Bohan Pheonix, A Chinese – American Rapper is rising figure today in the hip-hop music industry. Being an Asian-American rapper, his ethnicity brings out from the people makes his music extraordinary. The rapper has worked with High Brothers on a track called “NO HOOK” which crossed over 1.1 Million views.
He has also released his new single called “IUNNO”
Previously in 2017, he released his EP called “OVERSEAS”
Unlike most of the other hip-hop artists, Bohan brings a different taste of music into his traditional routes and a fusion with rap.
#1 Introduce yourselves and where are you based from?
I am Bohan Phoenix and I was born in Hubei, China. But now I split my time between China and the US, mainly Chengdu and Brooklyn. But fortunate enough to have music take me many other places to share my story.
#2 Tell us more about how did you start your journey in music?
I never was specifically into music as a child, but when I moved from China to the States in 2003, I was only 11 years old. Having spoke no English, I found ways to learn it at a rapid pace, watching cartoons, TV shows, movies, imitating their speech. But when I came across 8 Mile by Eminem, the story of his life, his struggles, and his identity as an “outcast”, intertwined with the music and spirit of Hip Hop, made me realize there is something there that attracted me. It resonated with me because I also felt like an outcast going from rural Hubei to Boston. I was immediately drawn to his story, and therefore inevitably the music. That was around 2005, and that’s when I first started experimenting with writing.
#3 How would you describe your music style?
I love to listen to so much different types of music, D’Angelo to Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips to Dirty Projectors, I tend to make whatever I myself will enjoy. I would describe my sound as pretty fluid, as I like to make a variety of songs, not really restricting myself. I think what’s important to me is just make good music. But I love storytelling, and I tend to do a lot of that in my own music.
#4 Tell more about your recent EP OVERSEAS and the story behind it?
Overseas have been a big part of my life. Moving from China to the States at age 11, then back every single year since then because my family lives in China, with the exception of my mother who is in Boston. This overseas experience was more than just flying back and forth, it affected how i grew up, how I saw the people around me, and how I see the world. The OVERSEAS. EP was my sharing of my experience. Dealing with the question of identity, the struggle of finding a place called “home”, and also appreciating the future which we were headed for, a future of multi-racial and multi-cultured world. Drawing from my own stories and retelling stories of those around me, I just wanted to let those who are also in my position to know that they are not alone. I think we as humans all want something, someone we can relate to. Its the human connection, and music can do that, it breaks down the barriers that we otherwise have.
#5 Musically, what are your biggest influences and who are your favorite musicians?
The people in my life is where I draw most of my inspiration, family, friends, past lovers, and people I meet on a daily basis. I also was very much inspired by Eminem of course, and through him I discovered Tupac, Lauryn Hill, and artists like 50 Cent who made me want to not just be a dope writer, but also to be “cool”. Some of my favorite musicians today are D’Angelo, the late Michael Jackson, and honestly I love Amy Winehouse with a passion. These people showed me that music are able to transcend language, and the textual context in which we all are confined to. Because I enjoyed their music long before I was able to speak the language fluently, I could feel their love, I could feel the music. So I believe in the power of music to story tell, to comfort, and to bring close people from all different backgrounds and cultures. When i’m playing a sold out show in NYC to a crowd of 400, and most of them are not Chinese, they can still feel as if we are one big family. The human family.
#6 In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
I think everything starts with imitation, walking, speaking, everything. So in my earlier years I was heavily trying to master the “craft” so I can impress people with rhymes and technicalities that I admired in artists like Eminem. But I slowly realized music is a form of expression, and I had to express MYSELF. I would like to think my newest music may not be the most popping, most viral, or most whatever that attracts numbers at this current day and age, but it is very much Bohan, and it will never be anything else but Bohan. And to me that is the beauty of it, music has allowed me to be comfortable with who I am. And It has had this affect on other people who can relate to me, despite the skin tone.
#7 What are your future plans for the upcoming year?
I will continue to make and perform music, it’s the joy of my life. Besides that, spending more time with the family is always a priority to me. If possible, traveling would be amazing, it always gives me inspiration when I get to see how other people live in their culture!
#8 What message would you like to spread to all the young artists and musicians out there?
As someone who used to think that I need to “blow up” or be “famous”, I would like to tell everyone who’s also working on their craft to be patient, to trust in the process. People only see the tip of the iceberg, but they know how much is below the surface. Love what you do, love everyone who’s around you. don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and let YOUR truth comes out through your music.