Falana earned some initial recognition for her self-produced EP ‘Chapter One’. The Canadian-Nigerian singer-songwriter subsequently travelled to Africa, North America, Europe and the Caribbean to work on new material. It was a process of self-discovery, which revealed new layers to her songwriting. She now shares the first taste of those sessions with the release of the single ‘Joy’.

Here’s what Falana had to say when we got the chance to ask her some questions.

Tell us about the new single Joy.

“The song feels almost prophetic in a way, because I wrote the song literally one week before the entire world went into a lockdown. I remember sitting at GeeJam studios in Jamaica reflecting on how far I had come as an artist and as a person, and just feeling so grateful for life. I was sitting eating porridge before my session, and I just remember listening to this Jamaican playlist thinking,”life is too short to not to be grateful for every single damn day”. So I just felt like I needed to channel that energy into a song. I went into a session with a good friend and songwriter Omolara Ayodele, and we penned the lyrics to the song”.

We love the video – where was it filmed? What can you tell us about it?

“We shot the video in Portmore, Jamaica. I had never been there before, but the energy of the entire crew I was working with an amazing. We actually almost got rained out, because the forecast predicted thunderstorms all day. So the whole team was a bit nervous but we pushed on, tried to be optimistic and for the most part the rain held up! I think that the overcast sky ended up adding the most amazing aesthetic to the visuals. The video was directed by the amazing Mykal Cushnie. When I reflect on everything, it all kinda feel full circle because the song and a lot of my album was also recorded in Jamaica at Geejam”.

Who were your musical influences growing up?

“Growing up, I was exposed to the music my parents played to keep their connection to Nigeria, so it definitely influenced how I hear and interpret rhythm and melody. Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, and Yoruba Gospel music was always on rotation. But at the same time, my discovery of pop, soul and R&B, (Lauryn Hill, Sia, Sade, Erykah) and even Florence and the Machine has really helped shape my song writing and a sound that I think is very much my own”.

Can you describe your music in 3 words?

“Smooth, Raw and Rhythm”.

What inspires your lyrics and visuals?

“I am inspired sometimes by my own emotions and experiences, and sometimes I am inspired by the stories of friends or strangers, films or books. I love honest songwriting and some of my favourite songs are the ones with lyrics that feel like they are speaking directly to you. Visually, I love experimental music videos and I love visuals that take you on a journey or bend reality”.

What is the best advice you’ve been given in life?

“Don’t be too precious. Life is too short, to not let things go, and take things too seriously!”

What are your plans for the rest of 2021?

“I will definitely be releasing new music this year! I have an EP I will be releasing very soon, and a debut album on the way”.

If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?

“Kindness. I think one of the most important things we can do as human beings is treat people with love and kindness. I think sometimes we forget how powerful and transformative a simple act of kindness can truly be”.

Are you looking forward to playing live again?

“I can’t wait to be on stage again. Performing live is literally how I built my fanbase before I was releasing music. I miss being able to try out new unreleased songs on stage and interacting with the raw energy of an audience in a room! As soon as live shows are allowed again, that’s where you will find me”.

If someone played you in a story of your life, who would it be?

“Maybe Lupita haha or Michaela Cole”.

By Siân Parker