Consisting of rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay, The Foreign Exchange came together via the online hip-hop community Okayplayer.com in 2002. After trading files through Instant Messenger for over a year, Nicolay (living in his native Holland at the time) and Phonte (a Raleigh, NC resident) completed their debut album before they ever met each other in person.
Phonte got his musical start by singing in his grandmother’s church choir and making beats on a Gemini sampler in high school. After entering North Carolina Central University in 1997, Phonte met future bandmates Thomas Jones (Big Pooh) and Patrick Douthit (9th Wonder) and formed the group Little Brother in 2001. The group released four critically acclaimed albums before finally disbanding in early 2010. Afterwards, Phonte focused his career on singing, songwriting, and producing with longtime Foreign Exchange partner Nicolay.
Around 2002, Nicolay met rapper/singer-songwriter Phonte (of Little Brother) on the Okayplayer message boards. They struck up a partnership under the name The Foreign Exchange and released their critically acclaimed debut album Connected, which was completed solely through the use of the internet, in 2004. The success of Connected enabled Nicolay to move to the United States and further pursue his career in music. The Foreign Exchange's sophomore album, Leave It All Behind (2008), was even more succesful, culminating in the Grammy nomination for the album's first single, "Daykeeper".
Zo! got his production start in 1992 when his parents brought home a Proteus MPS keyboard and a Brother PDC100 sequencer for him to figure out. Since then, he has emphasized the use of live instrumentation as the blueprint for his music while constantly looking to expand his sound with each album release.
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Median was raised in Wilmington, NC. Born in Queens NYC the same year as the birth of hip-hop (1979), the music, culture, and overall atmosphere has always had presence and influence in his life. In high school, among other things, Median was known for his witty freestyles and beatboxing. After entering North Carolina State University in 1997, Median met with like-minded emcees and producers. They formed the crew The Justus League in 1999. They gained a local following as well as national and international attention via internet. In 2005 Median released the critically acclaimed EP titled "The Path to Relief." In 2007 he released his debut album "Median's Relief" on Halftooth Records.
Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, singer/songwriter Jeanne Jolly broke onto the music scene as the featured vocalist for Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. Touring all through North America she had the opportunity to sing with world renowned symphonies and perform at venues like Carnegie Hall and play marquee events such as the Monterey Jazz Festival. A diverse, classically trained vocalist, Jolly’s voice is said to embody the “early belting power of Linda Ronstadt” combined “the delicate lilt of Alison Krauss”. After earning a music degree from Western Carolina University & a Masters in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory in Boston, Jolly moved to L.A. where her career took off. In addition to working with Botti, she continued to gain experience in the studio recording various styles for t.v & film spots as well as for acclaimed songwriters such as Lowen & Navarro and country artist Bob Woodruff.