GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you look at folk legends like Bob Dylan, James Taylor and the Okee Do-kee brothers, you’ll see a glimpse of Greensboro elementary student Finn Phoenix.
The 9-year old has slowly made a name for himself in the music community over the past year.
He has performed at more than 30 venues and is slated to release an album with original songs in 2020.
He has come a long way from recording original songs in his bedroom and putting them on YouTube.
On Christmas two years ago, Finn got a ukulele for Christmas, which is something he had wanted since he saw someone perform with it at a talent show.
“I got pretty interested in the ukulele,” Finn said.
He immediately began to play and find his voice, using songs by folk legends to guide him.
By the summer, he was writing his first original song: “Eyeball.”
“That one was pretty much just whatever was coming out of my brain,” Finn said.
He was strapped with his $25 ukulele, and his sister Shay by his side armed with maracas when he made his first video.
The song was a doorway to a bigger world of songwriting.
“The songs that I write with my dad and stuff for a purpose, it really just starts with inspiration. We just think of something interesting,” Finn said.
His musical journey has been fueled by his dad, mom and sister’s support.
His sister sometimes performs with him, his mom makes sure he has everything he needs and his dad acts as his songwriting partner and manager.
“It’s been great that my wife and I have been able to foster this talent in him,” Patrick Lilja said. “Now he’s being able to bring joy to so many people.”
His sister Shay is also hoping to find her musical gift and join her brother as he continues to perform at venues across the Triad.
His father explained that Finn Phoenix is working to release an album in the coming months, and is set to perform at the High Point Arts Council Open Mic Night on Jan. 11.