Flo Rida Interview
|Next Project:||R.O.O.T.S. (Routes of Overcoming The Struggle)|
|Twitter:||Flo Rida on Twitter|
|Website:||Flo Rida's Website|
Every year, there are a few chart-smashing, dancefloor-packing singles that seem to come out of nowhere, launching an up-and-coming artist to stardom with blinding speed. Those who look closer, however, will realize that behind every hit lies a story, and often a lengthy struggle. For example, long before listeners worldwide got “Low” to Flo Rida‘s debut single, which set a Billboard record for greatest one-week digital sales, the Carol City native spent his teenage years working with local vets 2 Live Crew and performing in an amateur group called The Groundhogs.
Now, the Panhandle State emcee is preparing to explore his R.O.O.T.S. with the late-March release of his second studio album. Though he plans to showcase yet-unseen creative depths on the forthcoming LP, lead single “Right Round” (which broke the Billboard record he set with “Low”) and Booth-acclaimed Pleasure P collaboration “Shone” demonstrate that Flo is still the hitmaker that listeners everywhere have come to know and love.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Flo Rida steps into the Booth to discuss the inspiration behind his forthcoming album’s title, the time and money that went into his now-famous back tattoo, and which records (besides his own) he looks forward to hearing at the club.
Listen to the Interview
Flo Rida Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an artist whose debut single was one of the biggest records of ‘08. For an encore, just six weeks into ‘09, this Sunshine State native already has a number one single on iTunes and is preparing for the release of his sophomore album this April. Please welcome for the second time, Flo Rida—how you doin’?
Flo Rida: What’s good? I’m just happy, enjoying life right now.
DJ Booth: You have a lot to enjoy. Your first stop by our DJ Booth came in July of ‘07. This was just a week after your people dropped off what would become your smash hit, “Low.” In a little bit less than two years, Flo, what have you learned the most about this industry?
Flo Rida: What I learned about this industry is that, if you love makin’ music and if you enjoy it in the depths of your heart, you definitely can have great success. With that said, I’ve been traveling all over the world, from Africa to Japan to New Zealand, Greece, all of that. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the support of my fans.
DJ Booth: Are you surprised at what you were able to accomplish last year, or did you know that you were capable of all that?
Flo Rida: I knew I was capable, but, at the same time, I had no idea it would reach to this magnitude.
DJ Booth: What would you say is the most memorable moment of your quote unquote “rookie season in the league?”
Flo Rida: I would say my most memorable moment would probably be havin’ to perform at the New Year’s rally on MTV.
DJ Booth: You released three singles off the debut, Mail on Sunday, and all three landed in the top 20 of Billboard‘s US Hot 100 chart. In fact, by itself “Low” sold about three million digital copies. So, considering all these very impressive stats, are you at all disappointed that the album itself was not able to push more units?
Flo Rida: Not really, because I got a whole lot of international exposure, so whatever I’ve been doin’ nationally, I’ve definitely surpassed it internationally, so I’m definitely pleased. And, at the same time, I actually had the lead single off of the Step It Up 2 soundtrack, so if you add the both, I guess I’m sellin’ a million.
DJ Booth: The title of the sophomore album is R.O.O.T.S, which stands for Routes of Overcoming the Struggle; how did you come to choose this title, Flo?
Flo Rida: I actually had a chance to go to Africa and, at the same time, I wanted the people to get a chance to know Flo Rida and not just the hot club records, so, with that bein’ said, I’m bringin’ you an album that still has the club party joints and everything like that, but at the same time you’ll definitely get the chance to know Flo Rida and what I’ve been through, what I’ve accomplished, and how I’ve accomplished it.
DJ Booth: Like you said, you’ve clearly found a successful niche for yourself with your hit club records. Do you feel like R.O.O.T.S. will be the proper platform for Flo Rida the emcee to display what he’s capable of outside of what a lot of people have heard, which is your radio records?
Flo Rida: Most definitely. We’re already startin’ off real big; we have the number one record on iTunes, if you go look, it’s “Right Round.” Every time I come and do a new album, I’m definitely tryin’ to take it to the next level, and I feel like I’m already on my way.
DJ Booth: The word that I want to focus on in the title is Struggle, the ‘S’ of R.O.O.T.S.—what have you personally struggled with the most since becoming both a recognized name and face in this industry?
Flo Rida: I had a sister pass away, that definitely was a struggle for myself. At the same time, just tryin’ to get the finances to support my studio habits, just tryin’ to survive. A lot of times, you have to support yourself with a nine to five; I really didn’t have that, so I was out sellin’ CDs, mixtapes and things like that, not knowin’ where the next meal would come from. Things like that are definitely a struggle that I’ve been through.
DJ Booth: What about personal struggles with whether or not the craft and the occupation you’ve chosen for your life is fitting—I mean, do you ever get bothered by all of the work and the traveling, and everything that’s involved to be a recording artist and be successful?
Flo Rida: Not at all, because I have to think, when I wasn’t financially stable, and when I didn’t have food on the table when I wanted it; now, I can basically get all of that, with all the fans’ support. So I always try to go hard regardless.
DJ Booth: Going into this album, was there any concerns that you might not be able to create any one hit record that could match the global success and popularity of “Low?”
Flo Rida: Not at all, because, like I said, this “Right Round” record is startin’ out bigger than “Low” started out, so I’m havin’ a nice time goin’ and YouTube and watching different people dance to “Right Round,” like they did to the “Low” record. And I have big smashes on this record; I just had a listen-in with my label, and everyone was definitely in an uproar about this new album, R.O.O.T.S.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about “Right Round” for a second. It actually sparked a phone call from one of my ex-girlfriends, who heard the song in the club and wanted to know why she couldn’t buy it yet on iTunes. I called her this morning, after I talked to your label, to let her know she could go ahead and do that. It was not a pleasant phone call, but clearly you’re making an impact with women all across the world. It’s the lead single off the project and, in it, you talk about not wanting any female to take all your money. So, what advice do you have for all the single gents out there who are tryin’ to guard against the reckless spending of what probably is their hard-earned dollar by all the frivolous women out there?
Flo Rida: You know, in this record, it’s not really sayin’ that I don’t want ‘em to take my money; it’s the fact that I’m enjoying myself, and just really gettin’ the female’s attention, like, “Hey, when I’m havin’ a nice time in the club, you just might watch me make it rain. You might get some of my money.” So I’m not really sayin’ I don’t want ‘em to take my money, it’s really that I’ve come to enjoy myself.
DJ Booth: In the process of enjoying yourself, though, you do have a line in that song where you say you’re not completely satisfied with them trying to take the money—did I misinterpret the song, or at least one of the lines of the song incorrectly?
Flo Rida: It’s sayin’ that, but at the same time that’s not the impression I’m tryin’ to give. In hip-hop, we say different things, but we have a certain slang with different meaning.
DJ Booth: Okay, so it’s deeper than that, I got it.
Flo Rida: Right.
DJ Booth: You have a massive tattoo of your stage name on your back, and I’ve been meaning to ask you about this for a few years. How many hours, and how many bills did it take to complete that piece of artwork?
Flo Rida: I mean, this is almost a 10 thousand dollar project. It took, like, thirty hours, 10 hours every other day, and it was definitely a lot of pain. It just represents all the aspects of life that happens in Miami, and I just have the state of Florida.
DJ Booth: That was actually one of our readers’ questions, and we’re gonna get into some more. We’ve been taking readers’ questions for about two weeks now, and I narrowed it down to a few. The first one comes from Wissome from Sydney, Australia, and I’m gonna assume this is a girl. She wants to know, “What songs do you usually get low to in the club?”
Flo Rida: I mean, I really don’t get low… [laughs] Not like that. I let the ladies get low; I’ll probably give ‘em some dough. But songs that I listen to in the club, I’ll probably listen to some Outkast, that’s what I enjoy listening to. When they play a Notorious B.I.G. record, I definitely enjoy that, as well as when I’m in the club listening to my own joints, I definitely enjoy it.
DJ Booth: Certainly. Next question comes from Cartel of New York, “One of the biggest stories in the industry now is the feud between Rick Ross and 50 Cent. You are Poe Boy labelmates with Ross, so what are your thoughts on the situation?
Flo Rida: My thoughts on the situation is, I hope those guys can get over the feud. I don’t really get down with the negativity; I’m all for the positive image and the positive outlook on life. I know ‘em, they’re good guys, I hope they get over it real soon.
DJ Booth: I know you said you’ve been traveling on your promo run, but do you know what the reaction is locally, in Florida, to what’s going on with Rick?
Flo Rida: Really, I’ve been out and about, and he still has his fans and things like that, so for the most part I’m just in the studio—I really don’t know everything that’s goin’ on.
DJ Booth: So pretty much you just want to stay away from all this beef stuff completely?
Flo Rida: It’s not just that I want to stay away, I always stay away. [laughs]
DJ Booth: The two questions that we got that we’re not gonna go over are, “How grilled is your cheese?” and “Will you perform at my 16th birthday party?”
Flo Rida: [laughs] Wow… I mean, I wouldn’t mind performing at a [16th birthday party], ‘cause I’ve been doin’ a lot of those—thanks to all the fans who are requesting me to do that. At the same time, if you’re talkin’ about my money, I’m definitely financially stable—got the mansions, got the Maybachs, all that.
DJ Booth: When you were 16, who would you have liked to perform at your birthday party?
Flo Rida: I would definitely have enjoyed rockin’ with everybody from NWA.
DJ Booth: Flo, give everyone a website or a MySpace page, something so they can find out more about you, your number one hit single, and, of course, the album comin’ out later this spring.
Flo Rida: Everyone who wants to stay in touch with Flo Rida and get the scoop on what’s goin’ on with me, all my fans out there, you can hit me up at myspace.com/officialflo, or go to my own website, officialflo.com. If you want to download any of my new music, you can go to iTunes—you know, I have the number one record on iTunes right now, which is “Right Round.” I definitely appreciate all my fans’ support; I love you guys and I definitely couldn’t have made it to the top without you. With that bein’ said, my album, R.O.O.T.S is in stores March 31st, so make sure you go out and buy 10 copies.
DJ Booth: Flo, I appreciate your time greatly and I thank you so much for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, my man.
Flo Rida: All right, thank you very much, Z.
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