If all you knew about Fana Hues was that she grew up playing in a band with her mother and father, was a part of a musical theater group, took violin and guitar lessons, and has been writing music since before she was old enough to drive, you would think was born to do this music shit.
The truth is, she was. She’s a natural.
But for someone so young, gifted, knowledgeable and experienced, one might think, “She has nothing to learn, she knows it all.” But if you speak to Fana herself, she’ll tell you, she has a lot to learn.
Born Fana Hughes, Fana is from Pasadena, California, where she was raised in a household of musically and rhythmically talented people.
“The reason that my music is so musical is because of the way that I grew up,” said Fana. “There are bridges, an A section and a B section. The reason I have all of those things is because I was in music classes and musical theater and why I lean towards having multi-instrumentalists make my music rather than having someone who is just making beats.”
With Fana, it’s always a family affair when she’s creating sounds. From a young age, her dad, Tehuti Hughes, taught her how to sing. Even when she wasn’t in lessons with her father, she was singing around the house with her siblings.
Now in all of Fana’s music videos, her sisters are right there dancing with her.
“I’m still being shaped and molded by my family currently, even though I’m grown,” said Fana.
Her family also had a big impact on her love of nature. Just take a look at the album covers for Hues and flora + fana. On the latter, she’s in a land of grass holding a pile of fruits and vegetables. In the former, she’s in a fishbowl of flowers, butterflies, water and rainbows.
The natural is always in nature.
“Growing up we were always outside,” said Fana. “It’s just natural for me. Growing up we never flew anywhere tropical. We would go on vacations specifically to hike. We went to Arizona, Utah and New Mexico just to hike. My family instilled such a huge appreciation for nature that it’s just subconscious for me.”
For all of Fana’s music videos, minus “BAD bad” and “Pieces,” she writes the treatment. So if she’s in nature, best believe it was Fana who put herself there.
Despite the huge influence from her family, Fana is still her own woman. She has the uncanny ability to let her essence pour through the music.
When asked to describe her music, Fana said, “My sound is retro-futurism. I pull a lot from the 60s, as far as the instruments that I use in my production. But with my voice, I use a lot of 90s-inspired techniques. But, the drums and lyrics I use make it current. I want to marry the two worlds (of retro and futuristic) and make it something new.”
Sounds like an artist that has it all together right? But for Fana, she’s always picking up on things from people who have more experience in this game of life and music, especially Black women.
“Black women have given me the best advice. I love talking to older Black women,” said Fana. “You know when people get older and they have so much to give. They are always dropping gems. Making a lesson out of everything. But I pick that shit up.”
One older Black woman told Fana, “Life is a series of adjustments.”
This especially rings true for Fana as she is going through some huge adjustments in her life right now. Last year, Fana was on one of the best albums of 2021 from one of the most popular artists, Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy award-winning album Call Me If You Get Lost.
Fana was featured on the beautiful two-part song, “SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE.”
With that one feature, Fana’s profile has risen. While people took notice of her on the 2020 album Hues, there were expectations and a larger audience for her 2022 album flora + fana.
“With Hues, I didn’t know if anyone was even going to listen to it. I just wanted to make something that I wanted to hear,” said Fana. “In the beginning stages of flora + fana, I caught myself almost making something I knew other people would want to hear. I had to go back to making music that I want to hear.”
Just listen to flora + fana and you can tell, it worked.
Fana is a talented singer whose voice you can get lost in. She’s angelic on songs like “Wild Horses,” soulful on songs like “wait,” and expressive on songs like “Bad bad.”
Despite her wonderful talents, Fana is not staying complacent and is always willing to be taught. She’s constantly learning and adjusting. This makes for an improving artist that gets better every time you press play on one of her albums.
So if you’re wondering if you should listen to Fana, “don’t wait up.”