Every once in awhile, an artist comes along that defies preconceptions. So often these days, music is marketed visually – you know the genre, the sound, and the style before the first beat even drops. But then, there’s Macy Gray. There’s Lamya. There’s India Arie. The whole idea of what you see and what you hear spins on its head. L.A.-based soul singer Flo is very much one of those artists. She is rebellious, sophisticated, and totally unpredictable. At a chance meeting at The Songwriting School of Los Angeles, Luxe caught up with the stunning songstress to find out who she is and what inspires her.
How would you describe your sound as an artist?
A fusion of soul and pop.
How did you get started in the industry?
Music is always something that I loved and I wasn’t truly fulfilled or authentic to myself until I came to the realization that I had to pursue it. I started testing things out–going for vocal coaching, open mics, trying out for music competitions–just to see what complete strangers would say. Just to see if what I had was strong enough to stand for a career versus doing it as a hobby. So it was my first voice teacher who believed in me and connected me with music contacts she knew in my hometown city She also encouraged me to audition as much as possible and get myself out there. It’s one of those contacts to whom she introduced me who really took me under his wing and started introducing me to more people in the music industry and guiding me as per things I should start to learn and do. He introduced me to my first producer [and] connected me with the first band I performed with. It was like the butterfly effect and things continued on from there.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Oh my goodness, do you have like 2 hours? I can create a long, exhaustive list that can go on for DAYS, but here are a few (maybe more than a few): Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monae, Emeli Sande, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Brandy…
What’s your preference – the studio or performing live?
My first love was the studio. You could lock me in a studio for hours, even days, just as long as I have washroom breaks, and meals to eat, I’m good. I love it, there’s something magical about recording, then I came to love performing just as much.
You’re originally from Canada. Talk about the music scene up there compared to what you’ve experienced in the States.
The music scene in Canada and the U.S. are very similar, if not feel the same. The only major difference is that for my genre music, I felt I’d have slightly more opportunities if I came to L.A. But overall the music scenes in both countries are very identical.
Talk about a moment you feel was a career highlight.
There are a couple of moments so far, but I’ll pick two that come to mind. One was the surprise of winning an award that I didn’t expect–and not that awards are the most important things in the world, but it’s encouraging and lets you know that not only is what you’re doing appreciated, you’re definitely on the right track. We as humans have all dealt with doubt at some time in our lives, so things that serve to affirm us definitely help and are by far a sweet treat. Another one was getting a chance to perform in an arena that was on my bucket list. It was just as good, if not better than what I had imagined and envisioned; and there’s something so special about manifesting the goals you write down, that you dream of and aspire to accomplish.
What’s been one of your biggest challenges?
The “how” in my journey – knowing exactly what I want but struggling with how big this vision at times can seem. [Also] the ambiguity. There’s certain career paths that are so straightforward, where everything’s mapped out for you–not so with this. It really is an adventure, or some can say a roller coaster ride at times. But all in all, the passion, doing what you love, and the incredible results make it really all worth it (the good times are 100% worth the challenges!).
What kind of message do you want to convey through your music?
I want to create music that’s filled with inspiration, positivity, truth, and empowerment. Music that also speaks of life experiences, joys, heartbreaks, doubts, victory. Music that touches and pierces people’s hearts, mind, and souls. Timeless quality music that breaks past barriers: genres, age, beliefs, sex (that a 4 little girl or an 80 year old man can jam to).
Define what “making it” means to you.
Living out my dream–to be able to do, to experience all the things I have written down on my bucket list–where being a full-time artist allows me to be financially independent and to give back to family and friends, and find ways to help others in need (to use music as a platform to be able to do humanitarian and philanthropic work also).
What are you up to next?
Completing the songwriting and moving onto the production phase of my next album.
Visit Flo’s Official Site: www.flosoul.com
Follow Flo on Instagram @FloSoul
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