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Flohio is Leaving Fear Behind

The South East Londoner is ready to embrace connection and release a flood of new music, thanks (in part) to Big Draco.

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From the moment a friend sent me a link to Flohios’ Colors performance I was hooked. She commanded the mic with the kind of vigour that instantly took me back to 2014, when Little Simz’ dropped ‘Bars Simzson’. Somehow it felt like Flo had even less fucks to give than her OG, and by the time the video for 10 More Rounds came out, I was all in.

We caught up with Flohio mid-way through her debut run of Aussie shows. On set, she was reserved but polite, wrestling with jetlag. She pulled out her phone to show a video of the crowd at Golden Plains holding their boots in the air to her, as is tradition, if they’re particularly impressed with a set. Not one protected foot in the sea of 4,000 punters. Flohio had made her impact on this wellington-wielding audience, and that night in Melbourne I too would have gladly headed home barefoot. Throughout all of this, Flo stays humble and focused. Another day, another boot.

Hey Flo. I wanted to know the sort of kid you were growing up.
I was very playful and I was really curious, but mostly I kept to myself really.

When did you first start to rap?
I found a CD of Eve and I put it in the CD Player and I just fell in love with what I heard. After that, I kept hearing reap music everywhere. It was in my face all of a sudden.

And who were you listening to around that time?
50 Cent and Lil Wayne. Kano was the first UK artist I listened to – brown eyes and stuff like that. Then it was Chipmunk, Ice Kid.

So you were really on the grime thing?
Yeah I was on the grime thing, but also a bunch more American artists, the Bow Wow’s, the B2K’s and other things from that time.

Do you remember the first show you went to?
I went to see Rick Ross, he brought out Tyga. It was when he’d just put out the Teflon Don album. That was my first proper rap show, it was sick!

Who are some of your dream collaborators?
I wanna make track with Tory Lanez, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Little Simz, Chip. I have a list of like seven that I keep telling myself I’m going to make tracks with. Killy is on there, Wondagurl too.

You mention a lot of American rappers. There’s only a few UK Artists who make that crossover, or even try to really. Why do you think that is?
I definitely want to. I think it can be done, I’m not too sure why it doesn’t happen a lot. I guess it’s ‘cause Americans just love to do their own thing. In the UK we’ve always done our own thing too but like you said, it’s happening a little bit, Little Simz has done some stuff with American artists. I guess it’s just down to how hard that artist is grafting and how they make their connections.

On another note, your visuals are always sick, is that something you like to have input with?
Thank you. I have one guy, my director Duncan. We just go back and forth with ideas, we don’t even need to communicate with words we just get the picture. We even know which songs need to have a visual. Sometimes we aren’t even trying to get a message across, we’ll just be like ‘Fuck it’, we’re just going to do it our own way and the outcome is what the outcome is. It’s really interesting being able to learn about the visual side with him. I studied graphic design so visuals are a big thing for me. I don’t know man, we just connect. It’s amazing. It makes the whole process easier, it makes music more fun to create and makes the whole experience more fun.  

I’ve seen you tweet about Big Draco. What about Soulja Boy resonates with you?
[Laughs] Oh my days man! I don’t even tweet that much, I’m trying to get in to the tweeting habit. Well, simply because I grew up listening to Soulja Boy! I remember in school there would be competitions and shit, we’d all be crankin dat. It’s a situation where life moved on you know, but you’d still see something online about him, he’s always had something going on. He’s always been there in the background, he’s never disappeared. Then the Breakfast Club interview happened and you got to see him talk about the graft. He was ahead of his time, the hunger and the vision, the skills he has as an entrepreneur and a young black person. I think it’s sick! I don’t think he’s gotten enough credit, even the artists he’s discovered. He was dropping facts and pulling up receipts for everything like “I’m not talking shit, I really did this.” It just makes me feel like fuck it, you can do anything as well, the energy I was receiving was like “Fuck it man, let’s get it, let’s do it, I can do it, it’s yours for the taking.” That’s what he was doing, like “Fuck all of that, I’m gonna be my own boss.” That’s what I try to embody. I took a lot from that Big Draco ting.

Who are you listening to right now?
A lot of albums dropped recently so I’m listening to Little Simz and Dave, JID, a Canadian artist named Killy I like a lot, Lianne Le Havas. I’ve also been listening to some RnB man.

You’ve got to! Especially when you’re on tour, you need some good chill out music.
[Laughs] That’s it you have to man, you gotta chill out sometimes! That’s all I can think of right now my mind is a bit crazy from the jetlag right now. What have you been listening to?

Give me your Mount Rushmore of rap. Top 4 of all time?
Ok, let me see. Wayne, Kanye… Shit. Andre 3000 and Ghetts.

What are you leaving in 2018? And what can we expect for 2019?
Oh my days man! I think my fears. I’m leaving my fears in 2018 for sure. In 2018 yeah, I saw what I could do. This year all of those fears sayinig “Oh my god, should I drop this song? Should I wait? Is it the right time? What are they going to think?” all of those little thoughts that were in the back of my head, I’ve cast them out. Now it’s like “Fuck it man.” I’m gonna stop holding on to my music like that. Because I used to make tracks and then just chill on them. I don’t know man, thank God for my team and my management ‘cause I make the music, send it to them and then they do the rest of the work! But before it even gets to that stage they’ve gotta hassle me like “send the music, send the music!” Now I’m gonna just be giving them lots of music and just get on my visions. I’m always on the road too, it’s hard to find the balance. I wanted to be on the road but it doesn’t leave much time for recording. I should have brought a mic or something! I can write but I can’t record. I want to put out more shit, be more active on social media. Trying to connect and stay connected. My stage is raw, I’m trying to get some merch out there man—all these little things that you don’t put much thought into at first. Now I see people that support me, I don’t know if I’m still sounding like a fucking rookie [Laughs] I just want to give people more of Flo Flo man.

Maybe some more radio sessions?
That’s the thing you know. I just want to do all of that shit on my channel, I wanna do more freestyle videos all of that.

Thanks so much Flohio, appreciate you!
Thank you man, that was sweet!

Stay up to date with Flohio here and listen to her EP ‘Wild Yout’ here

Photography Wilhelm Philipp
Styling Maia Pookie
Makeup Artist Tallulah Mclean

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