Back in the day, genres were something that you just did not cross or blend. Hip hop was hip hop, rock was rock, pop was pop, and so forth, and so on, but then came the ‘90s and all bets were off. Garth Brooks stepped into view and soon enough people who never thought they’d love country music were fans, and soon after the likes of Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and Taylor Swift were crossover successes. Now, artists like Flo on helping usher in a new generation of country-pop. We talked to Flo about her latest single, “In My Mind,” her international influences, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: Do you feel you would have found your way to music eventually even if you’d never joined a choir when you were younger?
Flo: Absolutely! I grew up in an incredibly musical family. Which meant I was dancing before I could walk and I was humming melodies before I could talk. My parents are very passionate about music, so it has filled our home my whole life. That is part of the reason I love music so much; because it has played such an important role throughout all of the stages of my life. That is all to say yes, I believe I would’ve discovered my love for singing and writing one way or another. In my case, I think falling in love with music was pretty inevitable.
Kendra: A handful of years after that your family relocated to Singapore. Were you nervous that your newly found craft was going to get lost in the move?
Flo: On the contrary, music is what kept me grounded and made me feel comfortable about the move. It also made it exciting as I got to learn new styles of music and collaborate with musicians from around the world. I always believed music would be the reason I made new friends, and that it would be my way of learning more about the culture of the new country I was living in. So instead of worrying about my craft getting lost with so many moves, I let it guide me. It was and always will be my compass. What a great question!
Kendra: Which, speaking of the move – you’ve lived in several places and are still in between Nashville and Miami. What is one aspect of each place you’ve called home that you carry with you always like are you always thinking back on the food, the nature, the music scene – what?
Flo: I absolutely love that I’ve been able to live in so many different cities and countries. It’s offered new and different perspectives on everything! It’s helped me view life in different ways, which is really inspiring in terms of songwriting. It is part of the reason I love traveling so much! When it comes to Singapore, I always remember the food – specifically the dumplings at Din Tai Fung. Also the fashion! When it comes to Canada, I miss my best friend there the most and of course, I think back on maple syrup and beaver tails. Chile is where my family is so I miss my grandma, who lives there currently, the most. Miami is easy, I carry Latin music with me and I always think of the dancing there! And finally, what I most adore about Nashville is the love for storytelling and good music.
Kendra: How do you feel being so worldly has helped shape your artistry?
Flo: Having grown up in different places around the world has really helped shape me as a songwriter. I’ve been able to listen to so many different musical styles and genres. So of course it’s inspired me tremendously.
Kendra: Nashville really left a huge imprint on your heart and continues to do so, which is why you’ve said “In My Mind” is so special to you. Where in Nashville would you say the overall tone of this song represents?
Flo: I think this song represents the heart of storytelling that can be found in Nashville.
Kendra: Listening to “Talking to Myself” and then to “In My Mind,” you can hear so much growth in your performance. Are you someone who trains your voice the same way an athlete trains their body?
Flo: One hundred percent. To me practice is everything. I train my voice five times a week, and the only reason I don’t train seven times a week is because of the importance of rest days. I think discipline is crucial to growth. And that way when you’re on stage, you don’t have to worry about getting things right. Because after so much practice it usually happens naturally. Which allows you to enjoy the moment and the feeling.
Kendra: Well, “In My Mind” is just the tip of the iceberg because you have an EP that’s coming out. When can we expect that to drop and what would you say inspired the majority of the album?
Flo: Yes! I’m so excited about it coming out! Whenever we have a date you’ll be the first to know. My songs are usually inspired by events that happen in my life. And the songs in the EP are no exception!
Kendra: Your style sits right on the fence of country and pop. Which isn’t a bad thing as we’ve seen with everyone from Shania to Taylor. Are these some of the country-pop artists you’ve listened to and admired?
Flo: Oh absolutely! I adore Taylor and Shania. I adore Carrie and I adore Kelsea Ballerini. I think these country-pop artists are amazing! I love pop, and I love country.
Kendra: Again, you’re between Miami and Nashville at the moment, but are you thinking of relocating for the music to Tennessee permanently?
Flo: Perhaps! But even if I did relocate to Nashville I would be traveling back to Miami very frequently. Some of my favorite people to collaborate and write with are in Miami. So I couldn’t be away from it for too long.
Kendra: Lastly, it’s getting a little easier with the vaccine rollouts, but it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Flo: Yes, it’s definitely difficult to have a definite answer, but writing new music is always in my plans. I’ve been writing some of my favorite songs lately and I love where my music is headed, so I can’t wait to share that. And I love performing with my whole heart so hoping my plans to be on stage soon become a reality!