Angie Fisher – Huf Awards Entertainment
Angie Fisher’s five-song EP Searching for Angie Fisher is arguably one of R&B’s most relatable sets in years. The powerhouse vocalist who scored a Best Traditional R&B Performance Grammy nomination for her 2014 debut hit “I.R.S.” and is currently co-starring in the Love Jones: The Musical stage play, sings anthems about debt, independence and finding love over tracks helmed by some of the music business’ most noted producers.
“I’m gearing up for the full album release, and I am very happy that people will be able to hear me sing songs that are a little bit different from ‘I.R.S.,’” Angie explains about the EP. “This helped [Hidden Beach Recordings CEO] Steve McKeever and I select the songs for the project.”
Fisher’s “I.R.S.,” written by B. Slade and produced by Ro and Sauce from the hit-making R&B group Somethin’ for the People, immediately resonates with listeners. The bluesy bass, punchy piano notes and do-wop female background vocals set the tone for Fisher’s piercing performance full of nuanced ad-libs and vulnerable lyrics: “2,000 bucks would save my life / 200 bucks would ease the pain / The I.R.S. is on my case.”
Fisher is humbled that her debut song was recognized by the music industry’s most prestigious award show. “When I got the nomination and when the Grammys asked me to perform on the pre-telecast, I thought it was a joke,” she recalls. “I just love what I do. I’m honored and flattered and thank God for it.”
Fisher transcends “I.R.S.” financial woes on “Queen,” a ‘70s inspired house track produced by DJ Terry Hunter, who crafted Jennifer Hudson and R. Kelly’s “It’s Your World.” In the song that Fisher describes as a “powerful message about self respect,” she tells her would be king what she values in a relationship: “It ain’t about money cause I don’t care what you earned / Can you look past these hips and thighs and see what I’m really worth?”
Gospel organs and more blues elements drive “Hide & Seek” written by Fisher and B. Slade and produced by PK, the man behind Chris Brown’s “Fine China.” Here Fisher sings about searching for and finding Mr. Right. “I’m not too prideful to show you that I will go the extra mile in a relationship,” Fisher says.
With an assist from producer Osinachi, who has worked with Tinashe, Ciara and the Pussycat Dolls, Fisher gets down and funky, James Brown-style, on “You Got Me,” stressing her commitment to her man. Fisher fell in love with the song when Osinachi played it for her in the studio. “I’m not stuck in a box, I don’t just sing ballads,” Fisher says. “This song is very energetic. It makes you move a certain way. It’s downright soulful.”
Searching for Angie Fisher even includes a mesmerizing a cappella cover of Billie Holiday’s rendition of “Summertime,” the jazz classic from George Gershwin’s 1934 play “Porgy & Bess.” Fisher says McKeever encouraged her to record the stripped-down version. “A lot of people have had their own version of the song, but no one has ever done it without music,” Fisher says, recalling advice from McKeever.
In addition to releasing the EP, Fisher is enjoying being a part of the Love Jones: The Musical ensemble cast alongside Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, MC Lyte, Raheem DeVaughn and Marsha Ambrosius. Fisher portrays Josie, the best friend of female lead Nina, played by Chrisette. “Every night has been so amazing,” Fisher says. “I’m coming into my own as an actor.”
Prior to launching her solo career, the Pasadena, Calif. native performed as a background vocalist and session singer working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Robin Thicke and Kirk Franklin.
Mike Phillips – Musical Director
Mike Phillips hails from Mount Vernon, NY. He became interested in music at a young age, moving through several different instruments before settling on the saxophone. By the age of 16, he decided to play professionally. He made an impromptu New York debut at Wilson’s nightclub in New York in 1993, and that led to a series of session and sideman jobs in jazz, R&B, and even rap.
Phillips and his soulful yet funky grooves have wowed fans across the globe and earned standing ovations from audiences at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and the inaugural balls for President’s Clinton and Obama. His television credits include performances on the Grammys, BET Awards, BET Honors and the Soul Train Awards. Phillips also served as musical director and host of the popular BET program Lyric Café.
Audiences around the world also know when Mike Phillips puts his saxophone to his lips, magic is about to happen. In a short time, the Mount Vernon, New York native (home of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and Heavy D) has exploded on the world music scene becoming the jazz man with hip-hop flavor known for blowing away audiences on stage, television and with chart-topping recordings.
“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