Phylshawn Johnson’s style is expressive, thoughtful, powerful, and highly musical. Having played the drum set since the age of 5 and growing up playing in her church and various basement bands she got an early start to honing her craft. Learning originally by ear, Phylshawn had an early insight to the kind of musician she wanted to be. Not only did she practice all her favorite fills on drums, but she picked up guitar and listened to and studied her favorite musicians, drilling her favorite licks until she had them down.
In 2003 she decided to fully commit herself to music, relocated herself from Kansas City, MO to Columbia, MO and began attending school at the University of Columbia to develop her skills. Her schooling opened a whole new world of musical opportunities. She began playing in local bands such as Stingrays and The Doxies as well as various University bands. As a member of the University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band, she has performed with Plas Johnson, Matt Wilson, Dave Pietro, Rufus Reid, and has recorded an album with Mike Mainieri. In fall 2009, she performed at the Lincoln Center Institute in an all female Nina Simone tribute ensemble. The next year, she was invited by Rufus Reid to study jazz at Ravinia’s Steans Institute for young artists.
In 2009, Johnson started an independent label, The Nation of Love, as a way to give artists such as herself, Violet Vonder Haar, Ruth Acuff, and other songwriters a place to create freely and have the support of a musical community. The label promotes skillful musicians and songwriters whose goal is to compose from mind, body, and soul.
In 2010 Phylshawn released her first album titled “Soul Heart” on the Nation of Love record label. This album features Phylshawn not only as a composer but also a multi-instrumentalist and singer. A three song EP,“Across the Tracks”, is set to be released August 9, 2014.