"I started out never wanting to be a DJ", remembers DJ A&R. These words were sure to come back fast, like a back spin. DJ A&R remembers growing up in a household where on any given weekend his parents played everything from Funk (Parliament), Jazz (Herb Albert/Donald Byrd) to Classical music (Andreas Vollenweider). This mixed blend of tunes provided a unique musical road map that uncovered his love and appreciation for various music genres.
DJ A&R's professional journey began when his father (H. Regal Phillips) instrumentally introduced him to the storied International Tour/Party DJ, DJ Nabs. Fate would have it that DJ Nabs played the saxophone in the Army's National Guard Band with his father, who was a trumpet player at the time. "It was a true blessing as I look back on it", recalls DJ A&R.
Kalonji "K" Phillips aka DJ A&R remembers growing up in a household where on any given weekend his parents played everything from Funk (Parliament), Jazz (Herb Albert/Donald Byrd) to Classical music (Andreas Vollenweider). This mixed blend of tunes provided a unique musical road map that uncovered his love and appreciation for various music genres. With Nabs at the helm of his own radio show on Hot 97.5 (now 107.9) at the time, DJ A&R's father was confident that Nabs could help steer him in the right direction. Their first meeting would take place at the infamous Bistro Lounge turned night club, Club Kaya. This is where DJ A&R cut his teeth on learning, first hand, the business end and relationship side of the industry.
By carrying 16 record crates , 6 times a week, to 6 different clubs and music events, allowed DJ A&R to view in action how a professional DJ conducts, plays and performs.
With an array of performing acts from the likes of RUN DMC, Rakim, Sugar Hill Gang, Grand Master Flash, Kurtis Blow, Method Man & Redman, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, Memphis Bleek, Wyclef and Jay Z, produced a rare opportunity to network weekly with the who's who of the music industry as well as viewing how a seasoned DJ rocked. "I was learning the ropes on how to rock a crowd without realizing it."
Although DJ'ing had its own appeal, DJ A&R knew he wanted to make a larger contribution to music. To do so, he had to go behind the scenes. Through a radio relationship from his previous 91.1 Georgia Tech College radio show (Randall Dunn) and a recommendation from then Radio Promotions Director Phillana Williams (Mgr. of Miguel, Ciara, etc.), DJ A&R landed an internship with then boutique record label LaFace Records.
This is where he discovered his passion for the creative starting point of music--the A&R process. Within a few months of his internship, DJ A&R was quickly promoted and hired on as an A&R coordinator. With the responsibility of listening to demos, submitting tracks for the current artist roster and managing studio budgets, he also helped coordinate projects for The Youngbloodz and Outkast.
Having a knack for uncovering potential talent, DJ A&R positioned himself a standout at the label. This garnered respect from department heads and LA Reid himself which resulted in working closely on several label projects and a remix placement for R&B swooner Donell Jones. His 3-year tenure and dream of heading an act at the label would prove to be short-lived unfortunately, due to a company buy out by then Aritsta Records.
Taken aback by the turn of events, DJ A&R made the decision to utilize what he learned and refocused his efforts on his new passion: Finding and cultivating new talent. 404(K) Entertainment was born.
Through consistency and hard work, success came when DJ A&R discovered his first artist, Kantrell. DJ A&R matched Kantrell with big name producers which resulted in a single by super producer Frank Nitti and a buzzing mix tape. His newly formed company 404(K) Entertainment proved that it could develop, market and promote its own artist. And it is only the begin.
Artist Developer. Producer. DJ. Creator. "Being a DJ helped me see the music better." And it's been on ever since. Cranking out several mix tapes monthly, producing remixes for current artists and local parties, DJ A&R stays busy as a DJ/producer and an A&R consultant.