At just 23 years old Phillip Johnson-Richardson, aka Phil., has already established himself as a promising singer, rapper, and actor. Currently playing the role of Benny on Apple TV+ original series Little Voice created by the award-winning team of J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson, Phil. has been balancing his time working on music for his debut EP.
Phil.s original music is a departure from his musical theater roots and showcases his versatility and range. Drawing from an eclectic roster of musical influences, Phil. intertwines hip-hop and R&B as he masterfully shifts from singing to rapping. He taps into his skills as an actor to deliver each lyric with an undeniable magnetism and authenticity. This is exemplified in the bravado of his new single watch out..
“watch out” is rapidfire turn up track with a meaningful message. Phil.s effortless cadence connects his intelligent rhymes and undeniable bars – like fellow actor / musician Donald Glover, he’s talking real shit with playful undertones.
According to Phil. watch out came together like most of his songs do, listening to beats while penning lyrics on the train. When asked about the inspiration behind the track, he shared, This song is describing my first official all eyes on me moment. It’s the song I think describes me in the best way because I’m talking my shit, but it just feels different. I feel like every rapper prides themselves on being different but ends up looking the same, rapping the same and trying to be like the next person and this song is about how Im just not.
He adds, The sound of this joint is exactly how I like it – rapid fire and turn up. It’s the kinda song that I think people are gonna have to listen to more than once just so they can hear everything I’m saying and also recognize I’m not just talking bullshit.
The journey wasn’t always easy for Phil., his mental fortitude and meteoric rise can be attributed to the perseverance gained when his family suddenly fell homeless and found themselves sleeping on a relatives garage floor. The hardship dialed up his drive and appreciation for the arts, so he pushed himself even harder.
The Charlotte-bred quadruple threat (because of course dude can dance too) then honed his raw talents at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where he graduated from the musical theatre program in 2018. Immediately after graduation he landed his first role, joining the Chicago company ensemble of the sold-out musical phenomenon Hamilton, playing various characters including its namesake Alexander Hamilton. Since then Phil. moved to New York City and found a successful acting career, with appearances on tv shows Chicago PD, Proven Innocent, and The Other Two and horror film Haunt. He is currently a series regular on the new Apple TV+ show Little Voice created by Sara Bareilles and JJ Abrams which launched on July 10th, 2020.
While acting has taken the forefront of his rapidly evolving career, Phil. remains dedicated to his passion for music. His original songs pull from his Hip-Hop and R&B influences, From Lauryn Hill to John Legend to Drake and beyond. Phil.s ability to effortlessly flow from confident rhymes to impassioned singing allows him to fuse his dualities into one artistic persona. That incredible range of talent is seen across his music and best showcased in his upcoming EP Different Cities. The project includes turn up Hip-Hop tracks like the first single Watch Out while also showing his softer, if not seductive, R&B side on tunes like One That I Want.
With a highly anticipated new series and groundbreaking EP in the wings, its clear Phil. is about to rise.