When John came out to Arizona, we worked on three songs for two days in my home studio called the “Music Box”. The date was February 22nd and 23rd of 2020. At the time we had no idea a worldwide pandemic was about to hit. At this point, we decided to name the project: “Phoenix Project 2020”. This was simply because we were in Phoenix, Arizona and it was the year 2020, nothing more. It turned out to be prophetic in so many ways I will only touch on a few of the reasons in this letter. As you eventually listen to the entire compilation of works coming on this collection of music, we will allow you to discover the “rest of the story”.
1. We wanted the album cover to be a guitar that was made out of fire, and made from fire. We later realized that was the legend of the Phoenix Bird. For the next few months as the music was written and recorded, the world felt like it was turning to ashes and fire and was under full attack.
2. 2020 simply represented the year. We later realized that 2020 was considered perfect vision and that how we look at our situation during tough times can be critical to how we choose to live each day. Will we live with clouded vision? Or perfect vision? Perfect Vision sees right through tough circumstances directly to the blessings each day can hold.
3. One of the lines that John wrote: “light at the end of the rainbow” was incredible! We can look past the beauty of the colors and majesty of the rainbow and focus only on the end goal: the “light” or “pot of gold”. If our focus is only on the end, we can be completely blinded to the beauty that awaits us in the actual journey. As we're all in a great storm for sure, John and I wrote “We Will Be Fine” to encourage all of us, as we are surrounded by fire, and help us “rise from the ashes”. Also as the rainbow has seven colors, music has seven notes in a scale, and there are seven days of the week. We believe this music was given to us to share with you, to lift you up, encourage you every day of the week, and enjoy the journey of a “brand new day!”
4. There will always be hard times, trials, loneliness, sickness, and storms in our lives. We believe these songs will allow all of us to have “perfect vision” and aid in helping us all to focus on the good things and blessings each day can bring, and to “rise up from the ashes”.
May your vision be perfect, and your day be blessed!
I wrote and recorded two songs in August of 2019. After I had a rough recording of the two songs, I thought to myself (a pipe dream, or maybe not?) who in the entire world would I want to sing these songs? I thought to myself, John Elefante, of course! There was almost no delay time, he would be my first draft choice on which singer would be in my Fantasy Rock team lineup. The next day I could not get that thought out of my mind, I kept imagining how great John’s vocals would sound on these two songs. At that time, I decided I have to go for it! Not having any tangible connection to John, there seemed like only one thing I could even try. I will reach out to through his fan base website and see if he would have any interest in singing one or both of these songs. That very day I sent him an email, with probably less than a one in a million chance request, to see if he would even reply. I waited for three days with no reply at all. "Anybody listening?" haha. So I thought that I would send one more email just in case he didn't receive it. Well, I was shocked when he replied and said: "Send me the songs." "Are you kidding?" I thought. At this point, John was willing to listen to my songs. Even if he says no, at least that is some kind of a story! Now after waiting for about three days, he sent me an email saying that he liked the songs and that we should talk further about the project. That was the start! We started talking on the phone, myself in Phoenix, and John in the Nashville area. In February of 2020, just before we would even know that the world was about to change, we worked for two days in my home studio. We wrote three new songs, and also re-worked my other songs. He added so much depth and melody changes to the previous songs that all five songs were becoming both of our work, and it quickly became a team effort. So we co-wrote all 5 songs together, which we then decided to call "Phoenix Project 2020." One of the songs is called "Perfect Vision" so we thought that would be a great name for the album, 2020 vision is perfect, and it was in the year 2020.
Just a few weeks after we got together in my studio that I call the 'Music Box' (Music Studio, Boxberger...) The world changed forever. John, myself, and the rest of the world seemed to stop as we were all locked in our homes. At this point, John and I decided to look at each day as a gift, instead of a curse. So the lyrics of "We Will Be Fine" were born. These lyrics encompassed how we were feeling and how we needed to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix bird, which we had already decided early on to name the project from before we knew what was going to soon ensue. Thus, the Album cover art, the music that we wrote that month, was like rising from ashes. The guitar coming out of the fire is exactly what we felt depicted what we were feeling at this time.
I also want my story to be an encouragement to anyone out there. I am virtually a nobody and had a big dream. I took a chance and gave it a shot, and now the project is a reality. I got to work with, and record with, my favorite singer and songwriter in the whole world! So never give up on a dream! Go for it! They may not all come true, but when some do they are amazing. There is a 100 percent chance they won’t if we never even try!
Only recently, John did tell me: “I have been asked many times to do a project like this, but have never felt compelled to do this kind of collaboration up until now.” That blew me away and made me even more thankful that I got this very rare opportunity. I truly believe “all things are possible”. The Phoenix Project is proof of that fact for me, but also any who reads this story!
I often receive private messages and emails from folks wanting me to critique their music, some ask me if I would produce for them or even sing on their project. In 2019 I received an email or two from a gentleman named Frank Boxberger. Since I do listen to most music sent my way, I gave Franks demo’s a listen. The production and vocals were a bit undernourished, but there was something I liked about it and it left a slight impression on me. Shortly after, he sent me another email with a few more song ideas and asked me if I would want to get involved. I started to like his music more and more but my schedule was looking like I just couldn’t pull it off. As I looked a bit deeper, I discovered that in between a three-week road trip I had a few days off that was right after a gig in Scottsdale, AZ, where Frank lived. He and I spoke at length with me making no promises that I would be able to get involved. We made arrangements for us to get together for that two day period I had available in Scottsdale.
When Frank and I met in person, I instantly took a liking to him. His willingness to serve The Kingdom was very evident. I liked that aspect of him very much. I began to figure out that Frank, aside from what I already knew of him, was a very interesting guy. He was also an inventor. Frank had developed a bass guitar that a wounded warrior could play with only one arm. He had a real heart for this, and again I was impressed.
Soon after, we met at his home studio and he played me some music. Although the songs needed work, I began to think maybe this would be fun to dive into. As we set those songs aside and started some songs from scratch, some cool things started to happen. All in all, we had the beginning of something with good potential. At that point, the "Phoenix Project” was born.
When I arrived home from my road trip on March 8th, I started hearing about a virus of sorts but only paid mild attention to it at first. As we all know now, it ROCKED OUR WORLD. We were grounded, and my home studio was yelling my name, so I jumped into the Phoenix Project feet first! What you will hear is a culmination of the sessions while everyone was in lockdown, the word VIRTUAL was getting all too popular. We had to record everything without being in the same room as one another.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the first single “We Will Be Fine.” The song has some references to what we are all going through. The full project will be coming out later on. Frank and I wanted to give away the first single as a gift. Enjoy.
From the heart,
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