Folarin Falana, popularly known by his stage name Falz, is a Nigerian rapper, songwriter and actor, was born in Lagos Nigeria on October 27, 1990 to highly respected lawyer and activist Femi Falana. He attended St Leos Catholic Primary School in Lagos Nigeria and later went to Olashore International Secondary School, Osun state Nigeria before obtaining an LLB degree from the University of Reading in the UK. He went to the Nigerian Law school and officially became a barrister in February 2012.
Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana and his wife, Funmi organized a get-together for friends, relatives and associates to celebrate the achievements that their son, Folarin popularly known as Falz has recorded within a short period in the entertainment industry. At the event held at Protea Hotel, Lagos, Funmi, who is equally a lawyer, went down memory lane and narrated how she felt bad about Falz’ plan to dump law for entertainment. She explained that his father was not helpful as he was supporting his son’s music career behind the scene.
“I am the disciplinarian in the house,” she said. “He (Falz) had started his career when he was in law school. I would tell him ‘you must practice law. I insist that you practice law. I sent you to England to study law. You cannot waste my money’. But his father would go behind me to encourage him. I told the father ‘Iwo lo nba awon omo yi je’ (you are the one spoiling these children).”
But vividly excited because of the way Falz’ career has turned out, she ended her speech thus: “We give God the glory”.
In his remarks, Femi Falana said the reason why he refused to influence his son’s choice of career was because of his liberal disposition.
“I want to corroborate what my wife said that I stubbornly conspired with Folarin to pursue music. We had a lot of quarrels in bringing up the kids. My wife believes that you spare the rod and spoil the child, which is good for the home. I am almost the opposite, not spare the rod, but also encourage the child. Sometimes, I accused her of child abuse because of her harassment of the kids.
“To be honest, we didn’t influence Folarin to read law. I took him to school one day. I think he was in primary five. He was late to class and everybody said ‘the Law’. I asked him later whether he wanted to read law and he said ‘yes’. He went to the law school, and he did well. We thought he was going to come out as a very good lawyer. He just came to meet me one day and said, ‘Dad, I think I want to move on. I can’t be going to court for adjournments all the time’.
“The mum came to challenge me that I was spoiling him. Apart from my own liberal disposition, I think I was largely influenced by my experience with Fela who was our client for about 15 years. Fela’s mother believed that he was going to be a colossal failure. How can anybody in 1967, in this part of the world, say he wanted to be a musician? Fela’s elder brother had become a doctor, and the younger brother was going to read law. But later, the mother became Fela’s mother and the brothers became Fela’s brothers.
“I remember an incident when Falz went for an interview on television and said his name was Folarin Falz. When he came back home, the mother asked why was he not bearing Falana so that the name could open doors for him?
“But he said, ‘I don’t want my father’s name to open doors for me. I want to open my own doors because if I had said I was Folarin Falana, I would have thought that the interview (opportunity) was granted me because of my father’s name. Even right now, I don’t want anybody to call me Falana’s son. I want people to be asking both of you, are you Falz’ father and mother?’”
With excitement, Falana said that that had happened, as he mentioned an encounter he had with some young people in Abuja recently. Hear him: “I was at Abuja airport, some young people came to me and asked, ‘sir, are you Falz’ father?’ and I said, ‘I think so’. They said ‘we know you are’. I replied, ‘if you know, that is alright’”
However, he added that he was surprised that Falz could be doing what he was doing now because he was reclusive and the most shy among his children.
“Folarin was the most shy out of the three of them. We are pleasantly surprised that he has become so wild. Sometimes, I listen to him and can’t believe that the quiet boy who sometimes will lock himself up in the room for about three days, has turned out like this,” he concluded.
Folarin Falana ‘Falz’ Music Career
Femi Falana said of his son Folarin:
“In primary school, he was a member of the school band and I think when he was in secondary school, he also had begun to be playful but we tried to get him to concentrate on his studies. We have three kids-two girls and Folarin, but he was the most reserved. He could be in the house for three days and just be in his room, so I was therefore pleasantly surprised when in the university, he said that he was going to contest elections and he subsequently became the Vice- President of the Afro-Caribbean students at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. That was when I began to notice that he was coming up to be relevant in the society. In fact, he had to address his colleagues one day and was able to combat stage fright and by the time he said he was going into music, I knew that he was okay at that point.”
“The decision to become a musician was entirely his and we try not to impose our views on our children. Our belief is that you need to guide them, give them education, train them to be critically independent and take their decisions because when parents insist and decide to choose careers for their children, it is not always very helpful and it is not the best. Therefore, based on my liberal disposition, I didn’t feel disturbed or worried when he walked up to me one day to say, ‘‘ Dad, I’ve had enough of legal practice.’’ I just said, ‘It’s barely two years, what do you mean?’’ He told me that he was going to follow his own passion-full-time and without any hesitation, I simply wished him success. I was convinced then as I am now that I could not be held liable if he failed. The society would have recognised that I gave him the best education. My wife was however worried which again is natural and told me to try and persuade him otherwise because this guy did very well in university in the United Kingdom, excelled in law school and then he was already trying to become a good lawyer.”
Folarin’s father added: “I listen to all his songs and initially, we had a debate over them and it took him time to be persuaded that he had to sing about social issues in the society. At that time, he was just trying to say, ‘‘Dad, the young people simply want to entertain themselves and I don’t want to waste my time on politics.’’ But I think now, he has seen the need to be relevant, so his songs now reflect that and have enough social content. I like Wehdone Sir, Soldier and quite a number of them. He is now talking about the problems of the society through his songs.”
Falz took up Rap as a hobby towards the end of his secondary school education. Growing up listening to the likes of Nigerian legends Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Trybesmen, Plantashun Boiz, he gradually unravelled his talent in music.
In 2009, Falz strung together his first body of work; SHAKARA the Mixtape which proved to be an introduction of the Falz brand to the public.
He continued to release hit singles like ‘Wazup Guy’ (2011), ‘High Class'(2013) and ‘Currency’ (2013) before officially releasing his debut studio album titled ‘Wazup Guy’ in May 2014. The album features the likes of Olamide, Yemi Alade, Dr Sid and many more.
Falz’ trademark style has been described as a fusion of witty lines and comedic tones on indigenous Nigerian sounds thus setting him in a lane of his own.
Scream Awards 2014 (Best New Act)