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A Dirty Dozen with FLORENCIA RUSIÑOL from FLORENCIA & THE FEELING – April 2023

| 5 April 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Donnie Barnett

According to a recent press release: “Johnson City, Tennessee-based pop-funk fusion band Florencia & the Feeling is set to independently release its debut album, Birthday, on March 24, 2023. Since its conception in April 2021, the five-piece has been impressing listeners with its upbeat funky grooves, heartfelt songwriting, and all-around good vibes, loading its music with four-part harmonies, hints of jazz, and Latin roots.” We get band namesake Florencia to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think upon first listen, people probably won’t hear all the different layers of instrumentation and vocal harmonies. I think it will take most people a few listens to really get into the richness of the arrangements of songs like “What Can I Do,” “Birthday,” and “Meant to Be.” It makes me excited to think of our listeners being surprised by a melodic line or new instrument a few listens through.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

It’s different for each band member, but for me–Florencia–my parents always loved and played music, and I started performing into microphones when I was 4, so I can’t really ever think of a time when I didn’t want to be a musician.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The three artists/groups I think of the most are Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and The Manhattan Transfer. I’ve always loved the way Stevie could take jazz chords and complex harmonies and make them groovy and danceable, even before I could put that into words. I grew up listening to The Beatles, and when I started learning guitar, I learned with the help of a book of Beatles songs and would fall asleep in high school listening to Abbey Road. It’s fun for me now to see the influences that these have had on our music and arrangements.  For example, there are several moments with four- or five-part harmonies on the album, and I think that comes straight from my love of The Manhattan Transfer.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Wow! Well, my dream would definitely be Stevie Wonder, but maybe slightly more attainable would be one of my more current idols like Clyde Lawrence, Sammy Rae, Anthony Thogmartin, or Jacob Collier. Each of those people are current songwriters who are constantly inspiring me with their music, and I consider each of them to be a musical genius in a different way.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Again, it’s different for each member. Some of us like to play basketball, some of us like to watch TV series’ with our people, most of us still love to play music or listen to music. I also have always enjoyed other forms of creative media, like drawing, painting, and most recently, decorating sugar cookies with fun designs!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We describe it as pop-funk fusion, which includes R&B, jazz, jam, soul, rock, and more. As far as other artists, we’ve been compared to Lake Street Dive a lot, also Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder. I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone say anything we disagree with, but we have had some requests made that I think, “Do they really think we could pull off that song or genre?”

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I love this question. When we’re hanging, it’s usually Austin (drums) mixing drinks or offering them, I am usually making a snack plate, and Nick (bass) busts out the acoustic guitar, which eventually pulls Noah (lead guitar) and Isaac (keys) away from their conversation about music theory and gets them in on the jam as well, lol.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I saw Sammy Rae & the Friends twice last year, and they are just all  such amazing performers and she has a fantastic voice. I fangirled for real both times.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Well, as our second single from the album “What Can I Do?” says, we’ve kind of all taken turns doing other jobs, and now we’ve decided to follow our dream job, which is music. But if we couldn’t do it anymore for some reason, I would probably still try to do something creative like cookie making or something like that. I also work on the side now as a board-certified music therapist, so I’d likely continue that as well!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I would love it if interviewers asked about some of the lesser known parts of being emerging artists and the challenges they present, the answer being all of the hats that need to be worn. As an independent emerging artist, you are your own manager, booking agent, social media manager, tour manager, instrument tech, stylist, graphic designer, producer, sound engineer, and so, so much more. I don’t know if we’re necessarily tired of any question, but we do always get asked about our influences. I mean, it makes sense, but it is always a tough question for us because the five of us have  different musical influences that all combine together.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

The only thing I sometimes wish is that I would have started sooner. If I had a life do-over, I would have followed my dream from the beginning instead of going in circles and being afraid that it didn’t have what it takes. That’s also what “What Can I Do?” is saying–essentially that there was never anything else I wanted to do but pursue this passion, but sometimes fear got in the way. Better late than never, though!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

So many come to mind! Abbey Road by The Beatles, Off the Wall by Michael Jackson, and The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, to name a few. Those are just some widely recognized best albums of all time, and to even have an ounce of that wisdom would just be like a superpower in my eyes.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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