Meet the musically savvy lyrical powerhouse and exceptional human that is Flavia. “I’m like two ends of the spectrum — everything is either serious activism or it’s pretty silly.” Her most recent single, “Switch,” covers her humorous side and “very much does not take itself seriously. It’s a bit of a satire and exploration of our own freedom of fluidity and not putting ourselves into labels or boxes.” Whether she’s poking fun at her own expense or standing up for all that is wrong in the world, there’s no holding back her strong spirit.
Her independently released debut EP, Out Loud, possesses just the right amount of pop, synth, fun, and sexy. It’s raw yet refined. Her songs tell stories of her awakening to her own pansexuality, and her experiences with exploration, empowerment, crushes, rejection, and love. Her lyrics are emotional, funny, real, and relatable, no matter how one gender (or non-) identifies.
“I really hope there is something in this EP for everyone. Although it is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community that deserves to be celebrated, it’s also a celebration of so many qualities that we all have as humans. We all label ourselves, we all feel this societal, religious-induced shame toward our own sexuality and fluidity. We’ve all had a first crush, we all know what that feels like.”
Flavia is the epitome of a self-made artist. When there weren’t other people to wade her through the waves of the music industry, she became the creator of her own big break. Her unstoppability seeps through her music — her sultry voice is infectious; the beats she co-produced on each song make your body want to move in provocative ways. She’s worked fucking hard to get to this point in her career and it shows.
“I’ve been so hot in the micro details, making promo videos and finalizing art, figuring out marketing and all the thousand, million details that go into releasing music… there’s so much work I honestly haven’t taken a step back. But shit, I’m releasing my first EP…”
What a time to be releasing a debut EP! How are you feeling right now?
I’m feeling pretty great! It’s so important that art starts getting released now. When the pandemic first hit and the Black Lives Matter movement started gaining traction again, people were so nervous about releasing music. There’s no quick fix to this year, we have to find a way… it’s a marathon not a sprint. I think music has the power to change the world and to heal, and right now the world is hurting and we need music more than ever. We need to dance and cry and laugh and have moments of catharsis or happiness — whatever music does for you in that moment. I think it’s really important we take time to stay positive and to keep ourselves healthy and happy…there’s no way we’ll be able to fight for all the injustices in the world if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.
What was the initial inspiration that led you to a life of music?
I had no choice in the matter. I came out of the womb telling my mom, “Ma, I’m gonna be a star!” From three years old on I wouldn’t stop singing… and it’s never changed. It kind of chose me. The journey found me. It’s a blessing and a curse. Sometimes as an artist when there’s no plan B, and nothing else ignites your soul in the way that your music or art form does — your whole life is devoted to that.
What’s been your most pivotal or epic “out loud” moment so far?
Mmm, so, there’s kind of two really big ones on the EP. One is “Blue,” it’s such a special song to me. Out Loud wouldn’t exist without this song or situation. It’s the first song I ever wrote about a girl. I had no idea I was bi or pansexual before the creation of this song. There was a girl I was friends with that I was so enamored with and curious about, and I woke up one morning and she was the first thing I thought about and I was like, Oh shit, there’s something else here. I wrote “Blue” that very morning, in like 10-15 minutes, it just poured out of me. That was really the start of my journey of me acknowledging that there was another part of me that I hadn’t yet explored or even consciously known about. So I’m very grateful to that person and this song. That was a special moment and probably the most out loud moment I had.
And also “Them” is really special to me. That song is about the first trans, nonbinary-identifiying person that I dated. I learned so much and I’m so grateful that they shared their story and experience with me. A lot of my music is based around activism — it’s really important to me that my music talks about a cause that I’m passionate about, whether it’s LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, trans rights, BLM, mental health awareness, addiction… all my songs have a theme behind them that is a cause that I care about. After meeting this person, I started to realize how misrepresented and underrepresented trans people are in the media, and I wanted to work to change that and wrote “Them” about my experience. For the music video we filmed with almost 50 trans, gender-nonconforming people — it was just beautiful. One of the most incredible experiences I’ve had is getting to know all those people and working with them and trying to make a difference for a community that I think is not often fought for enough.
Who are some voices or organizations within the LGBTQ+ space we should all be following right now?
Ooooooh there are so many various LGBTQ+ artists, activists and inspirations to me who are doing great work for our community on the daily. But one hundred thousand million percent:
Let’s talk about the new single on the EP, “Gay for a Day.”
Yeah so it’s a really silly, fun song. It’s sort of the sequel to “Blue” and what unfolded next in terms of, OK cool, I discovered I’m bi, yay, like, now what? As a serious baby gay at the time and new to the queer dating scene, I had no gaydar, like none whatsoever. When I finally did muster the courage to ask a girl out, I was so often met with, oh that’s so cute but I have a boyfriend. So this song is really just me making fun of myself and the countless straight-girl crushes that I had, which is such a 101 no-no. It’s also me naively exploring the could’ve-beens of what would have happened if she would’ve said yes and been gay for a day with me, and maybe wanted to be gay for another day after that. We’ve all tried to ask someone out and been rejected.
What’s the most impactful career advice you’ve been given?
You know, I think so often in the industry, you come up against a lot of barriers. The most impactful advice that I can give is not necessarily something that someone told me but something that I learned the hard way, that really was one of the biggest factors in shaping me as the artist I am today. Having a DIY mentality is going to empower you so much. Like, I got so many no’s everywhere along the way. When I couldn’t find a booking agent, I learned how to book shows. I went out and met the bookers at the venues, I booked an entire national tour. When I couldn’t find a manager, I just learned the industry. I read books, I figured out how to manage myself. When I couldn’t find the right producer, I learned to produce myself in Logic, which empowered me to then create my own demos and to be able to communicate with collaborators what kind of sounds I wanted. When I couldn’t find a label I just figured out how to promote myself and do this all independently. Taking those moments of hardship and turning them into learning, a moment of growth, those are the moments that are going to completely define you. And I think those are so important — taking those no’s or struggles and allowing it to allow you to grow. The hardest moments are the ones I’m most grateful for.
CONNECT WITH FLAVIA
photos / courtesy of artist
story/ Eve Simonsen