Producer and Director Phazz Clark’s Inspirational Career Path
Victor “Phazz” Clark is the very definition of creativity. He is an audio engineer, a sound designer, a writer, and an outstanding producer and director. Although he once was an extraordinary dancer, he sagely chose to work in the music business instead, a career move which ended up being far more lucrative for him.
Photo courtesy: Phazz Clark
When he’s not working as a director, he’s in high demand as a songwriter and arranger, on projects for artists. Helping others to create great music, he drew the attention of advertisers, who hired him to compose jingles for McDonalds, Pro Line hair products and more. Also, he has been involved in creating movie soundtracks, which has led him into the demanding world of films and television. His many successes in this area include composing music for Adam Sandler’s feature film The BenchWarmers, ABC Family’s original show Lincoln Heights, and the Academy Award-winning TV series Crash. He also produced a song on the hit show Love Games on the Oxygen channel, and he was commissioned by former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis to be the music supervisor for the nationally-released movie Carter High, directed by Arthur Muhammad, starring Vivica A. Fox.
Phazz spoke with Heart Of Hollywood Magazine about his current activities and how he found success through a combination of talent, wise moves, and hard work.
What motivated you to become a producer?
I was motivated to become a music producer during my time as a choreographer and professional dancer. I was on tour in Japan when what to do about my career path really dawned on me. I was in Tokyo, performing at Pick ford Live Hall, in the Roppongi red-light district. I was performing three 45-minute shows, six nights a week, three months straight. I was the choreographer and backup dancer for a band called The Wooten Brothers. A&M Records, out of New York, signed them to a major record deal. We had an incredible show. I was jamming so hard. My dance moves were so thrilling and exciting to watch, that the crowd could hardly pay attention to anyone else. I just stood out! Even celebrities that were touring Japan heard about our show and stopped by. These included Sheila E, Mario Van Peebles, Bobby Brown and Chaka Khan.
Still, no matter how great my dancing ability was, I began to realize that the entertainment business executives at the time didn’t view me as bankable. To them, I was just a dancer. So, I began to research and study the music business and found out the real money was in royalties and publishing. The game was doing something once and receiving residual income forever. They called it mailbox money, getting paid while you sleep.
On my second tour to Japan, we performed for one month in Yokohama. We were not allowed to mingle with the fans. We could only be on the stage and the dressing room areas. About two weeks in, I suffered an injury to my leg from performing a backbend shoulder drop with no hands. I was taken to the hospital. I had a fracture to my patella and had to wear a knee brace. I ended up in the audience watching the show. Then some fans approached me and said they had really enjoyed my performance. I told them I wanted to be a musician and they took me to Harajuku and sponsored my first piano workstation, the EOS B500. That’s when it all began.
Once I returned to the United States, I went home, locked myself in my room and started teaching myself how to play piano and sequence original music. I rehearsed 15 to 16 hours every day. I never came out of my room. I only opened the door for someone to bring me food and water. I would then lock the door back. Thirty days later, I emerged from solitude, as a musician and composer. I was able to create full musical compositions on my piano workstation. The EOS B500 allowed me to imitate and play each sound with the piano keys. It came with a large variety of instruments, such as the electric guitar, bass synth, violins, drums, saxophones, flutes, and the list goes on and on. That’s how I became a music producer.
Photo courtesy: Phazz Clark
What are some of the projects that you are currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on an album called “When Worlds Collide” with my business partner, Cole Beasley, who is the wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills and a former Dallas Cowboy. Drizo, John Sparkz, and I teamed up to release Cole’s new single, Sometimes. The song is getting fantastic reviews and gaining momentum.
I’m also dropping songs with Super Bowl Champ Morris Claiborne, who is super talented. Search “Mo Makin Music” to listen to his single, Pressure Makes Diamonds. I’m collaborating with NFL veteran Jeremy Mincey on several movie projects in Atlanta. In addition to that, I’m Directing The Ultimate Hail Mary, a TV show starring Drew Pearson, The Original #88. Malcalm Snell and I are the executive producers of the show. It is co-hosted by Paul Salfen, and produced by Bryce “Static” Clark & Kim Francis. Drew will be officially inducted into the Hall Of Fame on Sunday August 8, 2021, Roger Staubach will be his presenter.
I’m also working with Torion Sellers who made his splash on the big screen in the nationally released film Barbershop 3, starring Cedric The Entertainer, Ice Cube, Regina Hall, Common, Nicki Minaj, Anthony Anderson, Torion, and many others. I’ve also been selected to score and create the soundtrack for several upcoming movies produced by Royal Fortune Films CEO Randy Roberts.
Is there a particular story that you would like to direct or produce?
Yes. I would love to have the opportunity to direct a Marvel Comics sequel, such as The X-Men, Black Panther and The Avengers.
How do you evaluate a film before deciding to direct or produce it?
I evaluate a film to work on by seeing if it has a strong, solid script with an amazing storyline, and if there is, a wonderful team of people that are easy to work with.
You have three companies. How do you manage your time in order to successfully manage them all?
Wow, it’s not easy! With the assistance of my amazing team, I am able to successfully run a tight operation. My time is very limited and valuable to me.
What was the most challenging time in your career and how did you overcome it?
When I opened my first recording facility, Top Of The Line Studios, it was very challenging. I had four suites in the One Irving Plaza building. It was difficult to pay my rent at times. I had paying clients, but it was tough because of all the charity studio time, production, marketing and promotions. I was giving this away for free, to select artists that I believed in.
I got locked out of my studio twice, but thankfully I was always showing love to the maintenance man of the One Irving Plaza building. Periodically, I would buy him lunch or give him a six-pack of beer. I even bought him a watch for his birthday. So, because of my thoughtful gestures throughout the years, he would come and unlock the doors after the building shut down and sneak me in to do sessions at night, with paying clients, until I stacked my money back up. Before you knew it, I was back in business.
I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Human nature makes people not appreciate what they get from you for free; I was taken for granted and most of them betrayed me in the end. I also learned that you can’t help anybody until you help yourself. To overcome the challenges at that time, I cut everybody off and closed the studio down. I created a home studio and went private. That’s when I began to direct all my astounding drive, energy, and passion into myself. I reinvented myself as Phazzanation. I launched my clothing line, Victor Clark Clothing Company, as well as Phazzanation Studios. I eventfully partnered with Cole Beasley to launch ColdNation Records. Then, I started to blow up! I became successful by marketing myself.
You have worked in different countries and experienced different cultures. How do you think that visiting these places affected your career?
My first tour was in Osaka, Japan. I lived there for six months, performing over 2,000 shows. You become a dancing machine after that many performances, and the Japanese people treated me like a superstar. They were so nice and generous. I love their culture and they truly appreciated my God-given talent and hard work. So, my dance partners and I put on a spectacular show for them every night.
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As a film and music producer, what inspires you to create something new?
Being creative is a powerful energy that can come when you least expect it. I can wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration for a new song, then go to the piano and create it on the spot. Or a phrase from a conversation I’m having can spark me to write a synopsis for a movie. Just going through life, I’m inspired by everything around me. It’s a beautiful thing.
What would you like to share in this magazine that you have never shared before?
I started out working on the fourth floor of the One Irving Plaza as a sales associate. I excelled very quickly and became one of the top salesmen for the company. They created a room for elite salesmen called the Power Pod, and my ability to close deals landed me in that room. The perks were that I could go and come to work whenever I wanted and did not have to check in with management. As long as I brought in half a million dollars a year, my spot in the Power Pod was secure. I was making big commission checks.
I decided to open up a studio in the same building, on the first floor. I told the people around me what I was going to do, yet no one took me seriously until they started seeing me making moves. So I went to the landlord, they had the suites available, I gave them my deposit, got the keys and then started to convert the space into a full state-of-the
art music studio.
I was ordering supplies from New York and having them shipped to my job, then taking the elevator downstairs to my studio and dropping off the supplies for installation. It took three months for the crew I hired to complete the studio. After I officially opened to the public, I did sessions at night and still worked at my job during the day. I did that back and forth for about a month, then one day I was sitting at my desk and it was about 1:00 p.m. I started to think, I’m never going to be able to fully make my business work as long as I am still working this job; it’s either sink or swim. At that moment, I powered off the computer, got up from my desk, and without saying a word to anybody I walked out the door, went downstairs to my studio and never returned and never looked back. I struggled in the beginning, but eventually made it work. I ran that studio for 11 years.
During the first two years after I walked away from my day job, it was very tough. I ended up losing my vehicle. The bills were stacking up. One of my in-laws gave me a beat-up car. It had dents and scratches everywhere. The taillight was busted, the paint was faded, and it had primer patches all over it. I had no insurance, no tags, and my driver’s license had expired.
I got pulled over by the police once, as I pulled up to the parking lot of my studio building. The officer got out and approached my window. I let it down, and he asked me for everything that I didn’t have. I began to explain to him, “I am a producer and songwriter just starting out and I’m struggling to make something out of myself. I am an honest man. I’m not out here committing crimes or doing anything wrong. I’m just trying to become successful. In fact, I just finished producing a gospel CD called I Beat The Odds.” I gave the officer a CD to take with him and he let me go with no tickets, just a warning to get those things taken care of. He got back in his patrol car and left.
One year later, I received a postcard in the mail from the officer. It read: “Phazz, I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration that you passed on to me. I still listen to the CD you gave me to this day. You inspired me to go into business for myself and now I am building a successful financial service company. If I can ever help you, call me at 214-xxx-xxxx.” I still have that postcard to this very day, and former officer Rios still supports my dreams and endeavors.
What is your message for our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?
I would like to encourage everyone to purchase this magazine and support Heart Of Hollywood CEO Giovanna Salas, for her relentless drive for success and her incredible vision as the publisher of Heart of Hollywood Magazine.
It should be no surprise that goals motivate us and inspire us. The most powerful goals are self-directed goals. Self-directed internal goals. They include understanding your priorities and purpose in life, knowing what you believe to be the most important thing, and using those goals as a daily guide for how you will choose to live your life.
To learn more about me go to my website
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