Our TO Street Muse Derin Falana has come a long way ever since he started rapping over five years ago. With almost 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and 16,000 followers on Soundcloud, Derin has grown to be the voice of “people that want more out of life” and someone who strongly stands for change and authenticity. We sat down with him to talk about his beginnings, inspirations and motivations.
Tell us about your journey.
"I always knew I wanted to entertain, I initially aspired to be a backup dancer but life led me to start rapping at the end of high school when I was around eighteen or nineteen. One of my friends (now producer, Po) had a mic at his place and when he suggested for me to try, it sounded surprisingly dope. I didn’t want to put it out because I didn’t think it would turn into anything, but my friend pushed me to publish it on Facebook. From there, I started being consistent by posting new music frequently and it led me to network with the right people. With each new record I'd release, I would personally hustle and reach out to up to 500 blogs every time to get my name out there. Word-of-mouth has proven to be the best kind of promotion as it truly allowed me to grow organically and connect with people who connect with my music."
What does chasing your passion means to you?
"To me, chasing your passion means taking control. It's far too common that people feel trapped in their city and want to see the world or move up in life, but they follow the status quo and end up complaining the entire time because they are doing it for their parents or other reasons. Being stuck in that reality doesn’t make them happy. Chasing your passion means taking control of your own life: not everybody pursues what they love, so to me, it's all about acting on opportunities and chances that come your way.
What are you the most proud of?
"The quality of work I have put out and how far I have come even if I have still a long way to go. Also knowing that I have made a difference in people’s lives, even if it is just one person. I like to connect with as many fans as possible, it makes my day when they reach out to me and tell me their stories and how I played a role in them. So knowing that I somehow changed their lives and gave them the courage to act upon their desires and overcome the challenges, makes me proud to do what I do."
What does success looks like to you?
"My definition of success is and always will be changing, but at this point, success means being able to give back to my parents. That is my main goal at the moment because they gave me so much and have always pushed me to do the things I love. Once I'm able to give back to them, I will be able to set new goals for myself because I believe that being successful relies in staying motivated by reaching new goals over time. Life is a long marathon, so smaller goals are important as they keep you motivated and inspired."
What do you think about the Canadian music scene?
"Being Canadian means a lot at the moment because all eyes are currently on Toronto. We are definitely growing a lot in the music industry: we have Drake, Bieber, Party Next Door, the Weekend, the list goes on. There is a lot of really good talent and a lot more to come, so everybody outside Toronto wants to know what is happening here. It has grown to be one of the most popular music cities because it has a certain sound: it’s very dark atmospheric, emotional and filled with hard hitting drums. It’s definitely blowing up and I don’t think it will quiet down anytime soon."
What do you stand for?
"I am the voice of people who feel trapped in their current reality because that is exactly how I felt, I have always wanted more out of life. A lot of people are trapped in 9-5 jobs, in routines that don’t especially make them happy and they are at a point where they just want more out of it. They want change and that is exactly the idea represented in my music. I stand for the people that want more out of life."
What would you say to those people?
"Keep going, don’t quit and be persistent because that is what it takes to really change your life. It is a very long process and there will be plenty of times where you will feel like you want to quit or simply feel frustrated because it is not going anywhere but you got to keep pushing because over time you will see the change and eventually get there."
What is next for you?
"I am working on a lot of new music and new content. I can’t talk about it much yet but there are a lot of exciting things on the way. "
Peace Collective hosted a private performance this past Friday for Derin Falana's closest friends and biggest fans. No words can describe the energy and magic that he and his VinciCircle created in our space. It's evident that this Canadian is built for big things, and we are privileged to have gotten the opportunity to work with him at the start of his budding career.
Check out Derin's new release, "Let Me Talk My Sh*t" available on Soundcloud now.
*All photography by @7thkind*