Nigeria – Nigerian singer-songwriter Phaemous’ sound is founded on R&B but is not limited by it. Born Amaechi Chukwuemeka Bartholomew, the burgeoning musician, who cites Michael Jackson and Chris Brown among his inspirations, is behind experimental sleeper hits ‘Forbidden’, ‘Ex-cuses’ featuring Drayko and ‘Cruise Control’ featuring rappers Blaqbonez and PsychoYP.
Earlier this month, Phaemous released the love song ‘Violet’, which he says was inspired by toxic relationships. The record was released on Remitano Entertainment and heralds his upcoming debut EP PHÆWAY Vol. 1, which he hopes will launch him to the global stage.
The musician spoke to Music In Africa about his style, unique experiences as an R&B artist in Nigeria and the forthcoming project.
Music In Africa: What drew you to R&B in such a heavily Afrobeats terrain?
PHAEMOUS: Since I was a kid, I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson. He was literally the first artist I opened my eyes to. Seeing him inspire major superstars like Usher, Chris Brown and The Weeknd made me fall in love with the R&B scene. I also didn’t fully escape being inspired by the heavy Afrobeats terrain here in Nigeria, because I look at myself as that R&B kid with Afro roots. So I definitely I infuse that into my music, too.
What have your experiences been so far as an R&B artist in Nigeria?
I’ve had to experiment with my music in so many ways, seeing as how R&B music is not big here. For example, my single ‘How You Gonn’ Listen to This Voice and Not Trip’ had a lot of traction here and even outside Nigeria. That showed me I could comfortably create my sounds with the confidence of making significant waves in the music industry. I have also been able to collaborate with massive hip hop acts here in Africa such as PsychoYP and Blaqbonez, as well as frontrunners of Afro-drill in Abuja like Eeskay and Odumodu Blvck.
What other genres do you explore in your music?
My music is not limited to R&B. I definitely explore other genres such as Afrobeats, jazz, neo-soul, trap and electronic music. I’m an artist who likes to create and experience different sounds – as long as they speak to me.