I was fortunate enough to speak on the phone recently with the incredibly talented Yoshi Flower. Check out the interview below, where we talk about Dua Lipa, Detroit, musical influences, and more!
Yoshi Flower: Hey Elizabeth!
Melodic Magazine: Hey! How are you doing?
YF: Pretty good, how about you?
MM: I’m doing great! So, I’ve got a few questions for you. First of all, you grew up in Detroit. How has growing up there influenced your musical style? You’ve got a great mix of genres going on in your music, it’s a really unique style.
YF: Thank you! Growing up there really influenced me…like, the shit that shines in Detroit, it really has a unique voice, usually. Like, if you think about Motown, it ended up being a gem but it was a super new thing, like garage rock such as the White Stripes, super unique. You’ve got Eminem who kind of copied Big Al for a while, but he’s still pretty unique. All the shit that influenced me, I feel like it’s stuff that you couldn’t really get elsewhere and really stuck out. Like, the lineups in Detroit when I was a kid would be like a punk band, a rapper, five DJs, and a folk band…so it’s a really good place to experiment if you’re good.
MM: That sounds pretty awesome. Are there any current artists, especially from Detroit, that you’re really into at the moment?
YF: Well, there’s my favorite band, but they broke up. They were called Jamaican Queens, and they’ve influenced a lot of my sound. I would do pretty much anything to hang out with them or see one of their shows. They were pretty much my biggest influence in my young adult life, I’d say.
MM: I’ve never heard of them! I’ll have to check them out.
YF: Yeah! They’re fucking weird, but fire.
MM: That’s usually the best type of music though, the music where on your first pass you’re thinking, “This is pretty weird,” but then after a few listens it starts to grow on you.
YF: -laughs- Yeah! You get it! But yeah, I think it’s just really easy to access music these days. Like streaming and people just making awesome shit that we hadn’t heard of before, it’s great. We can go hear more new music easily. But when you hear something with so much weirdness but with equal parts of familiarity, then it’s really fun. And I think there are a lot of artists doing that really well.
MM: I agree with that! So, switching gears a bit, what was it like opening up for Dua Lipa in Las Vegas recently?
YF: Oh my God. It was like if my hair was cotton candy and I could just keep eating it and it never depleted, pretty much. It was just on point.
MM: -laughs- That’s a description I’ve never heard before! What about playing in front of such a large crowd, was that intimidating at all?
YF: At first it was, and then I got a pretty quick understanding of the type of people she attracts and the type of vibes, for lack of a better word, that she cultivates. It’s a really loving, supportive little universe. So, for her to give me that stamp of approval, it allowed for me to be given a chance right off the bat. There might be artists I’ve played with in the past…there’s this one song in my set, usually about halfway through, called “Dirty Water,” and it’s basically the moment where I can tell if somebody is down for the cause or like, “Yo, fuck this dude, he’s got red hair, he’s so annoying, talks so much shit.” -laughs- But in that set in Vegas, on the first song, people were really..I don’t know what the word is, but it was fucking crazy. They kept up, and I could tell they were having a great time, and I was having a great time. At that point, it wasn’t intimidating. It’s more intimidating to play to 18 people in L.A. or 6 people in Detroit. It was definitely a relief.
MM: That’s great! And I agree, I feel like playing to 6 people would be terrifying. You see all of their reactions, and if even two people aren’t feeling it, it’s like, “Well, that’s a third of the people who aren’t here for this.”
YF: Yeah! And it was in Las Vegas, and I had never really been there like that, so I looked at it like, “Okay, if I fuck up, I don’t have to come back because nobody wants me to.” -laughs- But if I’m in L.A. or Detroit, I have lives there so I don’t want to fuck up too badly because I’ll be hanging out with those people the following night.
MM: -laughs- That makes sense! Speaking of playing live, what are your favorite and least favorite things about touring?
YF: My favorite thing about it is connecting with my fans, because real life is just so much less saturated than the internet. Like, if I’m talking with a fan over DM, or a friend rather, I don’t really like calling people “fans”, if I’m talking to someone who likes my music and supports me, it’s in the middle of a million other things on my phone, so it’s harder to remember it. But when I connect with people in person, it’s so much more…there’s a lot more weight to it. And going city to city every night and meeting people who allow me to do this, they collectively lift me up and keep me going. And my least favorite part…that would probably have to be that I spend all of my money on clothing. I keep thinking there’s new clothing in every city. Turns out, it’s really mostly the same shit everywhere. -laughs- Like, I’ll get money for food and spent it all on clothing.
MM: I’ve done that too many times. I’ve gone into a chain store in one city thinking that all of the clothes there are different from another city, even though deep down I know it’s a lie and I’m just not good at controlling my impulses.
YF: Yeah! Like, I was smoking a cigarette in Glendale, and I walked out of a Mercedes Benz dealership, and they had like, a thousand of them in the lot. And I’m like, “Yo, are you sure this car should be a hundred grand? Because it looks like there’s a ton of them.” But, yeah, I don’t know. Shoutout to capitalism. -laughs-
MM: Oh, capitalism.
YF: Gotta love it!
MM: So, I was looking at the album cover of your most recent mixtape, “American Raver” and noticed it’s sort of a more modern take of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” cover. Was that your inspiration?
YF: I don’t know, somebody told me that! Somebody told me it reminds them of that. I don’t know if I’m legally allowed to comment on that one, but I’ve heard it’s reminiscent. -laughs- I’m not mad at it!
MM: Emulating The Boss is always positive! Moving on to your music video, “Just Because We’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Onto Us,” what was filming that like?
YF: It was fun! I was nervous, I had filmed a video with Elohim that had a bit of production behind it, but this was all my song. I was really nervous leading up to it, but then it started and it was all just a blur. I really enjoyed it, it’s fun to collaborate with people who care about their craft and want to have fun and make dope shit. It was tight, I would definitely do it again, for sure.
MM: It seemed fun to film! I loved watching the video, I thought it was really well done and different from a lot of the videos artists have been putting out there.
YF: Thank you so much! Yo, you can call me every day and just gas me up with all these compliments, I feel like that would be the best relationship. -laughs-
MM: I’m just being honest! So, you’ve done a lot of musical collaborations. What is it you love about collaborating with other artists?
YF: I’m not lonely when we do it. So, that’s definitely a plus. Also, if they do something dope, that means there’s one less minute where I have to think of something dope for the song, so that’s tight. -laughs- I think collaborating with people you care about or are comfortable with can create cool stuff that you might overlook when you’re alone. Sometimes when I’m creating alone, I’m really critical of myself. But when I’m collaborating with people, especially recently, there are moments where I’m just jamming and saying stuff off the top of my head, and they’ll be like, “What was that? That was sick!” And since they’re my homies, I trust them. If I was alone, I’d be like, “Yo, fuck that.” -laughs-
MM: Do you have a dream artist you’d love to collaborate with someday?
YF: Hmmm… Travis Scott, City and Colour…
MM: I love City and Colour! He’s so underrated.
YF: Yo, he is literally God’s gift to vocals!
MM: Right? He’s amazing, but I feel like he’s so overlooked.
YF: Yeah, nobody knows him, but if you know, you know. He’s the kind of artist that I listen to and I’m like, “You know, I don’t really have to be making music.” -laughs- And then I go and jam and I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll make music.” But he’s just so good, it’s frightening.
MM: His vocals are so smooth.
YF: He’s an angel. But yeah, him and Travis Scott…on the same record!
MM: Now you’re talking. That would be a total power record.
YF: Hell yeah!