The Philharmonik is the stage name of Christian Gates, a 24-year-old future soul and R&B artist in Sacramento. He's earned a reputation for putting on electrifying live performances at Concerts in the Park, the Tree Tone Records OnTheBlock Party and at two sold-out album release shows at Sol Collective and Gold Standard Sounds.
On March 1, The Philharmonik released his debut self-titled album on the Sol Life record label.
His music blends contemporary rap and hip-hop influences like J. Cole and Kanye West with classic R&B, soul and funk artists like Stevie Wonder, Prince, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Parliament and Earth, Wind & Fire. He also cites pop rock influences like The Beatles, Steely Dan and The Police. (Check out his "My Biggest Influences" playlist.)
The Philharmonik wrote his song “Good Day” to talk about the struggle and stigma of living with mental illness.
“I want to give that message that it’s OK to express ourselves in our entirety in our art,” says Gates. “It’s a piece of us. It doesn’t really try to have an agenda. There’s a lot of people that struggle with that, including me. I struggle with depression and anxiety. This song [“Good Day”] I wrote at 4 a.m., just super depressed, tears depressed. Sometimes we feel alone in that, and I just didn’t want to feel that way. And I know millions of others feel that way. I just wanted to make a song for all of us.”
The Philharmonik also cites his mother as the inspiration to use his music to speak out on current issues. “She always told me to use my voice,” he says. “And she also told me to choose which side you’re going to be on.”
On March 30, the day after Stephon Clark’s funeral, he released a new single called “20 Rounds (Ode To Stephon Clark).”
The Philharmonik has built a following around Sacramento by collaborating with local artists like JMSEY, SUNMONKS and Hobo Johnson.