The Yellow Brick Road Song is USA Network show Fairly Legal’s theme song!


The Yellow Brick Road Song, the first song on Iyeoka’s SAY YES album, is the official theme song for the USA network show Fairly Legal. You’ll hear it in the first episode (airing Thursday Jan 20, 2011) during the credits at the end, and then as the intro theme song for future episodes regularly airing at 10pm Thursdays on USA.

The show cleverly taps into some themes from the Wizard of Oz, both in the episodes and in the star of the show Sarah Shahi‘s real life. These themes are perfectly complemented by the lyrics in The Yellow Brick Road Song. The song was one of the first co-written with David Franz at Underground Sun studio and has also been featured in an episode of HBO’s How To Make It In America show.

Everyone in Iyeoka’s TriBe is extremely excited, including the Amenawon Foundation, Underground Sun, Phanai Media, and Mesia Consulting Group, along with the growing number of fans who recognize the positive energy behind the music. Its so amazing that USA network and all those associated with the show are supporting this energy too. Please support the show and tell your friends to download The Yellow Brick Road Song here for free!

Iyeoka’s Album “Say Yes” is released

I’m very proud to announce the release of Iyeoka’s album “Say Yes”. This is an album that Iyeoka, David, myself and our team have been working on relentlessly for the past 18 months. It’s been quite a journey and we’re looking forward to what’s next! Take a little time and sample some of our music at “Say Yes” is available for purchase at the website and on iTunes. We appreciate your support!

My ordinary story of turning setbacks into opportunity

Francis Phan - Twin Peaks - SF - 2010Exactly two years ago I was laid off from my job.  It was the height of the financial crisis and the sky was falling but I thought I was immune.  I just finished glossy home page projects for the likes of Borders and Alltel.  I worked on teams that were lauded as rock stars.

I remember that fateful morning Oct. 23. 2008, being called into the president’s office expecting a pat on the back – perhaps even a bonus!  The moment I saw his eyes however, I knew what was going down.  (Cue the needle stopping on the turntable.)  I was shocked and really I should have seen it coming.  The numbers just weren’t coming in for the company.  I was in denial.

Within hours, I had jobs lined up making pretty charts for banks and insurance companies.  It would have been the safe thing to do.  Conventional wisdom dictated taking the salary and benefits given the economic uncertainty.  To me that’s akin to being in an arranged marriage where being in love is not a requirement.

No thanks.

I decided to pass and threw my hat into the exponentially growing iPhone development gold rush.  It wasn’t easy.  Learning ObjectiveC was going slower than I liked.  As far as finding free lancing gigs, companies at the time weren’t sure what to make of this iPhone app thing and most sat on their marketing dollars and on the fence.

In the ensuing year, I was involved in four separate ventures that went no where for me, had to dig into my savings from my Harmonix stock options, considered selling my car and the worst thing for me really was that writing music had come to a screeching halt.  For the first time in a long while, I was in survival mode.  I was worried about my mortgage, falling property values and health insurance.  Travel plans were all but dashed.

I just couldn’t bring myself to settle for work I wasn’t passionate about.   I thought about companies that I thought I’d like to work for.  So I spent a month boning up on college computer science text book topics and downloaded every reference document that existed for the iPhone and studied and applied it.

I interviewed at Google.  Denied.  I interviewed at Apple –  twice.  Denied.  I lost gigs due to interview timing conflicts with said companies.  (Salt to wound.)  I pitched iPhone app ideas to the Patriots.  Not interested.  I pitched to Discovery.  Fell through.  I pitched to Ja Rule’s management.  Denied.  (Okay, that’s not really a set back).

In spite of all of this, I was happy.  Sure it was frustrating at times but I was very happy.  I felt lucky because I had control over my situation.  I only chose projects that I thought would be useful for a portfolio, even if it meant taking work on for equity (which essentially meant working for free).  Being in survival mode forced me to be focused, efficient and more resourceful with less.  I had time to study things in depth.  I started spending more time with friends and family with my flexible schedule.  I started running again and got into Bikram yoga.  I was getting into shape and feeling great.

And then something interesting happened.  I entered into a couple hacking competitions sponsored by Microsoft and MIT, where I’ve either won or placed.  After one year, my iPhone kung fu was strong.  I was doing both visual design and software development, which are typically two separate disciplines.  This allowed me to really accelerate the process of producing iPhone apps because I was able to wear all hats.

I was experiencing a tipping point: Just as I became fluid in my new found iPhone skills, the demand for iPhone developers was increasing dramatically.  Companies wanted to jump on the iPhone app bandwagon.  And then I got a call from an old mentor of mine who happened to work for Yahoo!  They were looking for a hybrid designer / developer with mobile expereince to be part of an innovation team that conceptualizes and develops the next generation of advertising experiences.  What they needed perfectly played into my strengths.  They gave me an offer so compelling that after 16 years in Boston, I decided to go for it and relocate to the Bay Area.

18 months after that fateful lay off, the next chapter of my life began.  San Francisco is absolutely an amazing city.  I’m connecting with new found relatives, making new friends and work right smack in Silicon Valley, the home of not only Yahoo but the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple and HP.  Music wise, I am back in the game and am partners with my good friend David Franz who runs a record label in LA.  Next month we’re releasing a full length album for Iyeoka that we just had mastered at Universal Studios.  And what’s perfect is that I am in LA periodically for my work at Yahoo.

Getting laid off turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.  I am blessed that things turned out the way they did.  I did have the luxury of not having to worry about feeding a family.  Nevertheless I’m sharing to you my story and how a single event altered the course of my journey.  If there’s any take away from my story, it would be the importance of having a plan, being passionate and keeping the faith.  It’s indeed cliche but success really is a by product of failures.  Keep your head up and keep it moving.  Most importantly, be in the moment.

Official Release of Iyeoka’s “This Time Around” EP

Sound: With a sweet soul vibe reminiscent of Sade and a fresh mix of LIVE and electronic instrumentation from production duo David Franz and Francis Phan, the new sound of spoken-word soulstress, Iyeoka (pronounced “EE-yo-kah”) is emerging as a perfect balance of thought provoking lyrics, captivating vocals and gratifying music production.

The name of the new EP “This Time Around” is far from just a slogan or a silent vow. This Time Around is an anthem addressing the hopes and dreams of each of us, from the individual to the Nation, and the innate power we all have within us to change everything. As we navigate through one of the most transitional periods of our generation, Iyeoka’s music speaks of the journey that catapults us through the challenges and triumphs, chronicling the trajectory of our lives as an extraordinary people and the changes we’d like to make This Time Around.

This Time Around

This Time Around - David Franz - Iyeoka Okoawo - Francis Phan

This Time Around - Produced by David Franz and Francis Phan


Here’s a track I produced with David Franz for Iyeoka’s “This Time Around”.  Iyeoka’s lyrics are inspirational and redemptive.

Iyeoka to Honor Mia Farrow at Kennedy Center

Honoree Mia Farrow - Sullivan Foundation - Kennedy Center

PRLog.Org – Global Press Release Distribution

Leon H. Sullivan Foundation hosting Star Studded 6th Biennial Awards dinner at Kennedy Center in DC

By Phanai Media Group Dated: Aug 27, 2009

Boston Poet Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo to Pay Tribute to Mia Farrow during 2009 Leon H. Sullivan Summit Awards at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: Quincy Jones, Henry Louis Gates and Tyler Perry Also to be Honored.

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation will host their Sixth Awards Ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Art in Washington DC on August 27, 2009. The honorees will be celebrated for their advocacy, humanitarian efforts and contributions to helping the poor and disadvantaged worldwide. The 2009 Honorees are Founder, Wheels to Africa, Winston Duncan; actress/activist, Mia Farrow, scholar and educator, Dr. Henry Louis Gates; composer/musician Herbie Hancock; mobile communications entrepreneur Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim; Grammy-award winning conductor, producer/arranger, Quincy Jones; and actor/producer/playwright, Tyler Perry.

The program will also include a special performance poetry and song tribute presented by Nigerian poet and vocalist Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo to Mia Farrow who has stood at the forefront of advocacy for the underprivileged in Africa for years working tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for children in those afflicted areas.

“The poem I will present testifies to the journey of awareness and action that occurs when leaders in our worldwide community armed with resources, heart and a voice choose to allow themselves to be inspired enough to speak out about conflicted and developing regions in Africa,” offers Iyeoka. “All of these honorees have that in common and I am honored to celebrate them at the Award Ceremony.”

Like Ms. Farrow, Iyeoka uses her position in the spotlight to work for positive social change. As official spokesperson for the Amenawon foundation, a non profit focusing on projects in smaller villages that often fly under the radar of international resource pools, Iyeoka uses her inspiring poetic abilities to raise awareness of global public health issues and speaks out on how these challenges resonate in the lives of rural villagers in Nigeria.

Iyeoka Okoawo Mia Farrow and Francis Phan at the 2009 Sullivan Awards Kennedy Center

The honorees will be celebrated Thursday, August 27, 2009 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (reception 6:30 p.m.; program 8:00 p.m.). Among many event highlights; Ambassador Andrew Young (the Chairman of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation) will pay a tribute to His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of The Republic of Kenya.

“We will always portray the best of Africa and bring the majesty of the continent to her lost sons and daughters,” said Hope Masters, President and CEO of the Sullivan Foundation. “We are bringing the finest elements of Africa for everyone to enjoy; we are going to honor amazing people who contribute to making the world better.”

The evening also serves as a platform to showcase the Ninth Leon H. Sullivan Summit (The Summit) which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya July 19-23, 2010. Held every two years in Africa, the Summit is designed to enable African countries and other friends of Africa an opportunity to focus on economic empowerment, self-help, social responsibility and human rights.

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation is a 501c3 designed to carry on the spirit and legacy of Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, the great African-American international humanitarian who dedicated his life advocating for the poor and disadvantaged in Africa and worldwide.

### Phanai Media Group is a Boston based interactive agency, independent record label and front office for the works of founder and CEO Francis Phan.

Touch The Sky

Skydiving was always one of those extreme sports I thought was interesting but would never do. I mean I have enough excitement in my life right? Or maybe it has something to do from jumping from a plane from two and a half miles up. But when my cousin Kristin decided to get a group of people together to celebrate her birthday, it was something I knew I had to do – after all, I couldn’t have my sweet 20 year cousin show me up!

As time came closer to jumping, I and everyone around me seemed pretty calm. Maybe we all had to rationalize that statistically skydiving is really safe. There’s a greater likelihood of getting into a fender bender driving to the drop site. The place I jumped from is located in Williamstown NJ, less than 30 miles south of Philadelphia. It’s apparently the biggest skydiving company in the Northeast. First time divers jump in tandem with certified divers. My instructor’s name was “Pancake”, which of course got me wondering why he has that name.

What’s most memorable for me are the moments before and after the point of no return: that first step into nothingness at 12,000 feet. The first moment is disbelief. The next moment is terror. The next moment is awe-struckness. For the first time you can see a true panorama of God’s great earth, sky and horizon with nothing to obstruct your view.

The initial rush of accelerating to 120mph is like nothing even close I’ve experienced with a roller coaster. That free fall feeling is many more times intense. For starters most of you body is totally exposed. It was louder than I ever could have imagined. Everything is happening so fast in what felt to be the longest minute of my life. Flesh is being pushed back like in those old school pilot training centrifuge videos. The only point moving reference is Nikki, the diver photographing my jump. We reach hands outstretched and spin. We let go and she’s gone in an instant.

I proceed to do goofy things like trying to swim with my arms and assume martial arts poses against the resistance of the wind all while I’m screaming like a little girl all the way down. This is fun – no this is ultra wicked I don’t want this to stop fun! All of the sudden Pancake grabs me left arm and raises my hand to my face to show me the altimeter strapped to my wrist. I for the life of me can’t read what it said but it was probably 5000 feet. Attentive students during the orientation would recall that’s the sign for it’s time to pull that orange rip cord – right side hip. Umm, nope. I was just too disoriented and Pancake did the honors. All of the sudden the chute opens and there’s a dramatic de-acceleration. Thank goodness the harness was not designed like a thong or else it would have been the biggest atomic wedgie ever!

And just like that there was total silence. There was no hum of anything mechanical anywhere. Just peace and total tranquility – until Pancake decides to take a few left and right cuts on the way down and all of the sudden I’m reminded of that donut I had for breakfast. With each turn, I could feel the G’s of my body against the bottom sides of the harness. It’s really given me an appreciation for pilots who do crazy acrobatics and the physical stresses they must put their bodies through.

Four minutes pass which seems like a lifetime but happens too quickly. The landing field is approaching. And just like that, we make two steps on to earth and the amazing journey ends. I have never experienced anything more thrilling and exhilarating. This is a life affirming experience.

Change (Is Around The Corner) A Tribute to Barack Obama

Rachel Panay - Change Is Around The Corner

Francis Phan produces: Rachel Panay - Change (Is Around The Corner)

Rachel Panay – Change (Is Around The Corner) by francisphan

Here’s a song I produced for my dear friend Rachel Panay called “Change (Is Around The Corner). This is a tribute to Barack Obama and all of those who share in his vision of hope and change.

Drawing comparisons to her influences Kristine W., Amber, and Ultra Nate, Rachel is poised as a leader in the next generation of vocalists and songwriters who believe that Dance music can and should uplift, provoke thought and feeling and speak the truth. Video Contest Winner!

Tina TurnerLocal Boston Poet Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo Wins Big with Tina Turner On Original Video Contest

Amway Global Presents Tina Turner in concert at the TD Banknorth Garden on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Boston poet Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo and music producer Francis Phan win’s original music video contest.

FOR IMMEDIATE PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 14, 2008 – In the wake of an exciting selection of a new President Elect, Barak Obama and an upswing of performance opportunities in both poetry and music in 2009, Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo and producer Francis Phan couldn’t be happier as winners of’s first original music video contest.

On Nov. 17th Amway Global Presents Tina Turner LIVE in concert at the TD Banknorth Garden. accepted original music video submissions from artists looking to showcase their talents for a chance to win tickets to see Tina Turner.   Iyeoka’s video entitled “Revolution” was selected by staff as among the most unique videos.  As finalists, readers then had an opportunity to vote for five winners.

Tina Turner has been acknowledged as one of the world’s most popular and biggest-selling music artists of all time and is the most successful female rock artist of all time with record sales exceeding 180 million.

“The bonus prize in this entire scenario, says Francis Phan, music producer for “Revolution”,   is that when we submitted, we knew that if selected it would be featured on the website which we were thrilled about, but we had no idea people were going to be asked to vote. So the win feels that much more special since the viewers have spoken giving us a thumbs up on the work we’re doing with spoken word and music.”

Iyeoka feels like this win is  another step in the right direction for Spoken Word Music and the result of listeners recognizing the combination as a viable medium of expression.  She states, “Tina Turner’s spirit, story and music has empowered me for a very long time.  I’m looking forward to experiencing Tina LIVE for the first time which I’m sure will translate to more poems and more songs.”

Francis’ Theme song for BET’s Leading Men Now Broadcasting

Francis Phan produces BET J's Leading Men show music theme

Francis Phan produces: Show Theme for BET-J's Leading Men

Show Theme for BET-J’s Leading Men by francisphan

LEADING MEN, a TV series on BET-J that highlights the dynamic lives and profound impact of today’s prominent African-American men like Hill Harper, Wyclef Jean and Terrence Howard rounds out the show lineup with its season premiere on Wednesday, October 29 at 10:30 p.m. The theme music for Leading Men was written and produced by Francis Phan.

Documentary Screening of “DiverseCity”

CCTV Cambridge MAWhere he’s my official foray into video! Naya and I have produced a short called “DiverseCity” that was accepted by the Cambridge Free Speech Shorts Video Festival. “DiverseCity” looks at a group of Brandeis students who tackle issues relating to race, gender, religion and class which culminates into a show which Naya directed. Naya and I hope that this would be start of documentary work observing similar issues in our own community.

Screening details from the CCTV website: Wednesday, April 23rd. Event will take place at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) located at 675 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, Cambridge. The event will begin with a networking and a reception at 6:30 p.m.; the screening will start promptly at 7 p.m. Following each screening, there will be a Q & A session with producers.

BET-J “My Two Cents” Theme

Francis Phan produces BET-J's My Two Cents show theme song

Francis Phan produces: My Two Cents - BET-J Show Theme

Francis Phan produces: My Two Cents – BET-J Show Theme by francisphan

It’s official. I’ve produced the theme song for the 2008 early season of BET-J’s talk show “My Two Cents“. The song features Bryonn Bain, who is also a co-host on the program. Many thanks to Bryonn for helping make this happen!

2007 Urban Music Awards

2007 Urban Music Awards - Francis Phan - Iyeoka Okoawo - Omega RedIt’s that time of year and I’m fortunate enough to be in the running again for producer of the year honors for the 2007 New England Urban Music Awards. The winners of each of the music categories are determined by artistic merit and online voting. I need your support – please cast your vote at Also vote for Iyeoka for poet of the year, Omega Red for rapper of the year and The Jugganautz for producer company of the year!

Omega Red and The Press performs at The Modern Jan 6, 2007

OIC 35th Anniversary Gala at the NJ Performance Arts Center

The Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) was founded in Philadelphia in 1964 by Dr. Leon Sullivan. OIC is a decentralized network of employment and training programs, bound together by a common commitment of helping the poor, unemployed, and under-employed improve their quality of life.

Iyeoka prior to show at NJ Performing Arts Center

On Sept. 29, OIC celbrated had its 35th anniversary gala at the beautiful NJ Performing Arts Center, in which Iyeoka was one of the featured performers along with legends Marcus Miller, Al Jarreau and the beautiful and talented Rachelle Ferrell. The key speaker was Ambassador Andrew Young.

Francis with Civil Rights great – Ambassador Andrew Young

Francis with legend Al Jarreau

Francis backstage with the lovely Rachelle Ferrell

Iyeoka and Francis

Omega Red performing in NEMO Showcase, Sept. 29

Omega Red is among the few Hip Hop artists selected to perform at the 2006 NEMO festival. NEMO is New England’s largest music festival in which over 300 bands and artists perform over 30 venues in three days from Sept. 28-30. Please come support Omega Red and the rest of power line up!

Friday September 29, 2006, Venue: Harpers Ferry. Address: 158 Brighton Avenue Allston, MA. Line-Up: Omega Red with Audible Mainframe, The Boston Afrobeat Orchestra, AfroDZak, Mr. Nash. Ticket Price: $8, Doors: 8pm, Ages: 21+

Come see Omega Red at NEMO

2006 Billboard Music Awards, Atlanta

Chuck D and Francis at 2006 Billboard Music Conference

Akon and Francis at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards

Akon and Francis at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards.

Francis with Billboard Executive Editor Tamara Conniff

Francis wins two New England Urban Music Awards!

Iyeoka and Francis winners at the 2006 NE UMAs

On the evening of April 15th, the Berklee Perfomance Arts Center hosted the inagural New England Urban Music Awards, which recognizes the excellence of individuals in the New England area music scene. I’m happy to say that I won producer of the year honors. It’s really unbelievable as I was selected from a field of over 30 producers. More incredible yet Omega Red and I won company producer of the year as The Jugganautz. I’m also happy to say that Iyeoka won the female poetry category and that Omega Red also won in the rap category. Pal Justin Springer won promoter of the year, The Foundation won rap group of the year, and Ahmir (fomerly One Luv) won RNB group of the year. Big ups to Vudoo Soul who was a finalist for RNB male vocalist.

I like to thank fans and supporters who nominated me for the award. Those who know me know how much of a grind this music game can be. It’s extremely humbling and satisfying to be recognized for the hard work I’ve put in over the years.

Debut of Sophie deep house remix for Scamper

Boston Indie sensation Scamper

Francis branches out into Boston’s indie rock world by remixing Scamper’s hit single Sophie off their Leave Your Glasses On LP. The remix debuts on their podcat this evening. Download podcast episode 1.6. The remix concludes their podcast. Fortunately their music is a little tighther than their wit 🙂 (just joking guys).

Blue Wave Saturdays

Francis with promoter Justin Springer at The Blue Wave. You need to check out his RNB nites on Saturdays.

Omega Red opens for G-Unit and Roc-A-Fella DCU Worcester

Francis backstage with Omega Red and Anthony Brice

Omega Red opens up for G-Unit and Roc-a-fella at the DCU. Although the show was little disorganized, it was nevertheless Red’s biggest show yet. He was made special mention in the review of the show here.

Francis is a guest panelist at Northeastern University Music program.

Move It & Use It

Project: Think Different throws down its annual fundraising event featuring the Empowerment CD pre-release. This compilation includes tracks I’ve produced for Melissa Li and a track collobo between Iyeoka and the Foundation. There will be live performances by The Foundation, Iyeoka (which I will be backing her on keyboards), Lyrical, Mingo and Afrodzak.

Thursday, November 17, 2005, 6pm-9pm, Embassy, 36 Landsdowne Street, Boston MA 02215. Donation: $25+, $10 (under 21)* For tickets and information contact: Amelia at 617.557.9200 or Project: Think Different is creating a renaissance in music, film and video that increases civic engagement and inspires people to THINK DIFFERENT about their power to create positive social change.

Omega Red featured in Source Magazine

Omega Red is featured in the October issue of Source Magazine in Off The Radar: “Boston’s Omega Red sets tracks ablaze and shows off his lyrical dexterity with his latest street banger. Splitting gangsta and introspective ryhmes about sruviving the game of life, the kid continues to set the record straight about what goes down in the streets of New England.”

Force to be Reckoned With

Never leave home without your favorite lounge chair.

Omega Red is a Finalist in Scion Next Up Competition

This is huge – Omega Red is a top ten finalist for the Scion Next Up Competition. The winner of this will get to have a music video produced which will air on MTV2. Needless to say that this would be huge if he were to win this, but he can only do so if he gets votes on this website. So don’tdelay – please logon to by Sept. 29 and vote!

Lee Wilson and Iyeoka at the Blue Wave Gallery

Much props to Lee Wilson for producing a great show at the Blue Wave at the Four Point Channel, which of course included Iyeoka and very impressive performances by JT and Sparlha Swa. It was so good to hang with Iyeoka and friends. She gave such a rousing performance of Blink of an Eye, which I hope she posts on her website soon.

Lee Wilson and Iyeoka at the Blue Wave

Come out and see Lee Wilson and Iyeoka at the Blue Wave.

Jupiter One EP Release

My old pal K Ishibashi’s band Jupiter One just released their EP. I helped track vocal and violin tracks. Check out their website for more info!

Producing Lover Come Over

Jugganautz just finished production for Vudoo Soul’s Lover Come Over. Pictured above is guitarist extrodinare Angela Johnson Swan and Chris Vu (Vudoo Soul), who came ever so close to making it onto American Idol.

Vudoo Soul

Vudoo Soul - Lover Come Over - Produced by Francis Phan

Francis Phan produces: Vudoo Soul - Lover Come Over

Francis Phan produces: Vudoo Soul – Lover Come Over by francisphan

Lantern Festival Forest Hills

A moment of tranquility

Omega Red Redtape CD Release Party at Harper’s Ferry

Me and Omega Red chilln before the show.

Shake dat ass!

Kiki Breevlife, Nomadik and Lee Wilson

In the Studio with Vudoo

Francis and a personal moment.

Working out an arrangement

Shea on MSN Road Tour

My good friend Shea Rose has been selected to participate in the MSN Road Tour, where she and 5 other music fans tour America’s music fesitvals this summer in a pimped out coach bus. Check out her blog!

U2 Vertigo Tour – Fleet Center

U2. What can I say. An unbelievable concert. Same energy since I saw them last in their elevation tour.

Dead Prez’ Stickman and The Foundation in the studio

Me and Stickman from Dead Prez

Stickman blessing the mic

The track is a collabo between The Foundation and Dead Prez. Eroc and Optimus.

Chillin in the loft

Andrew Swaine Photo Shoot

At Andrew Swaine’s studio

Shakura stylin!

Omega Red so soave

Anthony Brice keeping a watchful eye