MY Success As a Singer Did Not Happen Overnight
Pheelz’s whole discography thrives because of one distinguishing feature: its radicalism. From his early producing contributions to Olamide’s main body of work (Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, First Of All), to Teni’s Billionaire, and Lil Kesh’s Shoki, the 27-year-old maverick has already honed his ability to season a song with the spice of passion. Pheelz holds the spectrum solidly in his palm, like a palette, painting his progressive talent across the canvass of time, whether it entails inspirational dance motions, slow-burn feel-good rhythms, or meditative hymns.
During an interview with Guardian Music, the multi-talented vocalist discusses what inspired the record, as well as his early origins, creative process, and other less-popular quirks, among other things.
What are your current feelings on your recent accomplishment as an artist?
To be honest, it’s rather humbling. I’m just thankful that I get to experience what I’m experiencing right now, as well as what’s to come. I consider myself quite fortunate.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your smash song, Finesse. What’s the story behind that?
Finesse occurred in the studio with myself and Miichkel, the producer. That night, we were just recording. We got the concept about a week prior, but we never documented it. We finally taped it on February 5th. Fun fact: the same night we recorded the song, I released a video of myself performing a bit of it. That’s when things went downhill.
You began this adventure almost a decade ago. What keeps you going after all this time?
The journey has been incredible. It’s been almost a decade. What keeps me going is my insatiable need to continue creating, expanding, and learning. I believe it is my insatiable need for education and improvement – the desire to be a better artisan and creative all around.
What was your defining moment when you realized you’d be a musician for the rest of your life?
My major wake-up call was literally my entire life. I recall being five years old and witnessing the effect that music had on people. To be honest, I knew that was what I was going to do with my life ever since.
How did you break into the business? Who were the first persons you produced beats for?
My first beat was for my mother, and my second beat was for the church. Back then, I used to compose a lot of music for the church. Whenever there were programs, crusades, and so on. This led me to meet ID Cabasa, who introduced me to Olamide and Coded Tunez. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Were you always interested in being a singer/producer?
I believe I’ve always been a singer. My first placement was as a singer, on a song called ‘I Am Going In’ from Olamide’s album. I’ve always wanted to be a singer-producer. Since the beginning, I’ve always sang to my rhythms. Even when I was composing church music, I would always start with the rhythms and then compose and perform the tunes. This has always been my personality.
What was the first song you ever recorded, and when was it?
I can’t remember the song’s name, but I know it was with my older brother. We had a group in church back then. We began creating songs once I found the studio program Fruity Loops. I was maybe 11 or 12.
What is the most defining or difficult record you’ve ever made?
This is a difficult one. I won’t say it’s the most difficult since I’ve made a lot of recordings, but one of the most difficult records I can recall is Olamide’s Anifowoshe. The original sample used on that song was extremely rapid, and I actually had to eliminate each syllable to match the beat per minute (bpm) that I was working with.
Last year, you published your debut album, Hear Me Out. How did you assess the record’s reception?
Hear Me Out was fantastic. The reception was lovely. It was my first introduction to being regarded as an artist, and it opened the floodgates for what Finesse is now. And it’s still popular among fans today. Because of Finesse, more people are listening to it, which makes me really happy.
First and foremost, what type of music do you want to create?
My art has no focus. My art is just that: art. That is the way I view and define it. I dislike boxes. I don’t want to be limited by a genre, style, or type of music. My art is just that: my art. I make whatever I want. And I make a lot of things. You can notice from my catalog that I have several sides to my feel. So, sure, I don’t like boxes and I don’t fit into any of them.
How does your creative process work?
My creative approach is a little hectic because I produce while wearing numerous hats. I’m wearing my producer hat, but when I’m working on the beat, my songwriter hat kicks in and I abandon the beat to dive into that. Then the artiste’s hat would kick in, and I’d record. So it’s a jumbled process, but the music comes out nicely in the end.
Tell us about some of the artists in the business with whom you’d want to collaborate right now. And why is that?
I mean, right now, I’m working with a couple of folks with whom I’ve always wanted to collaborate. But I’d also like to collaborate with Burna Boy and Wizkid.
What are some of your main musical influences?
Kanye West, Drake, Timbaland, ID Cabasa, and a slew of other artists are among my primary musical influences.
What is your musical vision?
My ambition is to become the most famous artist to have emerged from Africa and Nigeria. I aspire to be one of the world’s most powerful voices. That is where my music is headed and where it will remain.
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.