INTERVIEW with emerging indie-alternative singer-songwriter FRANKIE FLOWERS

Frankie Flowers is an emerging indie/alternative artist, singer, and songwriter originating from Ontario, Canada. The talented musician is poised to make waves in the scene with her unparalleled sound and style. Through her atmospheric, powerful, and genre-bending vocal performances, Frankie Flowers radiates raw emotion via cathartic instrumentation. Inspired by her life experiences, Frankie Flowers strives to push the envelope with her sound and bridge various elements from different genres to make a well-rounded, dynamic style. Frankie seeks to create music that will emotionally release her mind, and ultimately that of her audience. Frankie Flowers will have listeners engulfed in the musical world she creates with her unique ear-gracing voice and powerful style. Frankie Flowers is an artist to watch as she is set to cement herself in the music industry for years to come.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started making music seriously?

Frankie Flowers: I’m from a city just outside of Toronto, Canada called Waterloo (I say an hour outside of Toronto because no one knows where Waterloo is haha). Ever since I was a kid I had always been intrigued by music, in every capacity. I originally wanted to get into electronic music production, my goal was to be a festival DJ, and so I decided to take some production classes alongside a course that taught me how to spin on vinyl. I left those classes having met a ton of super cool people, but realized that wasn’t the genre I wanted to produce music in. I met this guy, Steve, in one of those classes that turned to me one day and said, “YO, let’s make a band” and I initially thought he was crazy, I couldn’t imagine using my voice as my main instrument. Anyhow, we gave it a shot, and the band didn’t work out, at the same time I ended up going through a pretty shitty breakup… all I wanted to do was stare at my ceiling and eat instant ramen for the next month, I was feeling real lousy. I remember one day waking up and thinking, “OK, I need to get a grip”, so I went into my garage, picked up my guitar, and starting screaming whatever lyrics came to my mind in that moment. I felt almost instantly better. Amongst all the immense pain I was feeling, the sweet release I felt from singing that day sparked a curiosity in me to start singing and posting videos online. People were super receptive to the videos and it made me think that it was worth a shot to start pursuing it more… really, if the guy from my production class (Steve) hadn’t pushed me to use my voice to begin with, I maybe never would’ve. So, although electronic music production didn’t end up being what I wanted to do long-term, it’s all just a domino effect – everything happens for a reason.

  1. Do you handle both the songwriting and the instrumental in your songs, or do you collaborate with others?

Frankie Flowers: Songwriting’s the easiest part for me; I’ve got tons of poetry I’ve written stored in the archives so sometimes I pull from that – otherwise I just write about the things I’m experiencing in any given moment. I collaborate with a producer based in Brooklyn for my instrumentals – I throw my ideas at him and he brings them to fruition, he gets my vision so it’s a pretty seamless process.

  1. Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember, and who are you listening to right now?

Frankie Flowers: Oh wow, this one’s tough because I have so many artists across so many genres that I could list here. I’ve always been super influenced by post-punk and new-wave… so bands like The Smiths, Joy Division, and The Cure have been my biggest influences in that sense. Some modern artists I’ve been digging lately are KennyHoopla (I think this guys a genius), Girl in Red, Dua Saleh, King Krule, The Neighborhood and Jean Dawson to name a handful.

  1. What genre would you define yourself as?

Frankie Flowers: I don’t really try to stick to any one genre; it would feel super limiting to me and wouldn’t give me enough room to grow as an artist. I pretty much just like making whatever I feel like making in each moment.

      5 . For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?

Frankie Flowers: Man, this has been the hardest part so far. There are so many dope artists doing SO many unique things, that it’s super easy to say, “Oh yeah, I wanna make something that sounds like THAT” – but then you realize that the best thing you can do is just be you (as corny as that sounds). I don’t have a desire to sound like anyone else, I find when I focus too much on emulating a sound from an artist that I like it starts to feel inauthentic and I get way too caught up in it. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I can really dig what someone else is doing, without trying to recreate it – and this is how I’ll ultimately find my own sound.

  1. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?

Frankie Flowers: I would say I definitely try to affront many different themes within my music. As an LGBTQ+ artist, I find it super empowering writing lyrics having to do with the struggles I’ve had to undergo having to do with my sexuality. I grew up in a pretty religious household, so I had many ideals placed upon me of what was “right” and “wrong”… So many people have to repress their sexuality because of their religion/cultural norms so I know that by writing about that sort of thing there will be tons of people who can relate and hopefully feel a little bit more understood.

  1. Do you write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will empathize and vibe with your sound?

Frankie Flowers: I try not to think about whether or not people will like what I make. The way I see it is… no matter how much I like what I make there are always gonna be thousands of people that hate it. Taste is so subjective; you can’t take things personally if people don’t vibe with your stuff. If I like the way something sounds, I just think, “Ok well if I like this then there’s got to be at least one other person that would too, right?”, and that’s really it.

  1. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, a melody or a narrative in your head?

Frankie Flowers: Usually I just go about my day and whenever a lyric pops into my brain I write it down as a note in my phone. I let these compile over time until I have an entire collection of lyrics that I can form into a song. I then reach out to my producer and tell him the vibe I’m going for, provide him with tons of references and we start building the track from the ground up. After that I usually sing over the instrumental a bunch of times in my garage to make sure I like how it sounds, and then I hit up my mixing engineer. We record the vocals and then I send it off to be mastered, that’s pretty much it!

  1. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or career so far, and how did you overcome that experience?

Frankie Flowers: The most difficult thing I’ve had to endure was coming to the realization that you can’t always count on others in the way that you might think you can. People will let you down, and it’s important you don’t let that throw you off track. I’ve learned that as much as I love collaborating, you need to expect the unexpected and things may not always go as smoothly as you’d hope – it’s all a part of the process.

  1. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?

Frankie Flowers: I would say reaching over 5,000 listeners on Spotify the other day was a big one; it’s pretty hard getting people to listen to your stuff initially. Other than that, I had a local radio station play some of my tunes on air the other week which was also pretty dope. Forming my first band with the help of a local production company was something I never thought I’d get the chance to do, so the whole process of this has also been insanely cool to me. To name one more, shooting my first music video for my song, “KISS ME LIKE THE WORLD IS ENDING” was also a huge milestone, as I really wanted to go all-out concept wise + visually, and it all came together!

  1. What are your goals for the upcoming year regarding music?

Frankie Flowers: I’ll be releasing my EP in March, “FRANKIE FLOWERS: SPACE COWGIRL” so that’s a big one. To follow that will be a release show, which will also be my first live show so I’m super stoked for that! I’ll also be coming out with a merch line so it’ll be dope to get that rolling also.

  1. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you feel everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?

Frankie Flowers: Hey, like I said music is subjective. My songs can be whatever you’d like them to be for you. I do however pour a lot of symbolism into my lyrics so if people are down to try to decipher the hidden meanings behind my songs I’m also into that too!

  1. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much as you put into it, or are you expecting or aspiring to something more, or different in some way?

Frankie Flowers:  It’s giving me everything that I need it to – a release. Having music as an outlet has been such a sweet healing experience, any hardships I endure I simply write about them, turn them into a song and release it out into the world. However, I’m always striving to do more; I plan on taking this in so many different directions and trying to grow it into something huge, I’m super stoked to grow as an artist and see where I end up.

  1. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?

Frankie Flowers: I haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on online. I use social media mainly as a vessel to spread the word about upcoming things I’m working on, and that’s it. I don’t want to let social media become a huge distraction for me as it ultimately just pushes’ me off track whenever I get too consumed by it.

  1. Could you tell us something about your latest project “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and what the highlights are to watch out for?

Frankie Flowers: The song “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths has always been super special to me. I wanted to cover it in a way that put my own unique twist on it. Morrissey has those smooth brit-pop vocals so I wanted to deliver it in a more gravelly + dangerous tone. I wanted a slightly 80’s psychedelic feel so we added some warped synth patterns and a drum machine – I wanted to keep it similar enough in structure to the original yet still put my own spin on it.

  1. Do you have a personal favorite track amongst those you have already released that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you, and why is it so?

Frankie Flowers: I would probably have to go with “KISS ME LIKE THE WORLD IS ENDING”, mostly for the fact that it was my first studio release so it’s got special meaning for me in that way. The song is built entirely on my deepest fantasies, alongside feelings of mental anguish and all that jazz. It’s the idea of trying to make love work when you’re barely able to keep yourself afloat… The idea that if you don’t learn to put your past ghosts to rest, you’ll never be in a place to love. It’s about self sabotage, and lust. When you haven’t allowed yourself time to heal from past wounds, you’ll end up feeling less than alive in anything else that you try to pursue in the meantime.

  1. Creative work in studio environment or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most, and why?

Frankie Flowers: I have yet to play a live show (although there are some on the horizon) but the idea of playing one has me so excited! I’m mostly excited about it since it’s so beyond out of my comfort zone… it scares me a little, and that excites the hell out of me. Although, I do love studio days…Rolling up with a coffee, and killing an entire day with my mixing engineer in his studio always tends to make for a great day.

  1. Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?

Frankie Flowers: “thoughts become things, choose wisely”.

  1. How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a visual you could suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft, or will you be working on something soon?

Frankie Flowers: I’m actually just in the process of creating my first music video for my track, “KISS ME LIKE THE WORLD IS ENDING”, which I’m super stoked about! Thus far, people have only heard the track with no visuals to accompany it so it’ll be sweet to add an entire storyline to the song so that people can get an accurate idea of what it’s actually about.

  1. What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?

Frankie Flowers: The most rewarding thing about what I do is having an initial idea floating around inside my head, and then bringing it all to life with instrumentals, visuals to accompany the track, etc… Seeing what begins as one tiny thought spiral into an entire work is one of the coolest things ever. My #1 goal with music is to eventually play a festival, that’s always been the goal. I’m addicted to the energy that festivals bring and honestly all I want to do is a hop in a van, travel the world and play shows.

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Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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