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Flo is an artist who delivers music with soul and substance. With live performances that have been described as ‘incendiary’ (Winnipeg Free Press, May 2011), Flo has graced the stage with artists such as: Devine Brown, Lauryn Hill, and Boys II Men, among others.
Born to Nigerian parents and raised in a multi-cultural neighborhood in Winnipeg, Canada, Flo knew that music was her future and was drawn to it at an early age.
Flo’s journey as a solo artist began with the release of her debut album “Flo”. The Winnipeg Free Press proclaimed “she’s definitely an urban soul artist to watch”, giving the album 4 out of 5 stars. The Winnipeg Sun wrote “the record is dripping with confidence”. In May 2011, Flo was the subject of an in-depth profile in Sandbox magazine.
If her first album “Flo” marked a confident beginning for this gifted young artist, then her sophomore release, “Pieces of me” crowned 2012 Urban Album of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, sets her on an upward trajectory to prominence. Flo describes this new album as up-beat and more adventurous than its predecessor. Pieces of me is composed of songs that are a pop-soul fusion with elements of R&B, dance and hip-hop. The material reflects her evolution as an artist. Songs like “Tell me why”, “Lullaby”, and “Hateless” touch on her deeper exploration into the human experience. “Ten” is a disco-tinged anthem to self-empowerment.
Flo is passion in living form, and she travels into realms of soul that some artists never tap into, and this is only the beginning…
“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Nelson Mandela
Pieces of me, the second (and recently Western Canadian Music Award winning) album from soul/pop powerhouse Flo, couldn’t be more aptly named. Like the woman behind it, the new record is positive, encouraging, upbeat, strong and beautiful – and reminds you that you are too. Produced by WCMA winner Arun Chaturvedi, Pieces of Me comes as the decidedly more up-tempo follow-up to 2007’s self-titled debut. “Personally, I really wanted (this record) to be more upbeat,” explains Flo “…I wanted songs people could dance to.” That said, Flo wasn’t interested in making songs that people could dance to at the expense of quality lyrics. “I believe music is powerful,” she says. “I love hearing songs that have great production but, beyond that, I love hearing lyrics that touch your soul. I think of songs like Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’ or Pink’s ‘Less than perfect’ – or even Katy Perry’s Firework. It lifts you up. I wanted songs that could lift people up – that would motivate them. If I’m going to write a catchy song, I want good lyrics to be sticking to your brain.” Whether it’s the anti-bully anthem Hateless or the inspiring Butterfly, Flo’s message is indeed uplifting, but not relentlessly so; heartache and loss are also dealt with in a personal, honest way. It’s little wonder then, that Flo has earned a faithful following of young fans who have been profoundly touched by her music. As for being a role mode, “…bring it on” she says…”I respect artists that are real…For me, when you choose a certain path in life, you need to look at what comes with it. And for me, it would be a huge, crazy huge honor to have kids look up to me. The fact is, kids listen to Top 40 music – but not all of it is OK for your four- or six-year-old to be singing. I want to have music that’s OK for two-, four-, 10-year-olds to be singing. I’ve had some kids approach me through Facebook and Twitter and say they look up to me and, when that happens – Oh! Be still my heart.” When Flo was grade-school age, she was treating a supportive audience of stuffed animals to renditions of Whitney Houston songs (sung into a toothbrush microphone). She and her two sisters – “I was the salami in the sandwich” she jokes – were all little songbirds, belting out pop hits in the back of the family car. “Any one of us could have pursued it, but the music bug really bit me. I’m sure I drove my friends and family crazy – I sang all the time.” …Despite being active in choir and possessing a massive, soul-stirring voice, Flo was a “closet singer;” it was a guarded talent she only shared with close friends and family…Ultimately, Flo… dusted off her dreams…The rest is history. Flo has two full-length albums under her belt, as well as high-profile opening gigs for Devine Brown, Boyz II Men and yes, even her idol Lauryn Hill. “…that was beyond a dream come true,” she says…”Dreams really do come true.”
Flo works well with others. The R&B singer shows this on her sophomore album, Pieces of Me, which was a collaborative effort…There’s a ton of teamwork on Peices of Me, but there’s no doubt that this is Flo’s album. Take the song Butterfly. with its caterpillar/cocoon imagery and this-is-your moment message…”I feel like I’m just starting to get out of that cocoon. In any endeavour realizing your dreams is a risk and it can be scary but you have to shed that cocoon and just fly.”
It’s been five years since Winnipeg pop/R&B songstress Flo released her self-titled debut, but the girl hasn’t been sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Opening for the likes of Lauryn Hill, recording with Western Canadian Music Award-winning producer Arun Chaturvedi, and writing up a storm, Flo’s sophomore disc, Pieces of Me is the culmination of a lot of positive things…All 14 tracks are definetly uplifting, giving the listener an hour of music that makes them dance but also makes them think. “Obviously there’s fun songs, everyone needs a fun song,” Flo says. “I want my music to make a difference. It’s great if people can move and dance to it – bonus – but I want for there to be meaning behind that. When you listen to epic songwriters like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or Lauryn Hill…there’s meaning behind their songs. It’s the full package.” The substance of songs and being able to have a positive impact on listeners means a lot to Flo “I’ve had kids tell me…’I have a hard time with stuff and if I play your song[s], I can look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I really am beautiful.”
For her second full length album, Winnipeg-based urban singer-songwriter Flo has created nothing less than an exceptionally hot set of tracks that, in a just world, would send her to the very top of the overly crowded genre. Miss O, Flo as she goes, has the kind of vocal power and sass that only a select few divas possess, and her ability to shift gears from intense ballads to sticky and sweet dance tunes and back to between-the-sheets scorchers is the stuff of future legends. Heck, with the right combination of luck and timing, this gal could hit the big time. By teaming up with well-positioned producer Arun Chaturvedi, Flo has practically sealed the deal toward larger recognition. Fans of this kind of music will have their favorite tracks, but anyone with ears will get the popping joy behind My Song and the delicious old-school soul vibe of the sensuous You Showed Me. Sophomore slump? Not this time. 4 out of 5 stars
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
If you’re not familiar with Flo — aka Florence Oramasionwu, the prairie-born R&B diva whose debut disc dropped last weekend — you will be soon. The album, a collabo between Flo and a smorg of local writers, is an assured, come-from-nowhere success, buoyed not only by the singer’s velvety alto, but also her willingness to wade into diverse musical tributaries like boho-jazz (Tired), moody piano-pop (Who Am I), and stirring neo-soul (There is Only You, the dead-sexy All Alone With You). Flo’s delivery is dripping with confidence, and since she wisely avoids vocal histrionics, comparisons to contemporaries like Alicia Keys, Angie Stone and Lauryn Hill are pretty much inevitable. But they’re also unnecessary. Flo’s vision and talent are hers alone, and the disc stands on its own.