Phillips Jr., aka MP Luciano, turned his life around through
His friends and
family know him by his birth name, Mark Phillips Jr., but Milwaukee
recording artist MP Luciano ó who adapted his stage name after
gangster Charlie "Lucky" Luciano ó is a master of
transformation. Now, at 31, heís feeling mighty lucky himself.
The jazz, gospel
and hip-hop vocalist founded his own record company in 1996, which
evolved into Truly Blessed Entertainment LLC in 2010. He recently
signed a deal with X Records and Malaco Music Group to take the
Phillips says he
is also "a writer all the way around the board," and was
encouraged to hone that craft when he was published at the Milwaukee
Young Authors Conference in 1992. His new book, "Qualified to be
a Legend," is intended to demonstrate to "the young men and
women here in the city that you can be what you want to be despite
negative surroundings." What it takes, Phillips says, is focus
and persistence ó a tough lesson to learn.
knucklehead in college led me down the wrong path," he says.
"After going back and forth to jail in my early 20s, enough was
His father, Mark
Phillips Sr., helped him to concentrate on cultivating his musical
talent as a way to accomplish goals and stop sabotaging himself.
Heartache still found him.
sister, Keena, a star high school basketball player, lost her life in
a car crash before she could go to college on her sports scholarship.
Two grandparents died within months of the accident.
happened to me, I didnít know how to handle it," Phillips says.
"It spilled out over into the music, though. I was able to
arrange my emotions so that I could understand what I was
The example of
loving parents that he saw in his father and stepmother, Dana, were
taken to heart.
"My dad is
what I would call the definition of a real man," Phillips says.
"My father has worked at the same place since right out of high
school and now heís in top level management. Then he chose to go
back to school and get his bachelorís degree.
"He got all
four of his kids through school. He never walked away, and I
appreciate him for that."
his strong faith in God has also turned his life around. Today, he is
a father himself, with two girls and twin boys on the way.
message in my book is that if you keep God first, anything is possible
with hard work and patience," Phillips says.