Pheelz's Journey: From Nigerian Prodigy to Global Music Maestro

The Afrobeats singer and songwriter talks to BET about working on Usher’s latest album, his single “Go Low,” upcoming EP "Pheelz Good II," and more.

Phillip Kayode Moses, formerly Pheelz, quickly became a star in global music with his innovative sound, which blurred the lines between Afrobeats, R&B, and pop. 

After performing with Usher at the 2022 Global Citizen Festival, the Nigerian record producer, singer, and songwriter came into 2024 with a No. 1 album on Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart. This happened because of his work on the R&B icon’s latest album, Coming Home. Not only did Pheelz write and share his vocals on the lead single, “Ruin,” but also wrote the album’s opener and title track, “Coming Home,” which features fellow Afrobeats artist Burna Boy.

L.A. Reid told me about the album they were working on and I just told him to get me into the studio,” Pheelz recalls. “They got me into one of their studios in Los Angeles and that was the day I made ‘Coming Home.’ And then, I told them I had another record, which I had made a year earlier when I was going through a very crazy breakup, the song is called ‘Ruin.’ I told them that I think Ruin would be perfect for the album. I played it for them and the whole studio just lit up. Everybody went crazy. Then, we went to Las Vegas for Usher to cut the record and it's just been like a movie ever since.”  

Williams Peters

The BET Award-nominee says that having Usher as a big brother to look up to, ask for advice, have conversations, and make beautiful art is a dream come true. “My life has literally been a movie, man. I'm just grateful for all these experiences and all these people I get to meet and share life with. I'm just grateful that he trusted me,” he says.

Although Pheelz would always sing at church, his breakthrough as a record producer came in 2012 when he was just a teenager. He produced the chart-topping singles by Nigerian legend Olamide, "First of All" and "F**king with the Devil," from his YBNL album. That was when he realized he could do music for the rest of his life. His work with superstars like Wizkid, Davido, and Fireboy DML solidified his reputation as one of Africa’s biggest producers.

“It has always been my dream to be on stage, to perform, to travel the world, to go on tour, to be a rock star. I feel like production kicked off earlier for me 'cause people wanted me for my beats. But, I had always known that there was this beast inside that was going to raw one day,” he tells BET. “My dad will always tell me, ‘You are still gonna be a singer. You're still gonna sing, you're still gonna perform. It doesn't end with beats.’ I guess he was right.” 

In March 2022, the Ogun State native signed a record deal with Warner Music UK. Shortly, his hit single "Finesse" featuring BNXN became an international success and earned him his first career entry on the Billboard Global 200 chart. That same year, he debuted with that track on Barack Obama’s annual summer playlist. "Finesse" was part of his 2023 critically acclaimed EP, Pheelz Good, which generated nearly 1 billion streams. 

“I was freaking out but my dad was losing his mind,” he recalls the moment Obama co-signed him. “Yo, my dad called me immediately. He was like, ‘Sorry, which is it? The real Barack Obama, like the president?’ I'm like, ‘Yes.’ The whole family was freaking out. That was a landmark moment for me. It's moments like that I go back to whenever I'm having rough days, starting to get overwhelmed, or when life is trying to act funny, or things are weighing me down. God has been good and God is still good.”

Recently, Pheelz released his latest single, “Go Low.” The track layers slick synths over a club-ready beat filled with uncontainable energy. “‘Go Low’ is for the dance floor,” he says. “I was trying to shine more positive light in a world that just feels negative. I just want people to dance, party, be happy, groove, and try to do that with African rhythm.” The 29-year-old reveals that he wrote the song for Usher. “I just never played it for him,” he adds. 

In a video posted on Instagram a few weeks ago, Timbaland vibs to “Go Low” before it was released. The legendary producer says Pheelz is changing the narrative of Afrobeats' direction. “It's phase two of Afrobeats… Like you the s**t,” Timbaland tells Pheelz.

“Man, the whole experience is a dream come true because Timbaland has always been a big inspiration for me growing up,” Pheelz admits. “He was one of the producers I would look up to. He was one of the producers I would copy as well, try to sound like him, trying to get my drums to hit like his drums. So, just having that experience of him calling me the phase two of Afrobeats and just talking about the song, talking about my drums, it's a dream come true, man. I'll forever cherish that moment with him.” 

He is now laying the groundwork for releasing a new EP titled Pheelz Good II. “This EP is the end of the Pheelz Good era,” he says. He also reveals that the project won’t involve collaborations because he wants to get personal with his fans. He continues, “I'm keeping all the features for the album.”

Pheelz announced that his debut album and art collection would be released before the end of 2024. “This is the year of the album for sure. A lot of surprises so watch out,” he adds. “I’m a 3D artist as well. I’m also film making. This year is the year for all that to come out. Since Covid, the goal has been to die empty. I'm not leaving any single source of awesomeness inside of me. I'm giving this to the world. I'm leaving everything out.”

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