Lady PJ was born Philessa Nicole Hooks in Mobile, Alabama to Mr. Dewitte and Mrs. Lucy Hooks. She is the middle child of eight children. She stands tall through out the pain and manages to pick herself up every time she falls down. Her story is both inspiring and encouraging.
Her music is inspired by singers like Billie Holiday, Nora Jones, Tina Turner, and Jill Scott. Her lyrics are usually stories that are written from the heart. Her stories stem from her life lessons and her over-active imagination. She really feels that life is a puzzle that needs to be put together and no matter what, as long as you are alive, it can be fixed. I think this jazzy, sultry singer will be around for a very long time.
The rest of the story is in her own words: "I think about where I am now. My crazy journey and it's just amazing to me that I can still smile and find something more to hold on to with joy and laughter. I think that's the key; laughter. When things are at their worst and I think that I can't go another step I just find something that makes me laugh hard. The other side of this is, you've got to be able to cry just as hard. I call this “the other side of reason.” Because it seems so far out there beyond the rim of logic but it really works."
"I learned pretty early in life that good and bad must coexist; for without one there would be no other. Because one without the other would lead to a constant state of neutrality where nothing changes. Who wants that? With this logic I learned that you have to be able to accept them both as a normal reality of life. We all have experienced our share of bad times but have you ever just thought that no matter how hard things get if you could have that one precious moment that would carry you through the rest of your life with joy and happiness; would it not be worth it? That's what gets me through to the other side; I'm looking for that moment. I really believe that I'll get there one day."
"I think I was 5 when I was molested by a relative; that's the only memory I really have of my childhood. Except for the time I almost drowned and well that's an entirely different story. I can't remember any of the good times. I just remember always being angry. Then on my prom night, I was raped by my ex-boyfriend at the time. A boyfriend that I always thought I was going to be married to. Crazy, I know but true. That was an extremely difficult time for me because I was seventeen and so very bitter (so sweet upon the lips you stay to kiss the joy of life away). My life started spiraling out of control; I flipped my car, I was drinking heavily, and I would fight at the drop of a bucket, that's what prompted me to go into the military."
"Yes, I was a soldier; U.S. Army. The year was 1990 and we were getting ready for war when I was in basic training. I think that was the time I really felt safe, again. I really believed that I wouldn't have to fight; so the war didn't bother me but I did get my Mom to pray me through. Hey, pray works! I was settling into my new life and traveling to places I could only dream of. I had really good friends, at the time, but I was still unhappy. Now it's 1994, I'm in Germany, I've been there almost two years, and I'm raped by an officer. I think this was the hardest because I thought I was going to die. My whole life flashed right in front of my eyes and I thought about who would miss me? Or the fact that nobody knew that I was there. When he unlocked the door and let me out; I just felt relieved. I don't think I've ever been that afraid in my life; so now my safe-haven is gone. My life is thrown into turmoil. Where do I go now? That rape took a lot from me; not just physically but emotionally. I cut off my feelings and I was just making it through my day. I think that's when I, emotionally, started withdrawing from the rest of the world. I really didn't care if I lived or died; I just wanted out of my life."
"It's now 2004, I'm out of the military and I'm now working at my own business, a collection agency, married, with a daughter and two step-kids to take care of. I was so unhappy; miserable. I just felt numb, all the time. I use to think would I ever feel anything again. I had problems remembering; like adding, subtracting, names, dates, my birthday, etc. It was crazy. Add on to that I had really bad panic attacks. I didn't want to go outside and I barely could make it out of bed. It was a very dark time for me. I really hated life. I couldn't stand looking at myself in the mirror any more. All my joy was just gone, and I was desperate to find something to hold on to. It still hurts now thinking about it all."
"On the bright side, I started singing at the Veterans Hospital in Augusta Georgia, in the music room. It was my little ray of sunshine. My vocals weren't very good, mind you, but I wasn't trying to be a singer. I was just trying to find that one thing that I lost and could hold onto for just one second of my life. Mostly everyone there could play an instrument and they asked me to sing. At that time I was pretty reserved and contained but somehow they talked me into singing and I've been singing every since. I think this was the window that I needed to escape my life and I was thrilled to find it there. Eventually, I found myself singing all the time and loving it. My voice started changing and I was surprised at how good I was sounding. It just made me want to sing more. I've never wanted to be a star; that's never been my goal. I just wanted to feel that wonderful feeling of release and that's what I feel when I sing."
"On the other hand, my husband saw these changes and wasn't very happy with them because I wanted to hold onto this new life more and more. Well, in the process I was leaving behind my old life; the one he and I shared together. I refused to let go of this small piece of happiness I found. The more he fought me over it the more I turned away from him. Eventually, it became an issue of control and I wasn't about to let anyone take me away from that little light of hope that I was clinging to. I was dieing inside and I found something that made me come alive; it was the only thing keeping me alive. Our fights were constant and I was tired. I made a decision in my mind that if he didn't stop I was leaving. I had enough! January the first 2005, I walked way from my marriage and I didn't look back. That was the beginning of my search to find self and I've been walking that walk every since."
"Now I try to be the best person I can, to be as helpful as I can, to find those moments of joy where ever I can and to embrace them, to always strive for peace, to perform a constant evaluation on self, and live according to my own rules and beliefs. Of course to do this, you have to know who you are."
"My life did not start out all rosy but it doesn't matter. I don't intend for it to end the way it started. I wish I could say that my life is just wonderful now but I'm getting there. I take each day as it comes. I try my hardest to find something that makes me happy and do it or I just embrace it."
"On a professional level, I want to be able to create the art that I love, to do the things that bring me the most joy, and in the process I hope that it helps other people to see that window. I've been in that dark place, so I know what it's like to feel like you can't make it through another day. I just decided to live my life."