Because he wears so many hats, there are plenty of words that can be used to describe music industry executive and television producer, Phil Thornton. But there is one word in particular that also comes to mind: fearless. And that’s because Thornton has proven that he can confidently and consistently create projects and content that successfully goes against the grain.
After graduating in 2003 from Norfolk University, Thornton started his first company, Bright Star Entertainment, an artist management/consultant firm where he represented artists such as 112 and Lil’ Mo. In 2007, he partnered with Marcus Spence and Paul Coy Allen to form the successful Ten2One Entertainment, a multimedia, television production, and artist management conglomerate. In October 2016, Ten2One, along with Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media, released the made-for-TV Lifetime Network film, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Miche’le, which garnered an impressive average of 2.3 million viewers. Thornton served as executive producer on the eOne-created hit show “It’s a Mann’s World,” starring David and Tamela Mann, which originally aired on BET, but returned for its third season on TV One. In 2018, Thornton and his team celebrated an NAACP Image Award win for “Outstanding Reality Series” for the show.
Overseeing the artist management side of Ten2One, Thornton has guided the careers of Faith Evans, Kenny Lattimore, and Mack Wilds. In 2016, he was named senior vice president and general manager of RCA Inspiration, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, where he works with a wide range of inspirational artists including Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene, Marvin Sapp and Donnie McClurkin. Prior to his position at RCA, Thornton served as vice president and general manager, Urban Inspirational at eOne Music, where he oversaw a diversified list of Gospel and R&B artists such as Lalah Hathaway and Shirley Caesar.
Thornton has a bunch of exciting television projects in the works with some incredible entertainment powerhouses, including Jay Z, Brian Grazer, and Kelly Rowland. On the film side, in addition to executive producing the Sundance picture A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night, starring Omari Hardwick and Meagan Goode, Thornton also produced the movie Same Difference, starring Essence Atkins and Terrence J., which will be screened at the upcoming American Black Film Festival.
He has also thrown his hat into the podcast arena with We Sound Crazy, alongside Tamone Bacon, Claude Kelly, and Chuck Harmony, a new show that focuses on R&B and hip hop and is guaranteed to draw a large, loyal following due to its amusing and fresh spin on music.
So how does Thornton balance everything? “Ever since I stepped on this earth I believe my steps have truly been ordered for me,” he says. “I’m fearless because I know that I’ve got God on my side. That’s why I continue to walk in faith and believe that He’s giving me the foresight and the vision so that I’m never afraid.”