Falana

Born and raised in the Toronto suburb Brampton, Falana’s upbringing was soundtracked by a diverse music selection that spanned Fela Kuti to Sia. At home her Nigerian parents would play a lot of traditional Yoruba music as a way of staying connected to their culture, and through the melting pot of the city, Falana was introduced to the pop, hip-hop and R&B that she’d spend hours compiling into her own mixtapes.

 

After a year’s layover in Toronto, balancing day jobs and music, Falana departed once more – this time settling in her parents’ hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, where she’s remained for the past five years. “In Lagos everything started to make sense in my songwriting,” she explains. “Even down to how I express myself with style, and my hair.” Falana began to use her sense of style and fashion as an extension of her artistry more than ever before. Hailed as “Nigeria’s Coolest Front Row Star” by Vogue, she knows the importance of disrupting the often one-dimensional view of women that we’re constantly shown by our newsfeeds. “I love fashion because it’s another form of expression. But for me I think one of my main motivators is just being a different reference point – specifically for African women, and women in general,” she explains. “I’m sexy, but I’m not selling sex. I’m different, but I’m still beautiful. I’m strong, but I’m soft. I care about how my physical self is presented because what you see is what you know.” Her distinctive braid pom-poms have fans tagging her in fan art and pictures of their own hair: “I feel like it’s become this signature for me that’s so powerful now.”

 

Through relentless gigging in Lagos, Falana began to find a fanbase and feel comfortable in her sound, testing out new material on the stage first: “Fela used to do the same thing,” she says. “He used to perform songs live before he even recorded them.” Her reputation for captivating live shows lead to bookings in Europe – from Paris to London – as well as New York and Toronto. In 2019 she enjoyed a breakthrough year with the release of her critically acclaimed self-produced Chapter One EP, which lead to her first headline African tour, The Chapter One Tour, with shows in Lagos, Accra, Kigali and Abuja.

 

Falling between so many of the genres that have influenced her own journey – from soul and pop to R&B and Afrobeat – she’d often felt like an outsider, working on the periphery of multiple music scenes but never quite fitting in. With her new work, she’s finally been able to hit the balance she’s been searching for her whole life. “It’s funny how things fall together slowly and then all at once. I feel like I’ve really found my voice. And I think once an artist finds their voice, they become unstoppable.” With more creative confidence than ever before, Falana has the foundation with which to dig deeper and give more of herself to listeners. “I am really excited about the artist I am becoming, and I never want to stop evolving” she says.