The Foreign Exchange
While a young Phonte Coleman was growing up listening to the soulful sounds of artists like Luther Vandross and Chaka Khan in Greensboro, NC, Nicolay Rook was being reared on a similar catalog of musicians in the Netherlands. That musical kinship drew Coleman and Rook to each other on okayplayer.com, an online hip-hop message board, in 2002. The two never met in-person until after they’d put the finishing touches on their critically-acclaimed first album, “Connected.” Today, their band, The Foreign Exchange, boasts three albums, a record label imprint and a Grammy nomination. Rook has since relocated to Wilmington, NC to be closer to his bandmate, but he and Coleman continue to work through a long-distance relationship.