Pheelz: My Success As A Singer Was Not Overnight
Draped in a matching red outfit, his energy soared nearly as high as the 20, 000 people who were chanting his lyrics word-for-word, as they danced. “Ahh, finesse! If I broke na my business/ Ama shana, e go bright o/ Folake for the night o,” his explosive performance stunned the entire crowd in the London 02 arena where he opened for Davido, barely a month ago. And that single performance moulded, not just a lifetime memory for him, but also one of the most defining career moments for Phillip Moses, professionally known as Pheelz – the veteran music producer, singer and songwriter whose most salient superpower is getting better with time.
When Finesse broke down the floodgates of fame for Pheelz, two months ago, it was shocking to many who were only used to the music producer side of the Pheelz, with his unforgettable ‘Ridimakulayo’ or ‘Pheelz Mr. Producer’ signature lines. But for many others, it was definitely a cumulative harvest of his grit, talent and audacity. The song, which has since made history as one of the Most Shazamed Songs in the world, has become a beacon of inspiration to several other budding or established singer-producers.
Pheelz’ entire discography continues to thrive with one unique feature: its radicalism. From his earlier production input on Olamide’s major bodies of work (Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, First Of All), to Teni’s Billionaire, as well as Lil Kesh’s Shoki, the 27-year-old maverick already hacked his ability to season a record with the spice of emotion. Whether it involves inspiring dance moves, to creating slow-burn feel-good grooves, or contemplative anthems, Pheelz holds the range steadily in his hand, like a palette, painting his progressive artistry over the canvass of time. With his debut EP dubbed, Hear Me Out, still making the rounds, as well as multiple collaborations with Nigerian-British rapper, Tion Wayne, and Olamide, among others, still underway, there is every indication that Pheelz is on his way to become one of the most impactful sound-makers of his generation and of the next.
Catching up with Guardian Music, the multi-talented singer shares backstories into what inspired the record, as well as his early beginnings, creative process, his other less-popular eccentricities, and many more.
How do you feel right now about the recent success you have achieved as an artiste?
To be honest, it is really humbling. I just feel very grateful that I get to experience all the things I am experiencing right now, and even those things that are to come. I feel really blessed.
Tell us the inspiration behind your hit record, Finesse. What’s the backstory to that?
Finesse happened with me and Miichkel, the producer, in the studio. We were just recording that night. Initially, we had the idea a week before that, but we never recorded it. On the February 5, we eventually recorded it. Fun fact: I posted the video of me singing a snippet from the song, the same night we recorded it. And that was when everything just blew up.
You have started this journey over a decade ago. What keeps you going this long?
The journey has been crazy. It has been over 10 years. What keeps me going is my undying urge to keep creating, evolving and learning. I think it is my undying thirst for knowledge and growth – the drive to be a better artiste and creative altogether.
What was your major reality-check moment, that you knew you were going to be a musician for life?
My major reality-check moment was actually my whole life. I can still remember being five years old and seeing the power that music has on people. Since then, to be very honest, I knew that was what I was going to do with my life.
How did you get into the industry? Who were the people you made your first beats for?
I made my first beat for my mum, and my second beat for the church. I used to make a lot of music for the church back then. Whenever they had programmes, crusades and all that. That led me to meet ID Cabasa and then, I met Olamide and Coded Tunez. And the rest is history.
Did you always want to be a singer/producer?
I think I have always been a singer. My first placement actually was as a singer; it was a track on Olamide’s album titled, ‘I Am Going In.’ I have always been a singer-producer. I have always sung on my beats, from the beginning. Even when I was making music for church, I would always make the beats, then write and sing the songs. This has been who I have always been.
When was the first time you ever recorded a song, and what was it?
I cannot remember the name of the song, but I know it was with my older brother. We had a group back then in church. When I discovered the production software, Fruity Loops, we started recording music. I think I was 11 or 12.
What has been the most defining or challenging record you have ever produced?
This is a tough one. I won’t say it is the most challenging, because I have made a lot of records; but one of the most challenging records I can remember would be Olamide’s Anifowoshe. The original sample used on that song was super-fast and I had to literally remove each word to fit the beat per minute (bpm) that I was working with.
You released your debut, Hear Me Out, last year. How did you gauge the reception of the record?
Hear Me Out was amazing. The reception was beautiful. It opened the floodgates for what Finesse is right now, and that was my first introduction into me being perceived as an artiste. And the fans still love it right now. More people are listening to it, because of Finesse, and that gets me very excited.
Primarily, what kind of music would you want to make?
My art has no direction. My art is art. That is how I see it and define it. I don’t like boxes. I don’t want to be boxed in by a genre or a style or a kind of music. My art is my art. Whatever I create, I create. And I create a lot. Telling from my catalogue, you can tell that there are different sides of my vibe. So, yeah, I don’t like boxes and I don’t belong to one.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is a bit chaotic because I wear multiple hats when I create. I have my producer hat on, but while I am working on the beat, the hat of a songwriter would just kick in and I would leave the beat and just jump into that. And then the hat of the artiste would kick in and I would record. So, it is an all-over-the-place process, but the music comes out nice at the end.
Tell us some of the artistes in the industry that you are currently feeling like working with? And why?
I mean, right now, I am working with a couple of people that I have always wanted to work with. But I would also like to work with Burna Boy and Wizkid as well.
Tell us some of your major music influences?
Some of my major music influences would definitely be Kanye West, Drake, Timbaland, ID Cabasa, and a whole lot of others on my list.
What’s the vision for your music?
My vision is to be the biggest artiste to ever come out of Africa and Nigeria. I want to be one of the biggest voices ever heard in the globe. That is where my music is going and that is where it will be.
Finally, tell us three things that people don’t really know about you.
Firstly, I have very deep and weird views about a lot of things. I am also a visual artiste and a 3D designer. I am also low-key a tech geek and all that. I feel like, with time, every one would see these sides of me. I have plans to take over the world with all these.