”I listened to all of Michael Jackson’s albums, from Thriller to Dangerous to Bad. I also grew up listening to a lot of music by Chris Brown, Usher and other R&B legends.” Abuja-based singer Phaemous says about his music influences growing up. For the longest, the city has been bubbling with new talents and Phaemous is one of its many faces, whose debut 7-track EP PHÆWAY VOL. 1 just got released on Friday.
The EP allows Phaemous to shapeshift between genres. Lead single Violet featuring rapper Drayko is a slinky, emo-trap-rap hybrid on love and heartbreak. Wise (Over) is an RnB song about moving on from an unfavourable relationship, and Below featuring EESKAY embraces Afrobeats elements.
”It took me two years to conclude [PHÆWAY VOL. 1]. I had made two songs of the tape in 2019, and ended up completing majority of the tape in 2020.” Phaemous says. Sex and love are just some of the themes in the project, told through Phaemous’ worldview and sonic spin. His sound embraces a free-form style, aware of genre conventions but works around them to make his own.
Born Amaechi Emeka, Phaemous is the first child of two children, studied International Relations in Benin Republic and currently based in Abuja. His debut single Chocolate, released in 2018 on SoundCloud and produced by DJ Romzy, is memorable for its looping chorus. Signed to indie label Remitano Entertainment, the 22-year-old singer has been doing collaborations and features when not making music independently.
From 2019’s Your Matter by AfroSelecta-BBK and CMG’S Nature Rings to Bola Moses’ Bambozzle in 2021. ”My favourite collaborations has to be Do You Remember by Remitano Ent feat myself, UCEE, Drayko & PXMO & Cruise Control feat. BlaqBonez and PsychoYP.” Phaemous admits.
A recurring artiste in his growing discography is Drayko, an afro-trap rapper whose been on the larger music radar for songs like Minimum Wage. ”I and Drayko have incredible synergy in the booth. We’re also label mates, so it’s safe to say we’ll be making a lot of music together.” Phaemous adds.
In a world still dealing with the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic that broke out last year, new artistes especially the ones signed to smaller, indie labels are facing a myriad of challenges such as performing at concerts whether as supporting acts or headlining their own shows. With the high volume of albums and EPs released in 2020 from Nigerian acts, both old and new, many have found ways to circumvent the pandemic and connect with fans through Instagram Lives and Zoom events.
Phaemous is inclined to think that the internet is such a blessing in these uncertain times. ”Coronavirus definitely did a number on a lot of businesses and recreations, but a lot of creatives were able to move passed it and get their crafts out to the world, I’ll say to artistes like myself to keep pushing regardless. We live in an era of advanced technology and the internet can do a lot for you.”
Phaemous’ ambitions is to travel the world and for millions to sing his songs word for word, touring and performing music for my fans. This can only happen in a post-coronavirus world, surely. He is excited about the release of PHÆWAY VOL. 1 though, ”this project is definitely one for the books and I love it so much, can’t wait for the world to hear it.” he says.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.