Hailing from the shores of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada, Famba, née Ryan Pettipas, is one of the country’s fastest-rising electronic artists. After first bursting onto the scene in 2016 and making his mark in the local music community, the buzzing producer/DJ has since graduated to the big leagues via his major label original releases and widespread remixes, which have collectively garnered tens of millions of streams across multiple platforms.
These days, Famba is undoubtedly one of the premier electronic talents in Nova Scotia, a smaller region of the country that has birthed influential artists like singer-songwriters Sarah McLachlan and Feist. Famba, who grew up in the countryside of Halifax, will be the first to tell you about the slow pace in his hometown. “You definitely have to create your own forms of entertainment here,” he laughs.
Much like most youngsters from small cities, Famba developed his passion for music via both traditional means—he’s a self-taught guitarist and drummer—and digital discovery. After his father introduced him to Canadian electronic giant deadmau5, Famba traded the head banging noise of metal, grunge and progressive rock for the neon-lit sounds of EDM artists like Tiësto, Paul Oakenfold, Pendulum and Zedd. It was after he attended his first-ever music festival, however, that Famba dedicated his career and life to the dance floor. “After going to the electronic stage, I realized almost instantly that this is something I had to be involved in. As soon as I got home, I started playing with production software and getting involved in the local EDM community,” he says.
In his early stages, Famba dabbled in underground techno productions. After working alongside producer/DJ/songwriter Corey LeRue from the Halifax band Neon Dreams, Famba came to discover his love for pop music. “At one point, I just thought to myself, ‘What if I combine electronic and pop together and see what happens?’ I wanted to see if I could fuse the two sounds halfway in perfect unison.”
Today, Famba has cultivated a unique style: a perfectly crafted fusion of body-moving electronic and catchy, dreamy pop with a bit of alternative edge. That curated combination has come to define his sonic identity, which clearly shines through on his breakout track “Vibe.” Released in May 2017 on Epic Oslo (Sony Music Norway), and in collaboration with Frank Pierce, “Vibe” is an electronic pop heater fueled by dancehall-tinged island vibes, groovy melodies and dazzling vocals from Emily Bonabon. As his biggest track to date and the one that launched Famba atop the dance music realm, “Vibe” counts more than 27 million streams collectively. “That song changed my life,” Famba says today of the track. “It launched my entire career.”
Famba followed the massive momentum with “Space” (Epic Oslo), a beautifully melodic and introspectively deep love song featuring singer-songwriters and real-life couple Toito and Karli, who deliver a burning vocal duet and heartfelt lyrics. Elsewhere, “Not Giving Up,” released August 2018 on SOURCE, features winsome acoustic guitars over an uplifting deep house framework.
His newest track, “Wish You Well,” out now via Sony Music Canada, takes things to the next level. A collaboration with Lucky Rose, “Wish You Well” is a liberating breakup song soundtracked by soft synth melodies that quickly crescendo into a fiery chorus of striking horns while Australian vocalist Trove belts out honest lyrics about unrequited love. For Famba, the track represents the major progress he’s made as a producer and artist since his breakthrough year in 2017 and gives a glimpse into his future sounds.
“When I listen to ‘Wish You Well,’ I hear a much more polished and robust sound, even compared to what I was making just a year ago,” says Famba. “It feels like a personal progress record for me.”
Outside of his original music, Famba has also remixed fellow newcomers Tyler Shaw (“Cautious,” Sony Music Canada), Mahalo (“Be My Love,” KNGP) and Saint WKND (“Survive,” Sony UK). He’s also shared the stage with electronic heavyweights like Felix Cartal, Grandtheft, and many others, in addition to gaining ongoing support from tastemaker blogs, music channels and media outlets like Chill Nation, The Vibe Guide and Aux London.
Despite his skyrocketing rise and blossoming profile, Famba remains the down-to-earth, humble guy who’s in it for all the right reasons. Chalk that up to good, ol’-fashioned Canadian nice-guy manners.
“I’m just a guy from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m not too over the top,” Famba says. “This is what I love. I’m not trying to be anything that I’m not. I’m a relatable, normal person with a passion for music. I hope I can connect with people who share that same passion through my music.”
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iHeartRadio Future Star
Every month, iHeartRadio picks a new Future Star to highlight across iHeartRadio stations nationwide – a way to acknowledge young Canadian talent on the rise.