The Meaning of Birth according to Lagos singer-songwriter, Falana

Falana opens up about how her time in Cuba influenced her artistic expression

Photography: Omowunmi Ogundipe

Falana: the singer-songwriter winning over new fans, one electrifying performance at a time

What drives you to create music: the process or the final creation in itself?

Definitely the final creation. The idea of arriving at a finished body of work, especially in the creative world, is just so amazing to me. I love sitting back and enjoying something that I have just created. However, I also believe that the process is key because you can only discover and evolve as an artist by going through an artistic process.

You are revered in Nigeria for your gripping live performances. How did your time in Cuba birth the spectacle we see today when you take the stage? 

My time in Cuba improved my skills as a musician and exposed me to different kinds of sounds and rhythms that I might have otherwise not been exposed to. I think however that my live performance has more to do with me being myself, and letting myself be free on stage than anything else.

What do you do to get yourself out of the inevitable lows of the creative process? 

I’m learning to enjoy the creative process – both the highs and the lows, to the point where I even celebrate the lows. They are equally as important in the creative process. When I have writer’s block for example, I might write something silly, or playful, or I’ll try writing poetry or a story – anything that will get my mind off the specific project I’m working on, and that might help me come at it with a new perspective. When I am stuck on melodies or harmonies etc, I just walk away without judgment, trusting that I am closer to where I want to be. It is still a challenge, but I think the key is to genuinely enjoy what you are doing!

Do you feel the need to nurture your music once it is released? Or would you rather let it grow on its own?

I think the nurturing process actually happens while I am creating music. I am nurturing my music as I go through all the stages of writing it, bringing it to life, letting it breathe, and coming back to finish it. Once music is released, it is free for people to relate to and connect with. It begins its new life as a fully matured creative work.

 You haven’t released a body of work since your 2014 EP Things Fall Together. Do you feel the release of music is always necessarily the final step for an artist? 

If I am not making music to be shared, then technically I am only an artist to myself. I also believe that artists go through phases, and I think the phase I have been in is one of rediscovery, developing my sound in new and different ways. Performing live is also a huge part of that; many of the songs that will be coming out on my album were first performed live at my concerts. It helps me get a feel of whether the song is fully formed, or if I still need to take it to another level.

For you, is a release a cathartic experience or is it just the natural end to a process?

I think releasing new music can be both or none of those things, depending on the artist. For me, it feels more like the natural end to a process, while songwriting is more a cathartic experience where I get to throw myself, and my emotions, into song lyrics or chord progressions.

Do you ever feel like the process of creating trumps the eventual release of your material? 

The two aren’t really comparable in my opinion. Creating music allows me to vent, express all kinds of emotions, learn about myself, improve as a musician, and dig into my creative self in ways that expose my strengths and weaknesses as an artist. This process is extremely necessary, but I do not think it is any more or less important than sharing music with fans and letting it influence people and the world around you in real and positive ways.

Your next release is highly anticipated, if not just for the length of time since your debut. How do you feel about putting this out into the world? 

Haha…well, I feel good. I feel like I am blessed because I am doing what I LOVE to do, which is write, share and perform music. So I’m excited and when it’s ready, I hope the world will be too!

Finally, what is the meaning of [creative] birth to you?

The act of bringing life – an artistic light – into the world that will influence, impact and change everything around it.

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