Suspence
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Suspence hails from our far northern neighbor Ontario, Canada—not a place particularly known for their hip-hop acts. He defines his music as a blend of electronica, rock and hip-hop and seemingly negotiates between sounds to create an entirely fresh genre. It is certainly different and incomparable but saturated with pulsating drumbeats and electric guitar, his over-instrumentation may prove to drown out the weight of his lyrics. There are primarily two schools of hip-hop listeners: those who define an albums success on the beats and those who judge based on the lyrical content. Those concerned with Suspence’s lyrical content will be pleased to be exposed to this artist, whose South African background opens up the topic gates to issues like the aftermath of apartheid and his personal experiences with racism. Although his deliveries are sing songy at times— “Hush little lady don’t you cry, I’m going to sing you a lullaby”—and borderline whiny, Suspence has plenty of potential to draw a multi-genre, cross-cultural following.


-Boyuan Gao

http://beyondrace.com/reviews/music%20reviews/770-suspence
- Beyond Race Magazine


BROTHERS UNITE WITH OBAMA, WIN "BEST URBAN" MUSIC AWARD

South African-Canadian music brothers win "Best Urban" category and support Obama at Ontario Independent Music Awards

Hip Hop music producer Earl "Daniel" Phillips, along with his brother Spencer "Suspence" Phillips, won the "Best Urban" category at the recent Ontario Independent Music Awards. "It's an incredible honour to have been nominated and to win means so much to me, my family and my people, says lead vocalist "Suspence" Phillips.

Suspence Phillips capped off his acceptance speech with a black power salute and the words "Obama 08 y'all", throwing his support behind the Democratic hopeful, Mr. Barack Obama. When asked why he referenced the American candidate, Suspence replied, "To be honest, I wasn't planning to do that. But when I was in front of that microphone I realized that this win was life changing, and I salute Obama who is all about change."

Phillips, born in Southern Africa, has been living in Toronto, Canada for the past 20 years. He has been writing, producing and performing his music since the age of 12. "I always knew music would be a big part of my life," he commented. He graduated from the Harris Institute for the Arts and spent a year interning at Sony Music Entertainment, label home of music superstars such as Celine Dion and Avril Lavigne. "As an artist, I have a passion for creating music, but I also have a keen understanding of the business side of the music industry."

"Daniel" Phillips, also the General Manager at Hot Jewlz Entertainment, notes that the local community has shaped their music. "I hear the sounds of life everywhere across Toronto, from passing cars, malls, homes and restaurants. With so many different cultures living together, it is music that holds the creative power to unite us." The duo has also been active in the community, volunteering at festivals and special community concerts like the East Africa Famine Relief Concert. "We always try to address issues such as AIDS and poverty that are close to our hearts. We want to give back through our art and time."

Their future projects include releasing a free digital album worldwide in December, and performing at the Human Rights Concert in South Africa in March 2009. "We will also be touring schools and performing across South Africa and Botswana, as well as presenting Life Skill workshops."

The brothers hope to build on the momentum generated from their award win, by continuing to promote their music to the rest of Canada and then abroad. "We hope to make our family proud and our community a stronger place."

http://thehypemagazine.blogspot.com/2008/10/brothers-unite-with-obama-win-best.html
- The Hype Magazine - Midwest


Brothers Earl and Spencer Phillips, through their independent music label Hot Jewlz Entertainment, have been awarded the Best Urban prize at the Ontario Independent Music Awards.

By CYNTHIA REASON
November 04, 2008 1:52 PM

The diverse sounds and unique cultural stylings of Rexdale reverberated through a local sibling duo all the way to the Ontario Independent Music Awards last month.
"I hear the sounds of life everywhere in Northern Etobicoke, from passing cars, malls, homes and restaurants," noted producer Earl Phillips, 31, the elder portion of a Phillips brother team that took away the Best Urban prize at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Oct. 16.

"There's such a high concentration of people, of competing sounds and music here. You can be driving your car, pull up to red light, and your own music mixes with the deep base of the car to the left of you. Then a car on the right pulls up playing classical music and it all just clicks - it's that magical moment when all different sounds weave together to create this uniting force."

Those sounds, mixed together at Hot Jewlz Entertainment, Phillips' Mount Olive area independent music label with his younger brother Spencer 'Suspence' Phillips, 22, proved a victorious combination at last month's Music Awards. Although they were up against some more 'established' artists, Suspence's break out, 'electro-hip-rock' singles Hush and Give Me a Reason bested the efforts of fellow nominees Katchphraze, Mr. Burns, Sylvia Gautier and Kool Brees.

"It was a very exciting night for us. I knew we were winners just to be there, just to be nominated, so to win, it was tremendous," Phillips said. "Everyone there was there for same reason- because they have a passion for music."

For Phillips, that passion was born in Southern Africa - where he grew up until moving to Scarborough at age 12- listening to his parents' Gospel music on the family's frequent 2,000-km road trips from Botswana to Cape Town, South Africa. It was Gospel's melody-infused message that made a big impact on the burgeoning young music enthusiast.

"We'd be forced to sit in the car and listen to those tapes over and over again. And now, in adulthood, those are the songs I still hear in my head," he said, noting that he hopes to pass down that same love of music to his six-month-old daughter, Devin Jade.

Next up for the Roy Thompson Hall-manager-by-day and his Harris Institute for the Arts-educated brother are two exciting projects- the release of their free digital album in December, followed by a mini-tour of South Africa in March.

We Are One, a 10-track album with the award-winning Hush as its lead single, will be released on Dec. 11 to mark Human Rights Day in Canada. It will be available at www.hotjewlz.com

Following the album's release, the Phillips brothers will return to their roots to perform at the Human Rights Concert in Cape Town South Africa on March 21, as well as to tour some local schools, performing and presenting life skills workshops.

"It's all about decision-making skills, how to deal with peer pressure, how to deal with AIDS issues - just basically about making important, smart and good decisions," he said.

"Music is an outlet. We want to give the kids something they can take away that is tangible."

http://www.insidetoronto.com/article/58621 - Etobicoke Guardian


SUSPENCE-FUL MOMENT: Spencer Phillips, 22, right, and his touring DJ, Aleks Martinsons, who goes by the stage name DJ Smart, celebrate winning an Ontario Independent Music Award. Phillips, who goes by the stage name ‘Suspence’, received the award in the category of Best Urban at the awards ceremony held in Toronto Oct. 16. The Oakville-based musician said it was a thrill to win the award and that it has provided him with momentum to pursue his musical endeavours. Phillips is currently working on his debut album, which he hopes to release early next year through his independent record label, Hot Jewlz Entertainment. For information on Spencer Phillips, visit www.hotjewlz.com .

http://www.oakvillebeaver.com/news/article/215298 - Oakville Beaver


By Tina Depko, Oakville Beaver Staff, Arts & Entertainment

The past year was significant for many members of Oakville’s thriving arts community.

Local actors, artists, dancers, authors and musicians were recognized for their talents on the provincial, national and international stages.

Some were nominated for awards, while others took part in major exhibitions.

It is impossible to highlight all of the people who made a mark in the arts in the past year. We have so many talented people in our community.

Spencer "Suspence" Phillips, an Oakville resident and St. Ignatius of Loyola graduate, took home an Ontario Independent Music Award this year.

The awards recognize unsigned talent across the province, with this year’s ceremony taking place in Toronto. Judges included members of Ontario media, as well as label representatives and members of the radio and retail industries.

“It’s great to get some recognition for some of my creative work, especially since it is my first nomination for any award,” Phillips said. “A lot of times independent music doesn’t get the same recognition that major music gets. There’s a great independent music scene and a lot of talent in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, so it is good to showcase and give accolades to these new and emerging artists that are coming up.”

Phillips, known by his stage name Suspence, won in the Best Urban category.

He is currently working on his debut album, which he hopes to release in 2009 through his independent record label, Hot Jewlz Entertainment.

Phillips, who was born in Jwaneng, Botswana, is travelling to South Africa for two-and-a-half weeks in March. He is slated to perform at a citywide festival in Cape Town on March 21 to celebrate Human Rights Day. He is also planning to visit schools to teach students about music.

http://www.oakvillebeaver.com/news/article/228685 - Oakville Beaver


By Tina Depko, Oakville Beaver Staff

Arts & Entertainment


He might only be 22, but Spencer Phillips is already making the Toronto music scene sit up and take notice.
The Oakville resident and St. Ignatius of Loyola graduate has been nominated for a Ontario Independent Music Award.

The awards recognize unsigned talent across the province, with this year’s ceremony taking place Thursday in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Judges include members of Ontario media, as well as label representatives and members of the radio and retail industries.

“It’s great to get some recognition for some of my creative work, especially since it is my first nomination for any award,” Phillips said. “A lot of times independent music doesn’t get the same recognition that major music gets. There’s a great independent music scene and a lot of talent in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, so it is good to showcase and give accolades to these new and emerging artists that are coming up.”

Phillips, who goes by the stage name Suspence, has been nominated in the Best Urban category. He’s up against fours other urban musicians, but he’s confident of his chances.

“I’ve done some research into the other artists and I think I’ve got a good chance at it,” he said. “I haven’t written a speech. I’m just going to wing it.”

Phillips is currently working on his debut album, which he hopes to release early next year through his independent record label, Hot Jewlz Entertainment. He defines his musical style as “electro-hiprock”, which he describes as a “funky fusion of electro, hip hop and rock.” He lists his musical influences as Kanye West, Will. i. am, Coldplay, Wyclef Jean and Andre 3000.

“I have a DJ when I perform, but hopefully, as I progress, I’ll have a live band and tour with a live band,” he said. “When I’m recording, I have session musicians, but I’m not touring with them yet.”

Phillips’ passion for music production started at a young age. He recalls playing around with his older brother, Earl’s, music production equipment by age 12. He attended Ryerson University after high school, but realized he wanted to switch to a more music-focused program, so he enrolled at the Harris Institute for the Arts, specializing in recording arts management. He graduated in 2007 and landed a job with the American Federation of Musicians Canada.

“Currently, I work with immigration, so when Canadian artists have gigs in the U. S., they need a work permit and a lot of musicians don’t know how to obtain that, so they go through us and we administer it,” he said. “We also educate them about how to create a tour and contracts. I like making direct contact with the musicians.”

Now that Phillips has finished school and is working full-time, he said he hopes to start performing more regularly. He is working to book gigs across the Greater Toronto Area, with a particular focus on university and college venues.

“I have a lot more new material now, so I’m planning to go on the road in the next two months,” he said. “I want to do a lot of local shows to get my feet wet. I hope to play smaller clubs, especially on the campuses. My music really resonates with the 18 to 24 crowd.”

Phillips, who was born in Jwaneng, Botswana, is travelling to South Africa for two-and-a-half weeks in March. He is slated to perform at a citywide festival in Cape Town on March 21 to celebrate Human Rights Day. He is also planning to visit schools to teach students about music, as well as perform.

“I want to tie in AIDS awareness and education with music and bring them together through a positive message,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do something positive with the AIDS epidemic. When you look at the country I was born in, which is Botswana, it is the country with the highest number of people living with AIDS. I look at what Tom Cochrane did and all the work he did with World Vision in Africa and he’s an inspiration for me. I can do the same type of work on a smaller scale, but I’d like to work myself up to what he’s done.”

While Oakville is still the place where Phillips puts his feet up at the end of a long day, he said he isn’t ruling out relocating for his career. He’s got his sights set on the United Kingdom, where he said there is a larger market for his type of music than anywhere in North America.

“I’m hoping to stay in Canada, but if there was a backup plan, it would be to the U. K.,” he said. “My sound would fit in the U. K. market. It is more of a loyal fan base.”

If he never records a No. 1 album, Phillips said he won’t be heartbroken. He said his passion is for making the world a better place through his music.

“Honestly, I’d just like to be able to do music full-time and get paid for it,” he said. “It is going to be a life of service, as well as a life of performing. I would like to get involved in causes around the world. That’s really the focus of my music. Music is just the vessel of some of the things I want to do.”

For information on Spencer Phillips, visit www.hotjewlz.com .



http://www.oakvillebeaver.com/news/article/212538 - Oakville Beaver Newspaper


Using music as a vehicle to reach youth, South African-Canadian musicians bridge music and outreach

International recording artist and producer Spencer “Suspence” Phillips embarks on his debut music tour through South Africa from March 24 – April 5th, 2009. He brings his special blend of dance hip hop called “retro hip rock”, which is a fusion of “electro, hip hop, and rock” music.

Born in Botswana to South African parents, Suspence was exposed to music artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, ABBA and Michael Jackson. After moving to Canada, he continued to develop his talent for music creation and producing. He then spent a year interning at Sony Music Entertainment, label home of music superstars such as Celine Dion and Avril Lavigne.

On October 16th, 2008, Suspence won the Ontario Independent Music Award in the "Best Urban" Category. He is currently promoting his upcoming debut album entitled "Therapy Sessions Vol. 1" which will be released on May 21st, 2009. Suspence will be world premiering his new album and music during this tour, and it boasts hip hop mixed with rock, electro and retro pop. “It’s an honest album”, says Suspence, “it was therapeutic to deal with issues that many of us are facing on a daily basis though music.”

Backed by DJ Daniel X, the duo has also been active in the community, volunteering at festivals and special community concerts like the East Africa Famine Relief Concert. “We always try to address issues such as AIDS and poverty that are close to our hearts. We want to give back through our art and time.” DJ Daniel X recently partnered with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Canada, giving presentations to school children in Canada to raise awareness and funds for this charity.

During their South African tour, they will also be speaking at different schools, providing workshops, performing concerts in night clubs, and partnering with community groups like the Olive Leaf Foundation on AIDS prevention initiatives. “On this tour we hope to use music as a vehicle, and provide some music and life skill training too.”

Current stops on the tour include:
Wed March 25th - East Rand School of the Arts, East Rand 11 am
Wed March 25th - Back2Basics with Stander & Bonsai, Melville, 9 pm
Thurs March 26th - St. Peter's School, Rivonia - Private Show, 11 am
Sat March 28th – Fashion Phenomenon, Fashion TV Lounge, Johannesburg, 8 pm
Tues March 31st - House of NsAkO - Canadian-South African night, Brixton, 6:30 pm
Wed April 1st - Purple Turtle Club, with Djs: realROZZANO! and Baron X, Cape Town, 10 pm
Fri April 3rd - Olive Leaf Foundation show, Mfeleni, 2 pm
Fri April 3rd - Roots Night Club with Arrows, Cape Town, 9 pm
- STREETSHEET (SA Hip Hop Online Magazine)



Nominated for Best Pop Song 2009, Suspence took home the music award. The award was for a song Suspence recorded in 2008, named 'These Voices'.
"I am grateful for the recognition. It is always great to be recognized for my creative work. It came as a surprise, to be honest. " - Toronto Exclusive Magazine


Discography

Therapy Sessions Vol. 1- THE EXAMINATION
International Release date: Nov 13th, 2009
Singles: "Stomp It Out", "Dreamer Boy" and "In My Studio"

"We Are One" EP- digital only release - Dec 11, 2008.

"Spence Diamond R.I.P Mixtape" - Suspence released Oct 3, 2007.

"Diamond in the Rough" Mixtape - Spence Diamond aka Suspence released Dec 1st, 2006

"Proud North" single: - Daniel & Spence Diamond aka Suspence, Internet Radio, Sep, 2006
Suspence Productions Vol. 4, 2005
Suspence Productions Vol. 1, 2004
Suspence Mix Tape - 4th edition, 2003
"Listen to My Demo!!!" EP - 2002

Photos

Bio

Music is at its best when it invokes uncertainty, excitement and surprise. It is to this end that artist/producer Suspence devotes his musical aspirations, crafting intelligent lyrics over rugged, in your face grooves.

Suspence was born in Southern Africa, and grew up in Toronto, Canada where he absorbed the rich musical mosaic. His influences include Kanye West, Will.i.am, Coldplay, Wyclef Jean, and Andre 3000 (from Outkast). This eclectic artist sings, raps, writes and produces all of his own original material. He defines his musical style as “electro-hiprock” which he describes as a “funky fusion of electro, hip hop and rock.”

Suspence formed an independent hip hop label Hot Jewlz Entertainment (www.hotjewlz.com) which is dedicated to promoting honest music. “Hip hop has been held captive by too many fantasy tales and unattainable lifestyles. I've always tried to be honest with my music.” Suspence launched the “Keep it Honest” music campaign in 2007 with his hilarious satirical music video “Ballin' on a Budget” on Youtube.

On October 16th, 2008 Suspence won the Ontario Independent Music Award in the "Best Urban" Category. His debut album, “Therapy Sessions Vol. 1: Examination“ was released on November 13th, 2009. The new release boasts hip hop mixed with rock, electro and retro pop. As Suspence puts it, "its synths and breakbeats with an updated twist."

Suspence has completed a music tour of South Africa in March 2009 and another tour of the UK in June 2009.

For more information, bookings, and artist interviews please contact:

Earl Phillips at (416) 908-7810 or earl@hotjewlz.com

Artist website: www.suspenceonline.com
www.myspace.com/diamondboywonder

Label website: www.hotjewlz.com