Making A Hit Record: Phyno Says “The Power” Is In The Producer’s Hands

BY Nii Ogbamey Tetteh November 24, 2023 3:03 PM EDT

Nigerian singer and record producer Phyno, who has been off the radar for a while, has been speaking about his musical journey and providing some good advice to artistes in the Afrobeats industry and beyond.

The Fada Fada lyricist will be returning sometime soon to feed his “starving fans” with some good records as he gets ready to release a new album, whose title he is yet to disclose.

In a chat on the Afrobeats podcast with UK-based media personality Adesope Olajide, the entertainer said Hip-Hop music was profitable, but musicians should be ready to expand their genre.

A staunch rapper himself, Phyno stated that local rappers must be ready to move to the next stage and “try something new.”

While at it, he believed musicians must collaborate well with producers in choosing the “right beat for a song.”

Phyno, real name Chibuzo Nelson Azubuike, explained that choosing the right beat was important as “the beat of a song determines the genre of the song.”

“Just make the right choice for your beat…The beat of the song determines the genre of the song you are making; it is not the rap.

“If you rap on a reggae beat, you are making a reggae song. If you rap on a Highlife beat, you’re making a highlife song, if you rap on an Amapiano beat, you are making an Amapiano song,” he stated.

He maintained that music producers were important because they were the experts who shaped the sound of a hit record.

“No matter what you do, you will still come back to a producer and he will give you what suits what you are vibing [singing]…The power of your hit record is in his hands [the producer]. Even if you’ve written something before going into the studio, it is [just] a poem,” he stressed.

Touching on other aspects of his music career, Phyno, 37, said he cared “so much about his artistry” but did not subscribe to recording an Extended Play (EP). He would rather work on longer projects, such as 15- to 16-track albums.

“I am not an EP guy. The only time I did an EP was a collaboration with Olamide, and that was nine to eleven songs. I don’t feel I am doing enough,” he explained.

Having lots of hit songs under his belt since he started in the 2000s, the award-winning performer indicated that singing and recording Highlife music came to him “naturally.”

“Highlife music molded my versatility. Growing up, all you hear in my neighborhood is Highlife music, but even as a young boy growing up, I didn’t want to be a highlife musician; I wanted to rap.”

Having released songs such as Financial Woman in 2016, he said he earned more from recording highlife music in the early stage of his career, hence the decision to maintain that style of music despite being a formidable rapper.

“I got into the sound [Highlife] more and learning how to produce it, and that was how I got to love the melodies, unlike Hiphop where it was all about the bars,” he noted.

Responding to why he raps in his native Igbo language, Phyno said he “loves selling his culture through music, although it is still easy” to record songs in English and other native languages.

“I love moving different; I just don’t want to be in that box. I don’t want to be a rapper that raps like everybody…that is why I do what I do. Music is music; if you understand, that’s fine but if we make music that ends up being a hit, you realize that everybody enjoys it, and they don’t need to hear what you are saying,” he added.

He referred to City Boys crooner, Burn Boy as his brother, with whom he looks forward to collaborating soon. Apart from his latest single, I Do (released in August 2023), Phyno’s discography includes songs such as Connect, Alobam (released in 2014), Ghost Mode, Parcel, Man of the Year, and many others.