In my craziest dreams, I’ve always thought that I was bestie with Phyllisia Ross. You know, I saw us, hanging out, listening to classical music, her playing piano and me drinking tea. I know, your girl has some of the weirdest thoughts, but one of the things that I’ve learned during those past few years of shamelessly working for Hello Crepuscule, is that you have to “Fake it until you make it”. That has really been my motto and I truly believe that if you fake it hard enough one day, one day, you will have the chance to make it. And when that day comes, man, you better seize it. That’s kind of what happened.
I met Phyllisia Ross, last year at an event organized by the Embassy of Haiti in France where she was performing and I approached her. Did I say that even in my dreams, she has always looked unapproachable? Well That was exactly how I felt while approaching her. I thought that she would act like a Diva and not even talk to me, and frankly I wouldn’t even blame her. But she had to surprise me. So, here I am, one year later, in this bar. She’s sitting in front me, sipping some wine, talking about Miles Davis, Cote des arcadins and how she’s planning on discovering more places in Haiti. I’m excited but I’m trying to act professional, and while I’m listening to her, talking about her career, her last music “can’t resist” that you can watch here, I realize that through her, I’m learning. I was thinking about how I could share her fashion style with you, her simple makeup and cute short locs, or maybe how she’s changing the music game by remaining true to herself, by who inspired her, but at this exact moment, nothing was clearer than the fact that I realized , I, as a young Haitian woman could also have a positive impact on the world. So I thought I’d share with you 5 life lesson, that I learned while having a drink with Phyllisia Ross.
1. Be Down to earth
That was probably the first thing That I learned from her: Phyllisia is realistic. I was already shocked when she had replied to my DM on Instagram, but listening to her talk, I realized that she’s very humble and down to earth. Phyllisia describes herself as somebody that has a focus outlook on the world. This reminds me that being realistic is one of the best quality ever. Not letting your accomplishments blind you from what is real and what is not, can be a reminder, a motivation for you to do more.
2. Don’t limit yourself
Phyllisia’s speech makes more sense to me because she’s a living proof of what she’s says. For her, you shouldn’t limit yourself. In whatever you do Make sure what you do is quality. Think about it, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to only this “thing”. Or just because you belong to one community, doesn’t mean you should only talk about it. I relate so much to this, specially with hello Crepuscule. When people don’t understand why I don’t write about the same things I used to write about when I started. You have the choice to explore all the opportunities that you have in front of you, why should you only take one just because you’re good at it? And because Phyllisia’s variety of music is just what you need to remind you that you have a field of adventures in front of you, go ahead and be a butterfly.
P.S: My puns go from bad to worse. I just can’t help it.
3. You should live a life of adventures
Talking about adventures, when asked where she gets all of her inspiration, Phyllisia says “: I’m living my life, I’m experiencing stuff, and that’s what my music is about”. Traveling from america to Europe, she brings the best of everywhere she goes, while keeping such an originality in her music. And for me this goes right after “don’t limit yourself”. Because once you’re ready in your mind, when you think that you should and you can live a life full of potential, you just have to go ahead and do it.
4. Be Fearless
I hope that what I’m writing looks as clear to you as they are in my head. Because while having Phyllisia sitting in front of me, in this little bar on “Les Champs-Elysées”, I realized that, none of this would have been possible if I had worried about the fear of talking to her. It only took me one step to go and talk to her and forget about the stress that I had. Therefor, when Phyllisia talked about fear, her speech just touched me. For her you shouldn’t be afraid to go against what people do. Be fearless and do what you gotta do.
5. Always be grateful for the community where you come from
During my time talking to her, I asked Phyllisia why doesn’t she have more music in creole?Does she actually speak creole” Why did she waited for so long before having her first concert in Haiti? Who does she look up as Haitian artist. Where does she like to visit when she’s in Haiti? The inner Haitian in me was so eager to claim her and keep her for me. But she made me realize one thing: “You can represent an entire culture by being the best version of yourself and by enjoying what you do.” The ones who love you or appreciate what you do, will always come back to you. All you Have to do is to be grateful for the community where you come from because through your life you will see what it has brought to you.
P.S: I know you’re dying to know the answers to all my questions. YES Phyllisia speaks Creole. Her list of Haitian artist is long and includes artists like Arly larriviere, Riva Precil, Ti Djo Zenny.. anyone who’s doing a positive job in the community. She doesn’t want to define her music by her simply singing haitian songs, she has sung with artists like the game, young jeezy, Ne-yo, she has sung reggae . She just does what she feels like doing, depend on the vibe. And when asked how she describes her music, she replied: I want to make music simple enough for people to digest but complex enough to be real music. I don’t want to make fast-food music, but some diri and legum ¹ that I made all day long”.
- diri and legum: rice and stew. one of haiti’s national dish