Nigerian music has become a big deal in the global entertainment scene. These past years have seen producers push the envelope, creating sounds that transcend the continent with relatively minimal resources. Producers are unsung heroes in the Nigerian music industry. With their finesse and creativity, these artists have championed sounds that enjoy global praise.
Nigerian producers are marking a sonic identity to symbolize their creative ingenuity in a record and it is gradually gathering momentum to become the biggest in the world.
Daniel Adaaja of SIMPLE linked up with Phillip Kayode Moses better known as Pheelz who has worked with a vast array of artists and musicians, ranging from Olamide, Tiwa Savage and everyone in between.
WHAT WAS GROWING UP LIKE FOR YOU, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD?
It was pretty simple, modest and decent. Not too much but not too little, you know, simple family, just loving caring family and the church as well on the side and school. Its pretty much family, church and school growing up.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEING A MUSIC PRODUCER IN NIGERIA?
I mean, its life, It’s the good times, it’s the bad times, it’s the high times, it’s the low times but it’s a beautiful journey. And it has been an amazing journey so far as well, I just feel blessed to be able to make music and bless people through it.
YOU STARTED MUSIC PRODUCTION VERY EARLY, DID YOU EVER THINK OF DOING ANYTHING ELSE ASIDES BEING A PRODUCER?
Yeah, I think young Pheelz wanted to do everything. Just wanted to create and I think music was part of that as well you know. Drawing, you know arts, painting, writing, I was doing a lot of things back then.
YOU HAVE THE MOST AMAZING TRANSITIONS WITH CHANGE OF NAMES, HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT WHEN TO CHANGE THAT SIGNATURE IN YOUR MUSIC?
Its not something preplanned or that you have been. Its just experience and you know life will just take you through that phase. I might just hear something that is catchy and that just transitions into a tagline and I just transform it into my tag and I just choose to go with it. So it’s accepting change and its opening yourself up for change and just getting ready to switch it up.
HOW MUCH IMPACT DID YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OLAMIDE HAVE ON YOUR CAREER AS A PRODUCER?
It’s been a blessing working with Olamide and it’s been very fulfilling as well. He’s a really hard working person and I think that robbed off on me overtime as well. And you know, starting from like the roots, two young boys that just want to make music and do nothing else, just make music 24/7 and that’s what we did. You know, we learnt a lot from each other, I learnt from him, he learnt from me as well and you know, he’s an amazing person.
YOU HAVE AN AMAZING EP OUT, THE NAME ‘HEAR ME OUT’ WHAT INSPIRED IT AND WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO HEAR?
You know, its all in the name I just want people to “Hear Me Out.” You’ve heard my beats; you’ve heard my vibes for the longest now hear my voice.
YOU HAVE 5 SONGS ON THIS EP; WAYWARD GIRL, SOMEBODY, LAVIDA, ONE LIFE AND MANY MEN. LETS START UP WITH WAYWARD GIRL, WHY DID THE SONG START THE EP?
So Wayward Girl is a song about a girl and a guy. It’s a love story mixed with some real life experiences mixed with stories.
WHEN DID YOU WRITE THE SONG WAYWARD GIRL?
I think it was early last year (2020).
ARE ALL OF THE SONGS ON THE EP PRODUCTS OF LAST YEAR?
Not all, “Many Men” I’ve had for the longest. Many Men I’ve had for like for two years now and I think Many Men is the only one that has stayed longest with me.
WHY THE SONG “SOMEBODY”?
It’s everybody’s desire, everybody’s dream to be Somebody. The chorus says “I just want to be somebody wey be somebody, wey like somebody, wey love somebody” that’s everybody’s dream, that’s everybody’s prayer and aspiration, the song is for everybody.
WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU WERE THINKING OF LAVIDA?
Just chills, just me and a beautiful girl on the beach just chilling, living life, partying, yolo ways. Lifestyle.
I recorded “One Life” during lockdown, during the early phases of lockdown and it came from just that fact that you only have one life to live, and you just have to live it fearlessly and actually do what you want to do.
Many men is a story of somebody that will fight for the love of his life, his baby girl, because many men want to try and you know. Its every guys story actually on a low, to a level. But “Many Men” is about a guy that wants to just fight for his girl and protect his girl from every other guy.
HOW MANY SONGS DID YOU HAVE TO SELECT FROM IN CHOOSING WHAT IS ON YOUR EP?
I think I had maybe 10 to 15 songs. I had an amazing A & R; it wasn’t even my decision, I just left it for him, his name is Premium KD on Instagram and he’s an amazing A & R. He handled the whole project, I just did the songs and I just gave him because if I do it I will be confused, I will just continuously go in circles. So he did it and then he came up to me and I loved it.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE FROM THE EP?
That’s not fair question. There are all separate 5, they’re all like separate parts of me. Separate mood and separate experiences so, its not fair to pick one. I mean they’re my entire favorite; they’re my entire babies, every one of them.
SO YOU HAVE WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL CALL ONE OF THE BIGGEST COLLABORATIONS BRINGING OUT M.I. AND VECTOR ON CROWN OF CLAY – WHAT WAS THE VIBE KNOWING THAT YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE A SONG WITH BOTH OF THESE RAP GIANTS?
It was really fun having them in the same space and working with them as well and they are both rappers that I respect immensely and being able to take their voice and craft it and also do the hook on the song as well was an amazing session.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE RAP INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA?
Rap is rap, it’s growing, and it’s beautiful. There are some amazing rappers in the country; the pen game is amazing right now.
THE EP “HEAR ME” OUT HAS JUST YOU ON IT, WAS IT AN INTENTIONAL MOVE?
Yeah, it was because it’s called “Hear Me Out.” All solo, all me, productions, song writing, mixing and everything
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT NEXT?
Bangers, just more music. I’m going to keep doing what I do best. Make amazing music.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE?
Nothing, I’ve not seen it. If I want to do something I’ll do it. That’s me. I’m a goal-getter. If I want to do something. I will do it.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO REVEAL PHEELZ THE SINGER?
I mean its, bro, its vibe mehn, you get me. Like we never really know when we want to do something. The stars just align and you just know its time and you just do it. So its vibes, just vibes.
ON PRODUCTION, WHAT IS LIKE THE ONE THING YOU CONSIDER BEFORE CREATING A BEAT?
Emotions, what do I want people to feel with this music, you know is it happy, is it sad, is it dance, is it groovy. It’s the emotion first and every other thing after that.
SO HOW MUCH ARE YOU INVESTING IN YOUR EMOTION AS A PERSON?
Pretty much, I’m trying my best, growing steadily, learning everyday.
AS A PRODUCER DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT THE KIND OF ARTISTE YOU WORK WITH?
Of course I do, it’s my sound. I do, I select whomever I want to work with.
SO WHAT QUALIFIES AN ARTISTE TO WORK ON YOUR SOUND?
Energy, vibe, talent, it’s a lot of factors you know, and then story maybe how we meet or how we link up.
WHAT IS THAT ONE SONG YOU WORKED ON AND IT WAS PRETTY MUSCH OF A CHALLENGE TO GET IT THROUGH?
Every song has its challenges, and every song has its story so I can’t really pick. It’ll be too much for me to just pick one.
SINCE YOU TALKED ABOUT EMOTION, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO FEEL TO SAY THAT OH THIS SONG IS READY?
It doesn’t have a name, but I know it when I feel it. I feel it in my bones and I know and I look at the room if I have my friends around and I’m sure they feel it too.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOU?
I don’t know, some people think I’m proud, I don’t know. I don’t pay attention to any of that to be honest, but I’ve heard gist that I’m proud. I don’t pay attention to it, I just create; make music and record, that’s all I do.
DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY HAS APPRECIATED PRODUCERS ENOUGH?
No. It’s been amazing so far but I think it can be better. I think because the producers do a lot more than people think we do or they do. You get me. So I think it can be better all round.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PLACE OF SONG WRITERS IN NIGERIA?
I think songwriters have a place in the industry, it just takes appreciation and attention to give motivation to the whole thing. But I think they have a place in the music industry.
HOW DO YOU CATEGORISE YOUR KIND OF PRODUCTION?
It’s universal. That’s the one category I can put it in. it’s a very universal sound, its very universal music, it’s formless and its shapeless, it can mend into any space.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING THING ABOUT BEING A PRODUCER?
For me it’s the blank canvas, the first step for me because after that it’s just autopilot. It’s staring at your computer, staring at a blank canvas and a blank workspace and just looking at you and just taking that first step. After that first step, the rest is easy.
PEOPLE WHO WRITE HAVE WRITERS BLOCK, PEOPLE WHO MAKE BEATS DO THEY HAVE BEAT BLOCK?
For sure, I’ve had a couple of that in my career and I just stop, I just pause and listen instead. You know listen to every kind of music I can find, you know that’s how I get out of there.
SO YOU LISTEN TO ANY KIND OF MUSIC, AND HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU TO LIKE GET BACK ON THE GO?
It just clears the block for me, you know getting inspiration from weird places, listening to the indian songs, listening to songs from Pakistan, listening to Arabic songs, just listening to sound, no lyrics or nothing, just pure sound from everywhere. That works for me.
TALKING ABOUT SUCCESS, WHAT WAS THAT ONE MOMENT THAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE I AM THIS BIG?
I think it was a few years ago actually; I was very in the studio just making music. No one would see me outside for days or weeks and then I went outside one, then somebody saw me and was like sorry are you Pheelz and I’m like yeah I’m Pheelz. I’m a big fan’ and he took a picture and I’m like ‘okay’ and then like 4 people did that day and I felt I was doing something right.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT MUSIC?
My favorite thing about music is the power it has to control emotions. That has always been my favorite thing about music. The power it has to make you dance, make you cry, make you sad, make you happy, make you think, make you reflect, it has too much power if you ask me and that’s my favorite thing about music.
HOW DID YOU NOT ALLOW THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE DISCOURAGE YOU?
I kept good friends around, I had amazing friends. I had really good friends around me to just nudge me because sometimes you get tired and you just want to just pause first, but you just have friends that just support you and just push you forward.
WHAT’S THAT ONE ADVICE YOU’LL GIVE TO ANY PRODUCER HAVING LIKE A BLOCK?
Stop first, stop making music. Take a break, listen to songs, listen to songs that you wouldn’t listen to on a normal day, break that box. And then just take a few weeks off and then go back into it. If you’re not done if it still blocked, take a few more weeks off. Rest is very important for a creative.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE A HIT SONG?
I don’t have a description for it till today. I just know what I feel. I told you earlier that I don’t know what to call the feeling but I know when I feel it in my bones, I know and that’s the only feeling that tells me when the song is done or when the song is good, people decide the rest.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AS A PERSON?
Myself. That’s what I’m most proud of. Myself first then my accomplishments, that’s what I’m most proud of.
ARE THERE PRODUCERS YOU’RE LOOKING OUT TO WORK WITH THAT YOU’VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WORK WITH?
Nah. I go wherever the love and the music take me. For me as I said its about connection and its about vibes. So if we vibe and connect as producers then we work together. I’m always open for collaboration; it’s just about where music takes me, wherever it takes me.
DO YOU THINK MUSIC OR BEAT PRODUCTION HAS A STANDARD PRICE TO PUT ON IT?
No. Its not the price for the beat, it’s the price for the time. The beat is priceless. The music is priceless.
HOW THEN DO YOU DEAL WITH MONEY?
It’s all business bro. That’s how we deal with money.
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD PEACE?
First thing that comes to mind will be a glass house, by a lakeside with a bridge, and a lawn, speakers, microphone, a keyboard and just me. That’s all.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC EXPERIENCE?
It just shows how crazy life can be sometimes. And how vey fickle and instant you can just off like that so. You only just have one life; I think that’s what I learnt all through the Covid experience. You only have one life to live so just live it to the maximum and do what you really want to do.
WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTES?
“The journey is more important than the destination.” I think that will be my favorite quote now.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO UPCOMING MUSIC PRODUCERS?
Its tough but its possible. So just keep going, keep riding, keep pushing your sound, and keep putting your sound out there. Keep sending it out, keep putting it on soundcloud, and just keep going, that’s the advice.
FINAL WORDS TO EVERYBODY WHO LOVES MUSIC AND APPRECIATES YOUR SOUND?
Shout out to everybody, thank you for walking with me; keep walking with me, more music is coming out. You know, been in the studio been working back to back been recording, you know, thank you guys, peace and love, blessings.
Watch full interview below;
Interviewed: Daniel Adaaja
Photographed: Rayo Kasali
Videograph: Ebiniyi Fisayo
Production Assist: Anuoluwapo Dada & Adebayo Adetola
Executive Producer: Edun Adedamola