The Foreign Exchange’s name is quite literal. Phonte, from North Carolina, and Nicolay, from Utrech, Netherlands, initially met on the message boards of OkayPlayer in the early 2000s. Without meeting each other physically, the duo crafted their first album by sending mp3s back and forth to each other over instant messenger. Though this might be common practice today, almost 10 years ago this was unheard of as a way of establishing a professional relationship, let alone a full album.
Connected, the result of the unorthodox collaboration, was a sleeper hit. Phonte eschewed MCing for singing over Nicolay’s smooth compositions, creating a sound that pushed soul music forward. The two finally met at a Foreign Exchange performance and the first chapter in the FE story was written.
In 2011, The Foreign Exchange is a Grammy-nominated duo that have released three albums, expanded their roster, and established their own recording imprint. Their latest project Dear Friends: An Evening With The Foreign Exchange is also an unorthodox affair. In February of this year, the group held a private and intimate acoustic show for 40 or so randomly picked fans and friends in a small studio in North Carolina. They performed selections from all their albums as well as a few new tunes, one of which is “All The Kisses,” the song we’re streaming. The experience is available as a CD/DVD package in order to share the experience of the night with everyone who could not be there.