“Ladies and gentlemen” is probably one of the most well known phrases around when dealing with entertainment events.
But when you integrate those three words into the world of urban music, you’ll come up with a man who has become synonymous with them, and he goes by the name of Phalon “Jazze Pha” Alexander.
The man behind such careers as Ciara, and the fine-tuner of hit records associated with artists like Ludacris, T.I., Too $hort, Usher, Young Buck, and Slim Thug has been able to cement a sound all his own.
Now with a bevy of platinum plaques overcrowding his gallery, he sets his sights on the world of television with his reality show, Welcome To Dreamland starring himself and fellow Memphis, TN producer Drumma Boy.
Sharing is creative abilities with those less fortunate, the energetic melody maker plans on constructing the next big thing superstar-wise—and with the track record he already holds, there shouldn’t be any reason to doubt his skill in doing so.
iHipHop.com: When did you first really get into producing?
Jazze Pha: I started producing probably around 17-years-old…
iHipHop.com: Have your methods changed over the years, or are you more of a “If it ain’t broke…” kind of person?
Jazze Pha: I think it’s great to evolve, and to try and expand so you can show the general public. You definitely have to adapt to the times, because music is always changing.
iHipHop.com: Talk about the reality show you have coming up, Welcome To Dreamland. What’s going to be the premise behind it?
Jazze Pha: Welcome To Dreamland is a program that’s going to bring awareness to what goes on behind the scenes of the music business.
It’s going to show Drumma Boy and I going in with the knowledge that we have, and bring in new talent off of the street, and showing people what it takes to develop a star from scratch.
It shows the integrity that you really need to have, and not just the making of a female superstar, and actually making somebody from nothing.
It’s more than just singing, there’s more to it like singing, dancing, style, and appearance… It’s just everything…
iHipHop.com: What gave you the idea to do a reality show?
Jazze Pha: It was really the brainchild of a friend of mine… So he asked me if I wanted to do it, and we were trying to find somebody to do it with, so we picked Drumma Boy because he’s like an underdog and a new cat.
He’s also from Memphis, TN like me, but that really had nothing to do with it, but it was a coincidence. I just think he’s one of the up-and-coming cats that have a promising future, so that was the thing to do.
iHipHop.com: How has the experience of doing a reality show been like for you? Is it harder than music?
Jazze Pha: People know me from being in front of the camera anyways, so I think it’s just a lot more of what they’re used to. But in this capacity, they’re going to see another side to me, and what I actually do.
So Welcome To Dreamland is a chance for people to see inside and really look at what it is that we do. It’s more than just getting the accolades after the music is done, and this really shows the groundwork.
iHipHop.com: What are some of the things you look for when trying to break new talent?
Jazze Pha: The first thing that I look for is the “It Factor.” Whether it be a male or a female, if I look at them and their appearance and demeanor alone says, “Who is that?” when they walk into a room.
They’re going to have to captivate in some kind of way… That’s what it’s a bout, and that’s the first thing that I look for before they even say a word.
iHipHop.com: Do you have any preference when it comes to working with MC’s and singers, or is it all the same?
Jazze Pha: It just depends on how skilled they are… It can be hell working with an MC, and it can be hard working with a singer as well. It’s all about somebody who really has the skill, and about someone who is really meant to be doing this.
When you’re dealing with very opinionated people, it can be really hard because they think that they know—even though they probably haven’t created anything, they think they know how they should sound like. But that’s the reason why they come to me, because I know and I have an idea of what they should sound like or be like.
iHipHop.com: How is your creative process? Do you like to be in the studio with the artist, or do you just send out your material?
Jazze Pha: I think it’s all about common ground. Sometimes we might start with a little conversation, and we’ll talk about stuff like the person’s favorite artist and where do they see themselves. I also listen to their voices, and what it is that the person brings.
After I find where the artist is most comfortable, we usually start from there. After that, we go towards your genre, if you’re Hip-Hop; then we’ll go towards that field.
iHipHop.com: Do you have any methods you go through when trying to get your material heard?
Jazze Pha: Reach out to people, but it depends on how it comes. I’m a very personable guy, so I can pretty much walk up to anybody. I go out and most of the time I’m going to see an artist before I see an A&R, because artists are the ones who go to the clubs and are in the VIP sections.
So we might pass our numbers on and meet up afterwards, or stuff like that. Also dealing in this business, I know mostly know all of the A&R’s.
iHipHop.com: What’s one piece of equipment that you can’t live without?
Jazze Pha: I’d say probably the old MPC 3000. It’s not old school, but it’s just old… [Laughs]
iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… With so many producers steadily coming out, have you found it difficult to keep your name in circulation?
Jazze Pha: Not really because you can be whoever you are… You can be Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Mannie Fresh, or whoever; but there’s only one Jazze Pha. There’s a certain thing that people look for, and that’s personality.
Like Swizz Beatz has a personality, Puffy has his own personality, JD [Jermaine Dupri], and I think people look for different things.
It’s just like sneakers; you have sneakers for different occasions. You might wear some Pumas for sports, and then you might wear some Pradas to kick it at the awards. It’s all about your preference…
So I believe that we all have our place in this game as long as we all have personality. It’s not all about the music with me; it’s more than music.
iHipHop.com: The majority of artists you’ve worked with are from the Midwest to Southern regions. Do you have any plans on spreading more towards the East Coast, or are you content with what you’re doing right now?
Jazze Pha: I’ve worked with artists from everywhere, but I think it’s more about what comes to you. I worked with Mary J. Blige, I worked with Diddy, and I did a lot of different things; like from Angie Stone to Aaliyah. So I don’t really think that statement fits me…