We had the good fortune of connecting with Jean Phoenix Le Grand-EL and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jean Phoenix, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are many. But after years of building the type of brand that has real staying power, I would have to say authenticity is the most important factor to my success, especially if one is synonymous with their brand like I am. Think about how many personal brands were ruined because something was uncovered that drastically contradicted the image of that brand? I say, be authentic from the brand’s inception and you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you’re staying true to it. With my brand, I knew that it had to be authentically me and encompass what was unique about me. To know me is to know that I’m a trendsetter and a pioneer. I’m not afraid to venture into uncharted waters and go against convention to come up with ideals and sounds and visuals that are both classic and futuristic at the same time. I create not always knowing whether or not I’m going to resonate with the masses. So, it takes a lot of fearlessness to be authentic because you’re not wearing a mask in order to appeal to the masses. Being authentic means that no one will ever be able to approach you and try to peel back layers and layers that hide who you truly are. No one can do that to me. How I look, my dress code, what I say, what I believe, how I carry myself, how I treat others, my work ethic, my values are all reflected within my brand. I am self-defined. When I can be unapologetic and raw and still create a successful brand that is unique and appealing, that’s when I know that I’ve truly achieved authenticity with no regrets and pure “IDGAF-ness!” I know that I’ve mastered it!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
All of my art forms are underneath one umbrella called The Legacy Brands. Legacy is what I am all about, which represents everything that I do inside and outside of my creative arts. Within it, encompasses my Martial Arts system and fitness brand as well as my brands within independent film and music. I started in the arts at a very young age growing up in Brooklyn, NY. I am a lifelong practitioner and instructor of the Martial Arts. Today I am an 8th Degree Black Martial Artist and creator of my own system in 1998 called Lost Legacy Traditional Mixed Martial Arts. From that, I expanded my martial arts to become a fitness and body transformation expert, operating today under my company Phoenix Core B.T.E. Being an accomplished and highly skilled martial artist was my gateway to venture into film as an action actor, fight choreographer, filmmaker and director and today I produce under my company JPL Films. Last but certainly not least, growing up in Brooklyn during the 80’s Hip-Hop era, I naturally gravitated towards it as a conscious Hip-Hop artist and later as a producer and composer today, under my companies The Nex-Us! and 12 Tribes Musik. So, you see, the arts have always been an essential part of my life, so to build personal and professional brands around them was the natural path: my legacy – thus The Legacy Brands. Fast forward to 2020, I decided that the focus of the Legacy Brands would be the music under my label and artist management company 12 Tribes Musik. Who knew how perfect the timing would be? Human life as we know it has been completely interrupted this year due to the pandemic and the social climate. Some are allowing it to overtake them. Me? No, I’m taking it over and I’m using this time to create and pursue that dream that I had a younger age. I’ve already established myself as an ambassador in the Martial Arts and I have tons of film credits as an actor, writer and director. Yet, I never established myself as an artist or producer within the music industry except among my peers. My music that I’m producing today is going to help me realize that dream and also going to open necessary doors for me to do some cross-branding within film as well. I’m excited to introduce myself as such within this arena and allow it to elevate with no limits. 12 Tribes Musik is my label, music production and artist development/management company alongside my partner Musa Moore. We do it all. We help the artist develop his or her sound and prepare them for the music industry at large. The Nex-Us! is our company, comprised of several music production companies and artists housed under one umbrella. By definition, nexus means the convergence of two or more elements that meet at a defined point. That’s exactly what these companies are, with 12 Tribes Musik being the pinnacle point or the peak at the top of the pyramid! My first artist on the 12 Tribes label is Krystal Klear, a super talented, super versatile, multi-genre singer/songwriter based out of South Florida. Her first releases dropped this summer called “Ride” and “War 2020” and both are on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Deezer. We will be dropping more Krystal Klear music this year as well as several other artists on the label. We have the most prolific and talented artists in the game today. We came to change the game, redefine it and control it so STAY TUNED! What sets the Legacy Brands apart from other artistic and creative brands is that mine is infused with all of the things that make me uniquely me. I embrace my differences and my unique qualities, and I allow myself the freedom to explore them, and then express them through my creative vision. When I said that authenticity is key to my success, what I mean is that what is born out of my self-exploration is what I reflect in each of my art forms…pure and authentic without being watered down by the world’s vices or what’s considered popular. I try not to focus on what is popular when I’m creating and expressing, and that applies to my Martial Arts, my film making and my music. What I want the world to know about The Legacy Brands is that it is “authentically evolutionary,” just as I am as an individual. The foundation is solid, built on old school tradition and values, yet has the fluidity and flexibility to adapt and evolve through the times. If you want longevity in this business and in any business, you have to be flexible yet be able to maintain your uniqueness. Is it going to be challenging? Perhaps. Especially when “cash rules everything around us” in an entertainment industry that isn’t loyal to anyone. However, I’m used to challenges and finding creative ways to meet them and overcome them. Again, as long as I stay unique and true to my brand, I feel that I’ll establish longevity and a Legacy that stands the test of time. The Legacy Continues…
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Honestly, keeping it 100% authentic, deep down I’m a “domestic cat.” If I had friends visiting the area, our time spent would be doing things where we can just be simple, comfortable and find ways to engage with each other. So we’d go to a spot like a nice, mellow lounge where we could partake in some good food, good music, perhaps with a cover band, that soothes the ears, mind and spirit. Clubs and bars or spots with loud, thumping music, flickering lights and people over-indulging in alcohol are not my type of vibe. It’s way too intense. I know Miami is known for its wild nightlife so I hope that my friends wouldn’t be too disappointed with my ideas of fun!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and my deep spiritual relationship with my ancestors and lineage are my biggest influencers and greatest sources of encouragement. They and the knowledge of them is what allows me to dig deep within myself each day in order to do what it is that I do. They speak to me and through me, which is profoundly reflected in my thoughts and my actions, especially when it comes to my art and how I promote my brand. Plus, I understand the importance of paying homage to one’s ancestors because it’s through their bloodline that establishes your family history and the protocols of your life. Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about Legacy – building it and carrying it forth. It’s my personal brand. I am deeply proud of my Legacy and this is why I carry my torch so high!
Instagram: @phoenixrises360 and @thenexus.brand
Facebook: John Phoenix Le Grand
Dave Arjune AKA “Shake Stillz,” Hank Henley, Michael Anthony Clark, James Woodley