If you’ve had the distinct honour of seeing the artist known as Falana, in her natural habitat: onstage, sitting on her trusty cajon drum, with a very cool-looking guitar to the side, then you will have experienced a refreshingly unique performance, which has become somewhat of a rarity in this day and age. The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is about to embark on a multi-city/multi-country tour throughout the month of August, in support of her recently released EP, Chapter One. I caught up with the Ride or Die singer, who is just the epitome of cool, for a chat about the EP, the tour and so much more.
You’re touring now with your sophomore EP. What’s been a big difference, if any, between performing songs from Things Fall Apart and songs from Chapter One?
My sound has definitely evolved, and I have grown as a performer, and songwriter. So besides performing new songs, I just feel more sure about the artist that I am, and I’m sure that translates on stage.
Repeat is a song I feel like I could’ve done with when I was a young, scrawny teen trying to get by. Who would you say you were singing this song to and for?
This song is a reminder that we are all allowed to dream big audacious dreams, and ignore anyone who tries to criticise us or talk us out of them. Faith and resilience can overturn even your most dedicated nay-sayers. Repeat is really a song about perseverance and faith.
Arrange this in terms of most to least impactful for you: writing, recording, performing.
They are definitely all so important to me and all very different experiences. Writing and recording is the very essence of being an artist. Then performing is every artist’s opportunity to connect with the audience and their fans in magical ways. I live to be on stage and bring to life music I’ve written. All of them are equally impactful to me.
You worked on this album for a while before you released it. What was the final piece that made you confident it was ready to be shared?
The Chapter One EP is a condensed version of what I have been working on. This EP was an opportunity to explore my ideas as a producer, and also really experiment with my sound. My debut album is up next and I am very excited about the music I am creating. I try not to feel rushed when it comes to releasing music. Releasing Chapter One just felt right, and I think it’s important to always trust the process and learn to take your time.
The first time I heard the EP was at your listening party back in 2018. I remember referring to it as a galvaniser. I left feeling so excited and pumped. Is there one thing you hope people come away feeling after listening to this body of work?
The project is called Chapter One because it is literally the first chapter of what I know will be a very exciting journey. I definitely want people to be excited, but also inspired and maybe for some people to feel a little nudge of nostalgia. I feel my work is the notion of where the old meets the new. I am inspired by vintage Nigerian sounds and style and like to blend it with more contemporary sounds.
What pulls you into a song and makes you stick with it?
The lyrics are always what stands out to me! Of course the melodies and rhythm are very important, but hearing what an artist has to say is such a special part of experiencing a song.
Back to your tour. It can be quite a tasking thing, to tour and perform for days/ weeks/ months without a proper break. Do you have any strict routines for keeping yourself healthy enough to perform each night?
I try to make sure I keep similar routines in the morning and the evening regardless of where I am in the world. I make sure I exercise daily, and have a fairly strict skin care routine! I also try and keep in touch with friends and family as much as I can when I am on the road. It definitely helps me to stay balanced and connected. And, I drink lots and lots of water!
What’s your favourite part about touring?
I love being on stage. Hands down, that is my favourite part about being on tour.
You’ve now lived in three very distinct cities – Toronto, Havana, Lagos – where’s one city you’d love to spend some time creating in?
I’ve actually been spending a lot of time in Accra [Ghana] creating new music, which I love. Every city has a different rhythm, pace and vibe that always influences what I create. I would also love to explore some cities like Nashville [USA], Rio de Janeiro [Brazil] or Joburg [South Africa].
What’s been the biggest revelation about yourself that you’ve learnt through travel?
I learned that no matter what environment you throw me in, I always land on my feet.
Work aside, why do you travel?
I love meeting new people. I have an obsession with languages, and have wanted to be a polyglot since I was a child. So I love practicing speaking with locals, trying new foods, and just pushing myself to do new and exciting things. I also enjoy travel for more traditional reasons, like relaxing in picturesque destinations.
Do you think the concept of “finding oneself” through travel is BS or is there some truth in how exploring can bring one closer to their true self?
Whenever you remove yourself from your comfort zone in any way, you open yourself up to the possibility of growing. So travelling is 100% a great remedy for finding oneself. If you are travelling alone, you learn the patterns of your thoughts, become more acquainted with your likes, dislikes, your personality in new environments, and how you respond in unfamiliar situations. You definitely can “find yourself” or learn more about yourself through travelling. I am a strong advocate of living outside your comfort zone.
You can find out more about Falana’s music and tour by following her:
@falanamusic on Twitter and Instagram.