Art of Helping: Meet 1SRAEL the Producer Behind “Wait For U” and Working on Dying’s Newest Recruit

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Israel Fowobaje, better known as 1SRAEL, is a world-class creative conduit whose accolades are attributed to his upbringing between Nigeria, Maryland, and Texas, proficiency in the production and visual media worlds, and an unrivaled level of business savvy.

What many may know him for is his most recent win; helping to produce Future‘s “Wait For U” ft. Drake & Tems. The track won Best Melodic Rap Performance at the 2023 Grammy Awards, is RIAA-certified double Platinum, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

While this achievement is something that many work their whole careers for, the Nigerian-born creative recognizes it as merely a step in the right direction.

“I was happier knowing that I took someone with no songs on Apple Music to having hundreds and thousands of streams,” he explained in our interview. “Of course, I’m thankful for the Grammy but internally there was always a joy of helping other people.”

Framing his career and accomplishments through the lens of his Instagram username, artofisrael, the defining mark of 1SRAEL‘s art is the art of helping people.

Raised between Houston, Maryland, and Dallas, music was always a part of his life. 1SRAEL‘s parents were musical legends in Nigeria with his mother being a well-known gospel singer while his father played drums for Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. His mother dropped her career as a singer to raise her children in the states but never let go of music.

“Before I knew what a studio was, my mom would still go do demos for church. I was pissed because like I wanted to leave. All I saw was this cold room with all this equipment in it. Over time though, I got an understanding of what was going on,” 1SRAEL explained.

After coming to the states, his mother became a choir director at their church and had 1SRAEL there five days a week for the majority of his life.

“What ended up happening was that I was around musical instruments like all day. When you’re around something for so long you’re just like ‘oh what’s this, oh what’s that’ and then you just start playing instruments,” he said.

In addition to Gospel music, 1SRAEL gravitated towards “classic Nigerian songs” even discovering Wizkid‘s first song “Holla At Ya Boy” which was released in 2011.

Outside of Nigerian music, the multi-faceted artist also credits moving back to Dallas from Maryland as a springboard for his own creative endeavors.

“Dallas was where I tested a lot of things because my background was in photography and video,” he said. “I went to school for marketing but I had this musical background where I could play any instrument.”

Fowobaje dipped his toe into the Dallas Soundcloud scene offering to shoot photos and videos for up-and-coming artists. The deeper he got into the scene, however, the more insatiable the itch to create and facilitate became.

“I started to develop my own artist and do everything for them. I’m talking about making their cover art, shooting their photos, their videos, making the music, mixing their music, figuring out the rollout, and figuring out how we’re going to touch people by throwing their listening parties. I got to a point where I was like ‘hold on I’m doing what a label does,'” Fowobaje stated.

Armed with an invaluable skillset and the determination to make his dream a reality, 1SRAEL moved to Los Angeles to pursue producing full-time.

In the Summer of 2021, 1SRAEL’s producing career began to gain momentum rapidly. In June, he produced two songs off of Dallas singer Dee Gatti‘s project Just Called to Say.

“Art of Seduction” which he co-produced with Larce Blake and Shraban would go on to hit a million streams and a month later, he and Sonic Major linked at an Air BnB in LA to do a Genius Open Mic Live Session for Tems‘ hit “Higher”.

1SRAEL and Sonic Major‘s created their own rendition of the track that was more suitable for live performance. They chose to accentuate Tems’ iconic lovelorn hook with dueling guitar melodies that added to the melancholy ambiance of her vocals.

Their version of the track was sampled by producer FnZ and brought to ATL Jacob who put drums on the track to make Future‘s “Wait For U”.

The song was released, but Fowbaje was never notified. However, once he realized that “Wait For U” had used his rendition of “Higher”, 1SRAEL threw on his executive hat and made sure that he was earning what he deserved from the record.

“Business is one of my strong points,” he explained. “I’m very keen on making sure that the business is right. I used to be the guy on the email chain making sure my artist wasn’t getting cheated or making sure the producers are getting paid.”

Now that his talents as a producer are on full display, 1SRAEL is poised to develop his company Agency 301 into a creative powerhouse. He also recently joined the producer super group Working on Dying and has a rumored release on the way with Lucky Daye and Fivio Foreign.

Even after all of the success and accolades, his focus and fuel behind his craft have never wavered.

“What’s gonna make me happy is like 5-10 years from now, someone huge is having an interview and they’re like ‘yo coming up there was this dude 1SRAEL that came in and made sure everything was right’.”

Stay tuned for more from 1SRAEL and check out the Genius Open Mic Live Session for Tems‘ hit “Higher” below!

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