Andrew Carl Junior Stephen was born on December 6th 1986, to Rosalie Stephen and Carl Phillip; in Grenada, West Indies. Andrew is the second born and middle child to his two male siblings (Clint Stephen and Shadon Phillip). When his parents married in 1996, Andrew was given the option to assume his father’s family name ‘Phillip'; which became two thirds of his present brand - Andrew 'Hitz' Phillip.
At a young age, 'Hitz' showed great promise in the musical arts, and was quite unaware of where this love for music would take him. His love began in Primary school where his mastery of the Recorder landed him a solo feature in his school's concert. At nine years old, 'Hitz' was already playing in Grenada's Panorama Finals, standing and dancing on
Coca-Cola cases (for height); at his front stage placement on the double tenor, steel drum. As he says “It’s from pan that I acquired most of my musical knowledge.”
With the ability to quickly learn and apply, ‘Hitz’ became bored of the double tenor, steel drum, and soon found himself playing every other instrument in the pan yard; including percussion and drums. From this point, it would take another several years of dabbling in different aspects of music and entertainment before ‘Hitz’ found his way into the studio and music production.
In 2001, 'Hitz', along with Ross Paryag and Dwayne Thompson (two friends who’d eventually become his "brothers for life"), took part in Grenada’s Talent Search, a local talent competition. Under the group-name "Kru-cial Boys", 'Hitz' and his newly found "brothers" captured first place in the competition and quickly became a buzz throughout the island. “We were a vocal group (boy band) and of the three of us, I was more of the dancer in the lot...”
That first prize landed ‘Kru-cial Boys, in their first ever studio session which took place in a studio owned and operated by producer, Dr. Trevor Friday, a medical practitioner, who became 'Hitz’s' first Production Mentor in music.
After recording and (unsuccessfully) promoting several singles, the three members of Kru-cial Boys found themselves working in the studio as programmers, engineers, and backing vocalists. This is where ‘Hitz,’ identified his abilities to compose lyrics and melodies, and produce and arrange musical pieces. This realization came within the final years of Secondary (High) School and almost completely sabotaged his academic life; of which he now boasts of. “It was my then girlfriend, my mom and friends that made me finish school. I was ready to give it all up and just do music.”
In 2003 'Hitz' graduated from the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) quite impressively, racking up 8 of his 9 subjects and exhibiting a knack for business and marketing; areas that would eventually become a corner stone in his rise to local and
regional success. Graduating High School at the age of 16, ‘Hitz’ was always regarded as ‘Mature beyond his years’ and was often mistaken to be older than he actually was. It was his maturity, added to his drive and passion to achieve his dream, that eventually led to his decision to leave College, during his second year, and seek further knowledge in the arts of (Audio) Recording Techniques and Music Technology. “I attended the T.A. Marryshow community college in Grenada, not even studying the subjects I’d initially intended, and it took a teachers’ inquiry as to why I was there to really make me realize I didn’t want to be. So the following year my mom gave me the option to continue or join the work force and go after my dream... I chose the work force.”
'Hitz' then worked at a local hotel for several months until Hurricane Ivan ravaged the Island in September of 2004. In the after math of the Hurricane, all seemed lost. The Hotel closed, the Island was left in rubbles and 'Hitz' had some serious decisions to make. He struggled with a construction job, in the shadows of his father, during the "hurricane-rebuild" of the island. While it was for a better cause, construction was still far off from his musical passion. Eventually, he pursued an online distance-learning
course (offered by ‘www.audiomasterclass.com’) that issued a city and guilds certificate in Music Technology and Recording Techniques. With a lack of training facilities and courses of similar outline available on the island, 'Hitz’ had his work cut out for him. He studied theory by day, used every opportunity to practice what he’d learnt in the studio, and months later, he completed the course with distinctions. ‘Hitz’ built his own home studio and began pursuing work locally as a Music Producer. From late 2005 to the summer of 2007, he worked his way into the local industry by developing several artists and leading them to some levels of local success before all came crashing down.
The summer of 07
In July 2007, after an almost 2-year-long campaign with a few local artists he’d developed, ‘Hitz’ was on the verge of local success. He produced a few of the more popular compositions of that year, however, no one could have fore-seen what would happen next. The collaboration with the artists ended abruptly, just before what could have been the most successful period of his craft at that time. This was “the straw that broke the camels back”. Coupled with an invitation by one of his brother’s, Ross Paryag, ‘Hitz’ decided to leave Grenada and head to Trinidad for a fresh start and in aim to further develop himself. “This was Ross’s idea, and mind you he still aint reach yet...(lol)”
Trinidad and Tobago
'Hitz' began his new journey in Trinidad and Tobago, in September 2007.
“In my years of working with Dr. Friday, I’d met two producers from Trinidad (Chasue and Carlysle ‘Juice Man’ Roberts). I contacted 'Juice Man' and got the green light to come work with him in Trinidad... We never really did much studio work together, but coming to Trinidad when I did, landed me in the middle of an opportunity to work with some of the best musicians the country had to offer.”
The Roy Cape All Stars
From November 2007 to February 2012, ‘Hitz’ worked as a member of the famed Roy Cape AllStars, led by the local legend Dr. Roy F. Cape. “Dr. Cape is possibly the best saxophonist I’ve ever met and heard; up close and personal. He has a way of making you feel the notes. Many times when he’d play a solo, I’d close my eyes tilt my head and go wherever the notes took me, which was always someplace wonderful. A true musician...”
It was during this time, ‘Hitz’ took the opportunity to learn as much as he could about musicianship (a lesson that would greatly influence his production style); while simultaneously developing his talents in both writing and production. “I also spent the time observing the art of performance as the band had an uncanny ability to blend into virtually any environment and adapt to virtually any crowd.”
Around the same time ‘Hitz’ joined the band, he found himself in St. Anns at Champion Sound Studios; meeting yet another "blast from the past", an engineer by the name of Martin ‘Mice’ Raymond. “How I first met mice is another story, short, but another story...”
At Champion Sound Studios, he was able to practice what he’d learnt and develop his craft. Being mentored unknowingly by the band and directly by 'Mice', ‘Hitz’ found himself immediately showing promise and potential. “The first project I did was a Roadmix. I Roadmixed Blaxx’s Breathless for the 2008 carnival season.”
A start, as little as it may have been, that would pave the way for more work to come.
Completing the Brand
During the period at the studio, ‘Hitz’ worked with several collaborators and colleagues. Of which, the most frequent were: Corey Brunham (sound engineer), Daniel ‘Shac Deburg’ Burgess (Music Producer), Martin ‘Mice’ Raymond (Sound Engineer and Music Producer), Christian Carbaza (Music Publisher and International business man); and Jeremy Johnson (Studio Manager). “When I arrived at the studio, it was primarily a mastering suite and even though ‘Mice’ was a Producer, production wasn’t a main part of the studios day-to-day business."
As time went on, ‘Hitz', ‘De Burg’ and ‘Mice’ eventually created a production team, named “The HittLab”. However, when Akon’s "HitLab" website went online, the team abandoned the name. “After that title dismantled, we found ourselves reverting to the studios name, Champion Sound Studios, and settling at that. But I had something else in mind. I was in search of a name or an alias that would
encompass everything I stood for. So I jumped at the chance to use ‘Hitz.’ ‘Hitz’ is my mission statement and promise to myself, and the people I work
with. I gave myself a standard to live up to and I aspire to do so.”
With the last piece of the brand now in place (his alias), ‘Hitz’ sort to live up to his name as best as possible; and many would say, thus far, he has done just that.
His name is now well known within the music industry in Trindad and Tobago. During the past three years he has added flavour to the airwaves and consistently secured his presence by producing many of the highly favoured Carnival "hitz". His collection includes:
2013 - Machel Montano -- "Witch Doctor" - Kes The Band -- "Trinidadian" - Imij & Co. feat. Krystal Khane -- "Carnival Baby" - Destra Garcia -- "Rip D Runway" and many more.
2012 - Machel Montano -- "Reveling" - Iwer George -- "No Pain"
2011 - Iwer George’s comeback smash -- "Come To Meh" (off the Angel Duo Riddim) - The Swahili Riddim (a ‘Shac Deburg’ collaboration)
• Blaxx -- "Tanti Woi"
• Denise Belfon -- "Dance and Dingolay" - Tall Pree -- "Jab All Over" (for Grenada’s Carnival)
2010 - Blaxx -- "Zombie"
His collaboration with Iwer George in 2011 and 2012, nabbed 2nd place (in both years) in the International Soca Monarch competition; creating a presence of his home-land culture "Jab".
My fear, not my Handicap
"What's heard is my style of musical composition. Something that stems from my cultural heritage. I’m from Grenada and Jouvert is a major part of our celebrations. However, I’ve been mixing more styles into my music, so people can expect some of the same vibe and then again some new ones as well.”
The Family Man
‘Hitz’ has always been family oriented, holding dear to his Mom (as one of his best friends and life teachers’), his father, brothers, and his immediate and extended family; for their continued love and support. His most recent and greatest achievement thus far is the birth of his son, Marquee Jaylen St. Louis a.k.a Hitz Junior. “My son... my son... My greatest inspiration, he’s truly a blessing and I’m proud to have him. Children are a blessing and so is family. People (friends) will come and go; but your family is your family no matter what.”
In totality, Andrew ‘Hitz’ Phillip is a brand in himself; and as he says. “It’s a brand I plan on taking global.”
...So you’ve heard the music, now you’ve learnt about the man. Keep the music alive! “Music is Life, Life is Music”