Somewhere between 1972 and today Flo Morrissey must have got lost and ended up here. With the kind of open angel-face most often seen in hazy photographs of summers past, the singer/songwriter is taking 2016 by storm.
Morrissey released her debut album Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful last year with producer Noah Georgeson to much acclaim and, in a whirlwind, headlined tours in the US, the UK, and Japan, performing to throngs of enraptured fans. It comes as no surprise that she has also caught the attention of the fashion industry, becoming a darling of brands like Gucci and Chloe who have quietly christened her a new it-girl.
Born in London into a large and loving family, she is one of nine children to grow up in an artistic enclave in West London.She was discovered when she was fourteen by Glassnote’s Daniel Glass who quickly recognised that her talent is advanced well beyond her years. Not only musically gifted, Flo has a philanthropic desire to help others through spiritual awareness, namely through meditation. Her bohemian spirit for a new generation is inspiring.
So far, in her young career, Morrissey has worked with Matthew E. White, Tobias Jesso Junior, and Yael Naim among others and was asked to be one of the faces of Apple Music. Last year she moved to Paris to fulfill a lifelong dream and has been writing her second album that she intends to record later this year.
Describe your normal day.
I usually wake up early and like to begin my day quietly: I meditate when I get up and then have breakfast and tea and put some music on. I will do things that help set me up for feeling creative and inspired to write, sing, and enjoy my day.
I moved to Paris in September and it's been great finding my own routine there. It's my first time living completely alone. Sometimes I'll go to yoga or for a walk in the park and in the afternoon read a book or go to an exhibition. Recently, Paul Klee at the Pompidou was inspiring and I love to go to Buttes Chaumont in Paris or Kensington Gardens in London.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am inspired by my family, friends, art, films, poetry, nature, books and of course, music. People ranging from the likes of Nina Simone to Alice Coltrane, Jean Michel Basquiat, Georgia O' Keefe, Rumi, Jane Birkin, Amy Winehouse, Neil Young, my mum and dad, Hilma Af Klint, George Harrison, Anais Nin, my brothers and sisters, Adi Da, and astrology. I also like the idea of the guitar, piano, voice… the instrument I am engaging with being my main source of inspiration. Not over complicating things - it can be very easy to avoid what is simple! I don't have any idols. I like to draw inspiration from what is in front of me. As I get older, seeing beauty in the mundane and less obvious things has been a profound practice in my everyday.
What made you want to be a musician?
I always knew it was what I needed to do in my life. From a young age it's been my biggest love and I am grateful for knowing that early on! Then, I suppose when I was 14 putting things online really made me focus on doing it as my 'job' and opening up to that whole new world. Now being 'older,’ sharing a message and vibration of sound with an audience brings me joy and a feeling of purpose. When I am in service for something other than just myself, I feel that great things come when we can get out of our own way!
What has been your best touring experience and why?
Each tour has its own lessons and highlights. I think every time I do one, I see how I’ve grown and developed on stage and in hindsight, what I’d like to work on. Performing is a whole other ball game and a strange aspect of being a musician, I used to get very nervous and I still do but every show gets a little easier!
I loved my last tour in Japan this past March - everything flowed so well and I felt really moved by the experience. The people are so loyal and really kind, I feel a huge empathy with them.
Tell us about your love for Japan!
I love the people! And of course the food- Eatrip in Tokyo, Stardust in Kyoto and Trueberry! The temples, the more rural parts - Kamakura, Kyoto. I saw one Sakura (blossom) tree that just blew me over! I just really admire their dedication to life.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Beck, Damon Albarn, James Blake, Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Alex Turner, Philip Glass , Kevin Parker, Robin Pecknold, Matthew E. White are all inspiring to me in the current music scene. I would be honoured to work with any of them.
How did you get into yoga & meditation?
My parents thought I'd enjoy yoga so I went to a class when I was about eight with my little brother and have continued ever since. I am very grateful for it! I have tried lots of styles and would like to commit and deepen my practice more - perhaps do a type of training. I started meditating at school in London. We were taught transcendental meditation when I was about eleven and we would mediate together every morning. I stopped for a while after I left school at seventeen and probably took it for granted when I was younger but I think it set a real foundation for me. Over a year ago, I began again and am very happy and feel so lucky to have such a simple but profound and life changing tool at my disposal wherever I go and really encourage everyone with their own practice. Elena Browers guided meditations are a great gateway into finding that.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Empty yourself and let the universe fill you.” - Yogi Bhajan
Who are your favorite artists, musicians, songs, films & books?
Books: My Life On the Road by Gloria Steinem, Bonjour Tristesse,Letters to a Young Poet, anything by Amélie Nothomb, Siddartha by Herman Hesse, Women Who Run with Wolves, Drops of Gold by Emma Curtis Hopkins.
Films: Buffalo 66, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Badlands, The Colour of Pomegranates, The Virgin Suicides, Searching for Sugarman, Almost Famous, Her, Alice in Wonderland, and Zoolander. Haha!
If you could do one thing for mankind what would that be?
Make people smile, look into their eyes, and meet them all where they are.
I would love everyone to be in nature more and see how we are connected to it - cycles of seasons, growth, blooming, hibernation, death and then rebirth of the trees and flowers when it is their right time, all the phases and lessons of the moon... it sounds hippy dippy but they really are such wise teachers! This past year for me, beginning to more and more align with and work in nature's rhythm, it feels like there is more flo(w) in my life. Ha! Sorry, I had to.
Finally, what are you working on? What can we look forward to?
I put out my first album last year, so now I’m beginning to write my second in Paris. In between, I'm excited to be doing a duet record with a musician I really admire and can't wait to share more about that before the end of the year! Until then I will be doing a few shows and right now have a few dates in Italy in the beginning of September. It's fun to see and be open to the process. I never really know where I will end up and what will come next!
Images by Anouska Beckwith All clothing by Gucci