By Emmanuel Daraloye
Phillip “Pheelz” Kayode Moses started off as the music producer who scored his first major hit at the age of sixteen through Olamide’s “First of All.” He has also produced “High” for Adekunle Gold, Davido’s “Stand Strong”, “Billionaire” by Teni, “49-99 ” by Tiwa Savage, Lil Kesh’s “Cause Trouble,” and many more.
While producing, he became a songwriter and eventually transitioned into becoming a performing artiste. Everything changed for the better when he released “Finesse” alongside BNXN in the first quarter of 2022. With his smash hit, “Finesse,” produced by Miichkel, Pheelz is now breaking down the floodgates of fame.
Close to a year after the release of “Finesse,” Pheelz returns with a new body of work titled Pheelz Good. Afrocritik senior music writer, Emmanuel Daraloye, spoke with the 2022 Headies’ Producer of the Year winner about his craft and journey into the music industry, and more.
Emmanuel Daraloye: Our teeming audience would love to know a little more about Pheelz. What was growing up like for you? How much of your background influenced your music?
Pheelz: Growing up was very simple, actually. It was just school, church, and back home. That was mostly my life growing up. But church really influenced my life because that’s where the music was for me. I would always play the instruments, be in the choir, and write songs for church and perform as well. So, it really added to my musical background and knowledge.
Daraloye: Which producers, Nigerian and foreign, did you grow up listening to? Who inspired you to venture into music production?
Pheelz: Legends like Timbaland, Kanye West, ID Cabassa, Don Jazzy, Rick Rubin, and Pharrell just to name a few.
Daraloye: Almost a year after the release of your breakout single, “Finesse,” you are back with a new body of work. How does this make you feel?
Pheelz: It’s with a feeling of gratitude and relief that I get to drop this body of work and the world gets to hear it. All in all, I’m grateful that it’s out and the fans can finally dig into it and experience the music for what it is.
Daraloye: What, for you, was the sonic direction of Pheelz Good?
Pheelz: The sonic direction of the EP is feelings and emotions. Emotions that I’m trying to interpret with my sound and my vibe. They are also emotions I’m trying to share with the world. There’s the emotion of love, balling, and grooving.
Daraloye: After cutting your teeth in the Nigerian music industry for years, producing hits, you’ve eventually become a pop star in your own right. Tell us more about this transition and what inspired it.
Pheelz: To be honest, it’s not really a transition. I’ve always been an artist since I was a child. I actually ventured into production so I could make beats for the songs I had written. So, it’s not really a transition, it’s just me turning up the volume on my artistry and craft.
Daraloye: Were there any significant changes to your person to tread this path? How rewarding has it been so far?
Pheelz: I don’t think so. It’s just new waters to swim, and it has come with a lot of learning and growing.
Daraloye: I have listened to Pheelz Good. I like the range it offers listeners. Was this a deliberate attempt at multi-thematic exploration? Do we expect future projects from Pheelz to follow a similar trend?
Pheelz: Yeah, it was a deliberate attempt. The EP consists of three different emotions. It’s just me trying to show that to the world. Also, I’m not trying to put myself in a box because I’m not a big fan of boxes, and I don’t like my art being categorised in a particular box. But, yeah, the future projects will be creative as well, and I believe in God and the universe directing. We’ll see how that goes.
Daraloye: Some of your fans were looking forward to an album; however, you released an EP. Why the EP first and when should we expect the debut LP?
Pheelz: Before the end of the year, I think the album will be ready but I just wanted to give the fans the EP first because I don’t want to overfeed them. I just want to hold their hands and walk them through my journey track by track.
Daraloye: “Finesse” seemed to change everything for you. What are your sentiments about the song’s impact on the ‘Afrobeats to the World’ movement?
Pheelz: I’m just grateful to be one of the forerunners of the movement. It’s just amazing to see how far my songs and craft have come and how far it’s still going to go. Shout out to the fans and every media house supporting. That’s really the reason I’m here for sure.
Daraloye: On the 8th of February 2023, you became the first ever African artist to perform at a Brooklyn Nets NBA Game. What did that moment mean to you?
Pheelz: It meant the world because initially, I didn’t know I was the first Nigerian to perform there so my thought was just to get on the stage and kill it. But after I was told, it just made the moment a lot more special because it’s crazy to break new grounds and cross new waters.
Daraloye: Who are your top three African producers right now?
Pheelz: Right now, Miichkel, P. Priime, and Semzy.
Daraloye: Where do you see the Afrobeats scene getting to in the next 5-10 years?
Pheelz: To be honest, I don’t know. I just see Afrobeats crossing more borders and merging with different other genres to create extra genres like Afro-jazz, Afro-fusion, and Afro-hip hop. That’s how I see the Afrobeats movement going. I’m really excited to see how we continue growing as a culture.
(Stream Pheelz Good here)
Emmanuel Daraloye is Africa’s Most Prolific Freelance Music Critic. He has over 500 album reviews in his archive.