Fly Phoenix
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Fly Phoenix

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Pop Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Premium Blend"

Musicians often seek each other to collaborate on a project or even form a band. But on some occasions, they come together in the most random of ways.

Five Columbia students all met by chance in 2007 to form Fly Phoenix, a hybrid of soul, funk and hip hop, and they are now working toward having a strong presence in the Chicago music scene. Vocalist Brandon Rizzo, guitarist Nick Lacy, bassist Theodore Berry, keyboardist Joe Walters and drummer Ben Cofresi have played several Big Mouth open mic shows at Columbia, as well as a show with local musicians Anti-Crew Feb. 28 at Reggie’s Live, 2109 S. State St., to an enthusiastic crowd of fans.

The Chronicle spoke with Rizzo about how the band formed, how they would classify their sound and how Chicagoans have responded to the band’s live shows.

The Chronicle: How did all of you meet?

Brandon Rizzo: Last year I went to a fitness club, and when I was leaving, Nick, our guitarist, was working the front desk. We started talking, and he was trying to put together something for his audition coming up. I told him I was looking for a band, and he said he knew two guys—our keyboardist and our bassist.

[After we met] the four of us were playing together one night before this audition last year, we started jamming and we thought it would be cool to start a band. It was a little idea at first; [we] weren’t really that serious at first. Over the summer we didn’t really see each other, so we kind of put it on the back burner. When we got back to town we started to talk about it and we decided we wanted to get serious. Everything happened kind of randomly. We all met by chance, which to me is a real cool thing to be where we are now.

It’s kind of weird. We like the fact that we sound like so many different styles, that we bring a little something that everyone can enjoy—a little bit of jazz, a little bit of rock, R&B and soul. That way if someone doesn’t like one song they’re bound to like another one. We picked those because those are really the styles that influence us the most. But as far as one specific genre, I don’t think we can say for sure because we have a little variety there.

How did all of you decide on how to classify the band’s sound?

We’ve done about seven or eight shows; we did one at Reggie’s [Live], and that was really good. It was a good turnout. A lot of people are starting to hear about us, and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback. We haven’t really started marketing ourselves too much yet. We’re still trying to get to a point where we can start recording more stuff and get an EP together. As far as word of mouth, it’s going pretty well.

How have people in Chicago responded to the band’s sound?

Being in college, in general, has helped me because I’m more of an independent person now. As far as Columbia and the classes I’ve taken, I’ve started to learn more about the business itself and trying to get more specific about the business I didn’t know before. And it’s kind of helping me get more perspective on the real world of the recording industry, which is really beneficial I think.

How has being music business and audio arts and acoustics majors at Columbia helped you with the band?

I think to play the Chicago music scene is challenging. It kind of strengthens you as a musician and a band, because the crowds are a lot more real in terms of their reaction and their feedback, which makes it more tough to make sure that when you get on stage your stuff is together and a complete package rather than throwing something together before it’s even ready to go. I think it’s pretty good because the shows that we’ve played with the bands we’ve played, they kind of give each other the respect they deserve and watch and listen to each other’s shows. At the end of the show [at Reggie’s Live] after Anti-Crew went up, all three of the bands went up on stage and we all just jammed when the show was over. It was really nice.
- By Jessica Galliart, A&E Editor, The Columbia Chronicle

"Concert Review: Fly Phoenix"

At BPM we support the promotion of local up-and-coming hip hop artists, both in Chicago (our home) and around the world. Whether you rap, dance, play, spin, or tag, let us know if you would like BPM to play a part in promoting your art. Last night our Mika Tatich checked out Fly Phoenix, a hip hop influenced, genre-hopping Chicago band.

‘Twas an eventful night Friday when Columbia Urban Music Association (CUMA) at Chicago’s Columbia College presented Kullision 2 Shattered Fashion Show. The event was hosted by none other than the gentleman himself, Fonzworth Bentley. And one musical act of the night, Fly Phoenix, appeared to be a big hit with the audience.

“I’m really excited to play tonight,” Ben Cofresi, drummer of Fly Phoenix, said. Lead singer Brandon Rizzo, guitarist Nick Lacy, bassist T. Berry IV, and keyboard player Joe Walters became Fly Phoenix over one year ago and have been performing at Columbia College events as well as other venues around the city of Chicago. This fresh, innovative group is especially known for two songs: “Fly” and “Not Ready For Love.”

Rizzo describes their style of music as “rock, jazz and funk mixed with soul,” and I would have to agree with him. The boys stepped up to the stage in their formal black pants and vests and performed three songs, “Indecision,” “Not Ready For Love,” and “Changes,” featuring MC rapper D2G. Each song transitioned smoothly into the next and received an amiable applause. Even Mr. Bentley commented on Fly Phoenix, stating that he enjoyed listening to their music. Now who wouldn’t walk off the stage in confidence?

Fly Phoenix returned to their seats in the nearly empty computer room located just above the runway with much glee. Aside from the rather large, intense runway lights beaming down, the boys confirmed that their performance was yet another success.

Fly Phoenix recently took a few months off leaping from show to show to revamp for the new year. One of their main goals as a group for 2009 is to work on their Electronic Press Kit (EPK), a promotion kit that includes music, videos, photos, information, etc. about the band. Now that March is approaching, the group is ready to jump back into the music scene.

“It’s gonna be a big year,” Lacy said.

If you ever get a chance to see Fly Phoenix in action, take the offer to check them out. In fact, they will be performing tomorrow, February 22, at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge. The event begins at 8 p.m. and is open to anyone who is over 18 years of age. Tickets are now on sale for $8.00. Fly Phoenix will be among the first to perform. Don’t be late! - Mika Tatich,


Fly Phoenix: Live at The Cubby Bear [CD/DVD]
Release Date: July 19th, 2012
*Free download at


Fly Phoenix [Studio Album]
Release Date: Nov. 1st, 2012
Recorded at: Rax Trax Studios
Engineered by Rick Barnes



Whether in the studio or on the road, Fly Phoenix is all about spreading positivity through their music. Their live shows are a true showcase of their power and individuality among the sea of musical artists that exist today. If you happen to pass through Chicago in 2012, be sure to check out performances from this up and coming... You will not be disappointed!