On April 13 we're gathering in Soho to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Soho UO store in NYC. Come by to celebrate with music, drinks, pop-up shops, and more (stay tuned for more info on the party!) We've also teamed up with some of our talented NYC employees to showcase the creativity and talent that we're lucky enough to call our UO fam. Leading up to it all, we're highlighting some of the amazing talent who will be part of the event: starting with emerging emcee Flo Kennedy. A true artist on the rise — we caught up with Flo in her Harlem neighborhood to talk about the influences and history that fuel her lyrics.
Photos by Natalia Mantini
How did you get started as a musician?
I've been doing poetry for eleven years and music for seven years. What got me started with poetry was my 6th grade English teacher discovering a poem of mine and putting me on spot to perform it in front of my classmates. The love I received back made me pursue it more. Around 14, that’s when I appreciated music more; hip hop especially. I discovered Lupe Fiasco‘s The Cool album and was so amazed by the storytelling and imagery that I wanted to do the same. I knew my destiny.
Can you share more about what inspires your lyrics ?
My truth inspires my lyrics. All I can do is rap about my truth because that's real to me. You can write a catchy song for people to groove to but what can they take from it? What can they relate to? Can they have a conversation about it? My vulnerability is my inspiration. I want people to take a piece of me with them and have it stay permanently.
How does living in NY influence the music you create or the texture of sounds you are drawn to?
NY definitely influences the rawness in my lyrics and the slight aggression in my approach when I rap but sonically, not so much my sound. I love different genres of music outside of hip hop so I'm not confined to one specific sound. I definitely love to experiment.
Who are some other musicians you are into right now? Who are some of your musical influences?
Right now, my playlist is in constant rotation of Anderson.Paak, Kaytranada, Laze E. Nell, Solange and OutKast. My actual influences are Lupe Fiasco, Common and Andre 3000.
Can you tell us more about your role at UO?
I am a Men's Team Lead at Store 004! Go Men's! I guess the best part, as corny it may sound, is that my teammates are the hearts of our department and I am the soul. It's just making sure that I keep our foundation strong and on the same wavelength, which we are!
Above: Photos by Ajani Braithwaite and Sam Hong
What are you looking forward to this year?
This year I'm simply looking forward to doing more shows, traveling and just taking a piece of the pie! Just simply grinding hard and manifesting everything to push my career forward.
What’s next for you?
Next for me is long hours at the studio for the next few months working on my Sophomore EP! Also, working on new music visuals for my Freshman project, "The He(art) EP" Stay tuned.
See her perform in person on April 13 at the UO Soho 30th Anniversary from 6-9pm at 628 Broadway