‘The Floacist’ On Friendship With Marsha, Defining Neo Soul
That’s the interesting question. I don’t think it’s a hard one. I think we would both have to be making the same type of music. It’s more so in the music, in the energy that’s put out. The thought of Floetry is always open to the members of Floetry. Absolutely. Floetry itself is something that has to be adhered to exactly what it is, anyway. Floetry. Sound. Energy. Creation. Floetry is a genre within the genre of neo soul.
Are you still friends?
I think if Marsha and I were still friends, no one would be having to find out whether or not Floetry will ever get back together again. To be quite fair, I think that’s a fair statement. Marsha’s my sister, though. It’s not a case of whether or not she’s my friend. I love her and we’ve done amazing things together. I think from YouTube and jumping on the Internet, that’s how I found out where everything is just by looking on the Internet and hearing. And I don’t think it would be fair to say that. I feel like if I said that I would just be saying that because it’s an interview. And just to be fair and to be pure, she’s my sister. But we haven’t been in communication for quite a while.
Going back to you using the term “neo soul,” some people consider you a femcee but is it that simple? How do you define yourself?
I’m the floacist [laughs]. Initially, when I was creating floetry I had this little paragraph which was, “My flow assists her song to stretch,” it was something we did when it came to introducing us in this little piece that I used to bust when we were coming on to the stage so it’s like flo-acist. Like I said, it’s poetic delivery with musical intent as the base and I’m a poet. I’m also an actress. I’m a performance poet. So my pen is where my music derives from. That’s how I came into music. I wasn’t trying to do music. I was on the performance circuit. I was doing open mics and inviting my friend, Marsha, down and us traveling and doing open mics in The States turned into producers asking us to come to the studio. And it’s really completely the work of a spoken word artist working to see how one can broaden the audience of spoken word with musical content.
With regards to you embracing “neo soul,” there’s a lot of people who say that the term is outdated and that that period in music is over, so where does your music fit in?
It’s a funny thing. I think all of us in neo soul⎯obviously for quite a few of us it’s been about ten years ago since our records dropped and again, I don’t think we fully understood the term neo soul. I think we felt a bit branded and awkward but ultimately what I think that means is we are the new soul artists of today. And there’s a certain ethos and to some degree responsibility⎯I don’t mean that as in ball and chain⎯but that there’s something in the picture that the music does and say for instance, like, in the time of Motown when it may have been that African American artists were trying to break into the mainstream of music, which was, it was a white music base. Now mainstream music is hip-hop and I think it’s a different kind of pressure, which is the soul artists wanting to feel relevant to the mainstream audience and there might be a bit of an identity crisis that goes along with that but I’m very proud of being part of the new soul, neo soul movement.
I feel very proud to be identified with a certain group of artistry⎯people that I admire surrounding me whether that be a Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu, Musiq SoulChild, Raheem Devaughn, even as far out to who I deem the Godmother of neo soul, Sade. So I’m very proud of the people that are within this realm. I didn’t used to understand the importance of being able to identify yourself. If you’re looking for my music you can go to the neo soul section. That’s what happened with Floetry, there was always this talk of wanting to cross over, wanting to do more and I was very content with what Floetry was. It was everything I dreamed of it was everything I wanted it to be. It was perfect to me; the audience; the people. Yeah there were always things to work towards like the first album, there were a couple of songs I would have loved to have done videos to and by the time we got to Flo’ology management was just more trying to get crossover, whatever that means. Because as a poet, Floetry was as crossover as I got on⎯you might as well have called me Rolling Stone. It was everything; it was beautiful, Seven Grammy nominations. It was fantastic. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, it’s a beautiful genre of music.
What else are you working on?
I’m always working on other things. In this time away I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I have books, I have movies, I have different things that I’m working on but I’m also very much right in this moment like, literally, before I got on the phone I was writing my credits and my thank you’s. Right now I’m very focused on this release and the part I play in the journey but yes, there are always other things. I’m working on myself but it’s not just me, me, me, me, me, I’m wanting to share and give some other people opportunities as well. So there are lots of things⎯I’m always thinking about something. I’m married to my business partner and my manager is like my sister so we’re always talking about something new and my husband and I are both poets and actors so there’s always something that’s being spoken about being conjured up.
Any last words?
Neo soul is alive and I’m looking forward to seeing my fans on the road. I miss them very, very much. I feel like I know everyone by name. I miss everybody and I’m looking forward to getting on the road again and sharing.