DJ Phinisey

-by Francine Ruth

Today we feature a sultry voice born and raised in our own Tacoma. Known for vivacious beats, smooth rhythm, and producing talent, Phinisey.

Born DuWayne Phinisey began his interest in music while attending Pacific Lutheran University’s (PLU) music program for opera. Phinisey even performed as an opera singer with the Tacoma Opera during his attendance. Deciding to change his degree to engineering, he moved to Arizona to complete his degree. During this time he learned a lot of how music was produced and fell in love with him. That is when he connected with Rockwell Powers and they began creating a number of vibing hip hop. These songs have a fantastic beat paired with melodic choruses that get you singing along quickly. Your head will start bobbing as you are drawn deeper to the lyrics, Check out one of my favorite tracks of the album, Alive.

While working with Rockwell Powers, the two performed their 2013 album, BUILD. During their performance, you are enticed by their beats and when Phinisey starts to sing, the worlds seems to stop. Their sound is beautiful, a version of rap that brings deep stories through clever lyrics and catchy choruses. The performance/interview below was recorded not even two months following Build’s release. During the interview, Phinisey shares how he will soon begin working with Vicki Martinez, also from Tacoma!

Following Phinisey’s work with Powers, he began coproducing with Martinez. The album, I AM VICCI, was released in 2015. Both Phinisey and Martinez enjoy showcasing where they came from. In the video for the song, Stay Awake, any local from the area can tell filming was completed in Tacoma. The Port of Tacoma is quite notable throughout the video.

You can hear Phinisey’s influence with the back beats that are easy to bob to and sounds that illuminates the lyrics. Phinisey has worked with many artists, particularly enjoying working with those who are native to Tacoma. Choosing to keep a close connection with his roots, Phinisey is very supportive of Tacoma’s music scene even when not living locally. After becoming known for his production talents, Phinisey began to share his amazing vocals with us all.

In 2017, Phinisey released his first solo album, Elemental. Then in 2018, One Inch Scene was released and newly this year, O N G O D, (The live show experience). Check out his songs on SoundCloud, Amazon Music, and Spotify. This guy has a great future ahead of him. Another gift from our Tacoma streets!

Stay strong 253 💛

About the Author

Francine Ruth prepared this article as her final project for TARTS 225: Musical History of Tacoma, at the University of Washington, Tacoma. At the time she took the class in Autumn Quarter 2021, she was a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences.

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