I hadn’t meet Falana before this interview, but I felt she was a kindred spirit from the first listening to her music. I was not only excited to talk to her over some refreshing watermelon and ginger mocktails at the Backyard Bar and Grill in Lagos, but was doubly eager to do one of these features with a woman in music. No surprises then that I shifted the conversation towards the idea of feminism as it exists in Nigeria and in the music industry. But that’s far from all we talked about… And by the end of our chat, I l condensed and edited for print – all expectations had been exceeded by this intelligent, talented musician and person.
So let’s start with what we were just chatting about. You moved back two years ago-fresh from Canada What’s that experience been UK as a single woman, in your 20s, in Nigeria?
I been forte because I came back with decision and having the specific vision, and having specific vision directs your focus and your energy. So I knew was coming back as musician, That’s who I am that’s who I was in Havana, that’s who was in Toronto, that’s who I am period. And because of that I’ve been able to share that vision with other people and that’s why I’m able to sit down with you. So the fact that I’ve come back and I do what I do, I think is definitely a blessing. There will always be challenges in Nigeria, even the music industry is a particular type of market, so there always be things you’ll have to learn but despite those challenges perseverance will do it’s work you’re growing as an artist an individual and with you fans as well.
And when you first got here, and in the beginning stages of your career, what was the first thing you had to learn or unlearn?
The first thing i had to learn was to figure out how to find my footing. If you come here and you don’t have lifelines per se, you are building new relationships. Learning how to trust people who do not trust, figuring how to sustain yourself. A lot of people forget that there is always a story behind the story, so they might not understand the hustle behind the story that they see. Being able to sustain myself and knowing that the chaos that was going on around me for different reasons, I was able to continue pushing forward and be consistent.
In the music industry, misogyny takes on a different form -I mean it exists everywhere in this country. So coming into the music industry, fresh, with no lifelines as you said, what did that look Like to you as a woman as well as an outsider trying to navigate this new world?
I have a very simple philosophy in my life. I show by doing. So I know that if I as a female musician perform at a specific standard and have specific expectations and standards for my craft and my art when I perform, then that will speak for itself. I’m very particular about my art, my stage, my sound and music.
Where do you think you exist in the Nigerian music scene ? Are you alternative musician?
I tell people I am Falana! When people ask “what’s your genre?” I can give them the analogy, “you are what you eat”. I have a very interesting musical history. I grew up listening to KSA, Fela. My parents listened to Christian Yoruba music, and I was also listening to soul. My first memorable musical influence was Lauryn Hill and I love rhythm and percussion. And I studied music for in Cuba for a year, I have a very different mix and put that all together, combined with my love creative intuition.