In The Middle with Flo Morrissey
Paris, poetry and yoga; Flo Morrissey seems far more mature than your average 20-year old, sixth-form dropout. When she started putting up self-made videos of her music online at the tender age of fourteen, little did she realise that this would be the start of her music career.
Flo explains how she was scouted by her managers from a repost on a Japanese blog. “The internet is really powerful. I’ve been lucky. it’s definitely helped me out”. It’s clear that she cuts through the obscene amount of teen selfie music videos desperately posted online. She offers something natural, with a quality far outweighing social media’s restrictions and self important fads.
Always knowing that she wanted to be a performer, Morrissey decided to skip out on further education. “I dropped out as I wanted to be doing it in the real world”. When asked if she feels that she’s missed out, she seemed not to be phased at all. Having been exposed to the business side by choosing to carve out the career for herself, she’s taken the independent route in her stride. Fresh into her twenties, it’s clear that she’s been steadily refining her artistic process for a few years already. “I find that it’s not like a job, but you have to see it in that way sometimes rather than the novelty of when you first started.”
Learning guitar and piano in order to accompany herself, Flo reminisced about a time where the novelty of instruments would make everything sound good. Instead, she now looks to other sources of inspiration in the ordinary things. Not relationships, breakups or such clichés you might expect, but family, poetry and art are the stimuli for her creativity. “I start with a line or title that I like and then go from there. Sometimes it will come together really quickly, but other times it’s a harder thing to actually work at.”
When talking about her musical influences, she has clear assurance in her own unique sound, illustrating that “guitar playing myself is more inspiring than listening to someone else and copying them”. But by being immersed from an early age in the likes of Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan who have paved a way to the foundations of her music, you can clearly hear the effects these greats have had in her effortlessly timeless sound. “You can get pigeon holed into a genre or group of people and I think for me I have a more timeless vision of music”. She rotates listening to older artists with newer influences too; currently James Blake, Tobias Jesso Jr and French/Cuban duo Ibeyi, all delivering a common thread in a vocal-centred, intimate sound, despite spanning across multiple genres.
Flo admits that she hasn’t done many live shows before now, where she is currently embarking on her first tour supporting folk trio The Staves around the UK. Heading into the second night of the tour, she is already learning a lot from the band. “Seeing The Staves play is inspiring, how they’ve mastered their craft. I was hearing them do all their vocal exercises and I realised I don’t do that. I’m more into yoga and meditation.”
Feeling privileged to be alongside such supportive musicians, Morrissey is embracing the touring roller-coaster; “they’ve got a tour van, but I don’t fit in it. So I’ve been getting the train, but that’s been quite good because I get to see a bit of England.” Despite being born and raised in London, Flo describes herself as feeling “more European” having played more shows abroad than in this country. She spent two and a half months recording in LA and graced the stages of SXSW last year; “I would play but then I couldn’t get into anything as you had to be over 21.” But her fondest memory is in Paris where she has already played a couple of intimate festivals and spontaneous performances. “I’ve always had an adoration for Paris. I learned French from a young age. I’m still not fluent!”
In terms of what lies ahead for Flo Morrissey, it is refreshing to see such a carefree attitude. Whilst currently just a solo performer, she alludes to finding musicians to accompany her.“I’m one of nine children. I might one day bring them as backing singers. My brother could do an introduction in Arabic, and my little brother plays trumpet so he could do an outro!” For such a young artist, it is unbelievably refreshing to see a playful yet mature approach so seamlessly combined. Her timeless sound resonates with an enchanting tone, and mellow songs delivered in such a humble way that you cannot help but be fixated on her voice.
Her forthcoming album is due out in Spring this year, and after The Staves tour, festival season quickly approaches for Flo (kicking off with Live at Leeds in the beginning of May). Flo Morrissey is an artist we should be proud of, and the music she delivers is testament to such inspirational attitude.
photos: tinyatlasquarterly.com, farm9.staticflickr.com, artandseek.net