Cruising: A conversation with Derin Falana about finally being able to focus on music full-time
Brampton, ON – Earlier this week, Brampton artist Derin Falana released a brand new single and video titled “Cruising” to mark a very important turning point in his life.
Recently Derin found himself in a position where he was working the inevitable day job to make ends meet, while trying to forge ahead with his rap career. Ultimately, Derin knew he’d eventually have to quit his job for the music, but he didn’t know when the right time to do that would be.
Following the release of Live From Rocky Mountain and a trip to New York, Derin got an email from his company that said they would be closing down; which meant that the universe fortuitously put Derin in a position where he got to leave his day job. He hasn’t picked up another day job since, and has been able to make a living by doing music full-time.
“Cruising” serves as a marker of that milestone, and as a celebratory interlude in Derin’s grind. Enlisting the help of Po and Jordon Manswell on the production, and fellow Brampton singer Aiona on the vocals, Derin delivers this track as a marker of new beginnings, and a celebration of achievements.
Check out “Cruising” below, peep the RACK AND PINION directed video for the song after the jump, and check out our in-depth conversation with Derin about making it to this point, defining success, and (potentially) gearing up to leave Brampton.
Q&A: Derin Falana
“I think the success associated with this song was finally being able to do what I love full-time.”
– Derin Falana
HipHopCanada: Start off by telling me the story behind this track, and what the song means to you on a personal level.
Derin Falana: So basically… I used to work this job that I was sticking with because I needed the money at the time. The music started to pick up and the two started to conflict so it was either quit and take the risk or continue working, lose out on opportunity but be more financially secure. I wanted to quit no matter what. I was waiting for the “right time”. A few hours before a shift I got an email from the place saying that unfortunately it had to close down, which meant I was now unemployed. This happened a week or two after my New York trip and the release of LFRM. I spent so much time worrying about when I was supposed to quit and the universe ended up doing it for me. So that’s kind of how “Cruising” came about. It’s definitely another turning point in my life. I haven’t worked a job since and I’ve gotten the music to a point where I’m on cruise-control in the right direction. All I have to do now is continue to work hard, focus, stay humble and it’ll only be a matter of time before I reach my goals.
HipHopCanada: Talk to be about your vision for the accompanying video. There’s a very minimal aesthetic to it.
Derin Falana: The visuals were done by RACK AND PINION, a creative group based out of Toronto. Super talented group of individuals. Collaborating with them on this was a great experience. The idea behind the video was to sort of create a moody, contemplative feel and depict the allure of New York; but stay true to my identity and my city. It was a simple video but it wasn’t a boring simple. It was an artistic simple and it fit with everything perfectly.
HipHopCanada: I feel like the simplistic video so perfectly coincides with the message behind the track. You’ve had a very humble come up and you’re someone I’ve always admired in that you don’t try to be extra or fancy. The reason you’ve reached “Cruising” status is because you’ve always kept things simple; it’s always just been about the music.
Derin Falana: It’s definitely always just been about the music and it will stay that way. I think there’s a time to be extra and fancy and a time to be simple and straight-to-the-point. So far being simple and staying true is what’s worked for me. So that’s what I’ve continued to do.
HipHopCanada: Who is Aiona and how did that collaboration come about?
Derin Falana: Po actually set that up. He sent me one of her records and I thought it was dope so we reached out, sent the record over and she sent it back same day. Shout-out to her! She killed it. Gave the record another layer and on top of that she’s from Brampton, too!
HipHopCanada: I feel like so many guys come into the rap game with this idea of success as being “X amount of money”, or “getting signed to a major label”, or whatever. The vibe I get off this song is that you’ve found your success (or you’re starting to, at least). How would you define success for yourself?
Derin Falana: I think the success associated with this song was finally being able to do what I love full-time. People tend to fall into these “Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do” situations and I feel like now I’m doing what I want to do. Success to me just means achieving my goals whether small or big. Ultimately we work up to the bigger ones but the smaller ones are stepping stones.
HipHopCanada: One thing I found really interesting is that line where you say you’re too big for your city. I know you been repping Brampton since day one… But I have to agree with you that I think you’re at a point where you’re too big for B-Town, and probably Toronto, too.
Derin Falana: The saying “big fish in a small pond” represents that line best. Being here [in Brampton] sometimes makes me feel like a bird in a cage. And I can’t be contained anymore. I want the world to be able to appreciate my music. It’s almost time to relocate.
HipHopCanada: I think I have to agree. On a final note, though … even though “Cruising” is a nice place to be, I feel like it’s easy to get complacent while cruising. What’s the next level you’re aspiring to take yourself to?
Derin Falana: Into the wild!