Berklee Developing Your Artistry: Final Portfolio

Header photo credit: Michael O’Donnell

Electronic Press Kit

Header photo credit: Michael O’Donnell

Artist Statement

My dad likes to tell a story about a trip we took to the grocery store when I was maybe four or five. We were singing along with the radio as we often did, when I started harmonizing with the lead vocalist, which was new for me.

Parents all want to believe that their kids are geniuses and my dad was astonished, but the way I remember it, my harmony wasn’t anything special. I just instinctively knew that the note I was already singing would sound good over the next phrase of music and held the pitch.

It’s a simple old trick to create a yummy, attention-grabbing harmony – my brain just happened to find it early. From that point forward, my voice became a tool of exploration, allowing me to dive instinctively between layers of melody and harmony. It was absolute creative bliss.

I haven’t always done that early promise justice. I used to take myself too seriously and suppressed my own inclinations so that others would think me worthy of respect within the norms of our broken society. I spent a lot of my youth running from the roving restless force inside of me that demands to be expressed. Now, I’m making up for lost time.

I’ve never had the single-minded discipline to focus on just one arena of creation, so my career is littered with hyphenates: Activist-artist. Actor-singer-songwriter. Inventor-composer-culture critic. I’ve been arrested inside of the United States Senate for protesting with a guitar in my hand and performed in sports arenas and on Equity stages. I have software patents and awards for filmmaking. I literally cannot pick a lane.

What I can do is tell anyone who will listen, in as many different ways as I can, that the way things are is not the way they have to be. In my view, our entire species is an improbable emergent consciousness and art is the means by which we engender the empathy necessary for that consciousness to be born.

That’s why my work focuses on themes of social justice and solidarity across the dividing lines of race, gender, and class. That’s why I will always feel more comfortable performing at a protest than in a music venue. That is why I do what I do.

When I am remembered, I hope it is because I presented my perspective and deepest truths in a way that people found moving enough to impel them to do something about the dangerous and deplorable situation in which we find ourselves interpersonally, politically, and economically.

Bio

Tae Phoenix (she/they) is a singer-songwriter, filmmaker, activist, and theatre artist based on the occupied territory of the Coast Salish and Duwamish peoples, colloquially known as Seattle, WA. 

As a queer, autistic Latine Jew, Tae’s work is shaped by lived experience, ancestral memory, empathy, and common sense.

They were notably arrested in January 2020 for singing “Brave” in the US Senate’s Russell Rotunda during the first impeachment trial of the then-president. They have participated in many civil disobedience actions across the country and gave a talk on the subject for beginners at Ignite Seattle #38.

They serve as the resident music & arts leader for the Washington State Poor People’s Campaign and frequently contribute op-eds on politics and social justice to publications including NewsweekThe Guardianand The Forward.

They are also the co-founder of Trek the Vote, a non-partisan network of Star Trek actors, fans, and creators dedicated to fair and equitable elections and have written for both StarTrek.com and Women at Warp.

Awards and nominations include: 2020 nominee for the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award and Best Music Video at the 2019 Hollywood Women’s Film Festival and the 2019 Shoreline Short Film Festival for “We Shall Not Be Moved,” which was also a finalist at the 2019 Oaxaca FilmFest and screened at the 2019 SIFF Bumbershoot showcase.

Letter of Introduction

To: Tara Arroyave, COO, Margam Fine Art

Dear Ms. Arroyave,

My name is Tae Phoenix. I’m a student at Berklee College of Music and a longtime fan of Sir Anthony’s work, both as an actor and as a musician.

I recently noticed that the live recordings of his album “Composer” are no longer available on streaming services. I’m sure this was an oversight on the part of whoever is handling digital distribution of his music. I would be more than happy to help you iron that out if that would be of use to you and your team.

I’d also welcome the opportunity to learn more about what Sir Anthony has in the works musically and find out if there might be other ways my skills might be useful to you. I’m attaching my resume and an example of my creative work.

Many thanks for your attention! I hope to hear from you soon.

Best,
Tae Phoenix

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

Media Contact: Janinne@sugarbirdmarketing.com

Seattle-based singer activist arrested for using music as a form of protest in the Senate’s Russell Rotunda

               Tae Phoenix arrested after performing a song to encourage senators to stand up to President Trump

January 16, 2020 |Washington, DC — Seattle-based activist singer-songwriter Tae Phoenix was arrested by Capitol police yesterday after performing Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave” in the Senate’s Russell Rotunda. Singing or engaging in any form of political demonstration in the Rotunda is illegal. Phoenix joins a long line of musicians and activists who have used singing as a form of protest, including faith leaders who in 2017 gathered at the Russell Senate Office Building to advocate for a Clean Dream Act.

Phoenix is part of a group of “Swarm the Senate” activists who are calling for the removal of President Donald Trump from office on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress contained in the two articles of impeachment, which were delivered to the U.S. Senate yesterday by the newly-appointed impeachment managers.

“I am here to call on Republican Senators to live up to their oath to do impartial justice and uphold the Constitution,” said Phoenix. “I chose to sing ‘Brave’ because it’s going to take bravery for Republicans to stand up to Trump, but they must because he is a menace to everybody now living and all the generations to come. We have urgent issues that need to be front and center: the climate emergency, poverty, systemic racism and sexism, and chaos on the world stage. We do not have time to waste on his cruelty and corruption; to say nothing of the atmosphere of bad faith he chronically engenders. Trump must go.”

The impeachment trial is headed into its second phase this week and next, as Senators are sworn in as jurors and hear arguments from Trump’s legal team and House impeachment managers. For Trump to be removed from office, at least 22 Republicans will need to break with him and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In that eventuality, Vice President Mike Pence would become President.

“As an artist, I have experienced firsthand the power of music to move people in unexpected ways. I chose to put myself at risk today with this action because I am certain that many Republican Senators have substantive reservations about this President, perhaps even enough to remove him from office. I thought that even the possibility that the votes could be out there called for a protest that might inspire them to come forward and be brave,” said Phoenix.

Video: https://twitter.com/myraslotnick/status/1217514378762821634?s=21

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ABOUT SWARM THE SENATE
Swarm the Senate was initiated by a loose and diverse network of grassroots organizers from many movements, including Women’s March, Indivisible, Rise and Resist, March for Truth, and By The People. They hold that President Trump’s crimes against the Constitution, our democracy, our humanity, and our future make him utterly unfit to serve as President. They are committed to a nonviolent convergence in solidarity for liberation of all people and with honor and respect for the indigenous peoples whose land we walk upon.

ABOUT TAE PHOENIX
Tae Phoenix is a Seattle-based activist-musician. She has performed at the Village Theatre, The Paramount, Safeco Field, and Key Arena and has toured nationally and internationally. Tae participated in the protests against Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, DC. She was arrested (along with hundreds of other activists from around the country) for singing "Somebody's Hurting My Sisters" outside of Senator Joni Ernst's (R-IA) office, in front of the Supreme Court, and in the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building. She is active within a wide range of organizations including Indivisible, Poor People's Campaign, Never Again Action, and Women's March.

Some nice things people have said:

Credit: Danielle Barnum

“Whether bringing life to other people’s words or her own, Tae Phoenix is a natural-born storyteller with the polish of an accomplished actress and the authentic edge of a seasoned blues musician.” – Seattle Weekly

“Tae Phoenix’s beautiful voice and moral clarity pack quite a punch.” – Alyssa Milano, actor and activist

“Supremely talented, eloquent and sassy.” –  Brooklands Radio London

“Damn this is great great stuff. Tae has a beautiful voice and stage presence.” – Nadamucho.com

“Without a doubt, Tae Phoenix will be the one that future artists look to when starting their music careers” – Guerilla Candy

“Tae Phoenix’s Lilli Vanessi was sympathetic and dimensional, and she has impressive vocal range.” – Broadway World

“Tae Phoenix perfectly captures the mixture of confidence and self-consciousness the modern public have come to expect in the wildly famous. Her character, Melanie Wheeler, is exactly how you’ve always dreamed your favorite singer would be in person, tough but compassionate, deeply proud of their art and even more deeply touched that you love it so much. Additionally, her powerful voice swept me up until I felt like I was at a bona fide concert.” – Drama in the Hood

“In a wounded world filled with betrayal and hate, Tae Phoenix lifts the spirit and inspires us to make the difference we know we can be.” – Washington State Senator Lisa Wellman

“Whether on a street march for immigrant rights, or a grassroots rally to tax Amazon and other big businesses to fund affordable housing, Tae Phoenix brings vital culture into today’s leading struggles. Tae’s passion and fighting spirit, combined with her extraordinary singing, poignant lyrics, and vivid story-telling, elevate organizing events and protests from the mere ordinary to the extraordinary.” – Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Creative Work

Music Videos
We Shall Not Be Moved (2018)

Brave (2020)

Play the Fool Lyric Video (2021)

Audio
(selected tracks from two decades worth of recordings)