soloist.
Mike toured for nearly two years as part of the band for “Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL Tour” by Cirque du Soleil. And music superstar Prince knew what audiences around the world know… when Mike Phillips puts his saxophone to his lips, magic is about to happen.
Prince once quoted “I was offstage, listening to Michael Phillips take his solo. I was thinking ‘Wow, listen to those people responding, and all he’s doing is playing a saxophone.’ They can feel that what he’s doing is real. So many shows now…they are so dead. But here’s one man breathing into an instrument, and the whole room feels alive. It made me want to rise up to that level when I came back onstage.” Prince, Rolling Stone, 5/27/04
Phillips is no stranger to the professional sports world, as his version of the National Anthem during the 2016 NFC Championship game sent shockwaves all over the NFL deemed one of the best anthems ever done instrumentally and now is known as the “SAXTHEM”.
Mike has played three (3) halftime NFL shows with various artists and served as Music Director for the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration for two (2) consecutive years. Phillips also served as Musical Director and Host of the popular BET program “Lyric Café”. Mike Phillips’ other television performances have included the Grammys, the Soul Train Awards and as host of his own show “Mike’s World” on BET network channel Centric which thrilled millions of viewers.
Mike’s solo albums “You Have Reached Mike Phillips”, “Uncommon Denominator”, “M.P.3”, and his latest “Pulling Off The Covers” all debuted in the Top #5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart. “Pulling Off The Covers”, is a unique collection of songs that have inspired Mike throughout his career. The album features collaborations with many of Mike’s friends including Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Leela James, PJ Morton, and Trombone Shorty.