Sometimes the death of a loved one can amplify lessons you couldn’t quite hear while they were living. When Phillip-Michael Scales returned to Chicago, the tenacity and work ethic of his late uncle, B.B. King, came in loud and clear. This resulted in him playing over 200 shows and recording his stunning new EP, Sinner-Songwriter.
Between being the nephew of a blues legend and being raised in Detroit by parents who came of age at the height of Motown; Blues and Soul music were some of Phillip-Michael’s earliest memories. However, when he attended Berklee College of Music he found himself more interested in the lyrics and newer sound of Indie Rock. These influences would continue through his initial move to Chicago where he fronted his first post college band, Briar Rabbit.
Like many young musicians, Scales took pride in being a “starving artist,” working in restaurants to pay the bills while counting down the hours until he was on tour or in the studio. In an attempt to further his career he left Chicago for the sunny skies of Los Angeles. What followed was a dizzying year of trying to play the game, waiting more tables, and meeting people only to never hear from them again. Missing the directness and charm of the midwest as well as the pace of a big city, Phillip-Michael returned to Chicago where things began falling into place. While physically returning to where he came from, he also found himself returning to the bluesy soul that raised him as he wrote Sinner-Songwriter.
Phillip-Michael produced the entire collection himself in addition to playing the majority of the instruments on the EP. Overall, the songs retain the strong lyricism from his love affair with all things indie rock, while allowing his earliest influences to shine through like never before. The end result is distinctly Chicago: electric, passionate and gritty with a regard for its history.
He has opened for Anderson East, Guster, David Cook, Bethany Joy Lenz, Matt Hires, Billy Rafoul, Crystal Bowersox, Tyler Hilton, Jon McLaughlin, Cory Brannan and Kate Voegele. His music has taken him all the way to the Middle East, as well as festivals across the US and Canada.