Flohio’s so attached to her postcode, her best song is named after it. ‘SE16’, a collaboration with production duo God Colony, is a sharp, attitude-stuffed introduction. Think jaw-dropping grime fused with the con dent strut of early M.I.A.. After making music for over a decade, last year she established her own TruLuvCru, made up of Flo, fellow rapper Cassive and visual artist Stefon. Things are picking up fast, but don’t go chasing her footsteps just yet. For now, she says her plan is to fend off label offers, hide away and make music non-stop until mid- 2017.
Your music is attached to Bermondsey. Have you lived here your whole life?
I’ve been here for like 15 years. I lived in Peckham first. So I was just down the road. SE15 to SE16. Bermondsey is where everything started. I met my friends here, the people I create music with today. My first ever studio was just down the road, in the youth club. My whole journey started in Bermondsey.
What makes it so special?
We’re all in this little community. And within this community, we found music, creative art. It just grew into this big thing, ten years down the line. We thought, ‘We might as well take this seriously’. Starting out, I went to the youth club to play football!
You quit football? Were you any good?
I was alright. I was a defender, man. It was calm. I’d always pick up basketball, drop it. Football, drop it. I was playing for Peckham’s female team at one point. But I picked up music and I never dropped it.
Music’s the focus now – what’s the next step?
I’m about to just disappear for a while. I’ve stopped snapping. I don’t really tweet anymore. I’m just going off the grid, trying to get the studio together. I wanna have time to experiment with my sound. That’s the whole reason I’m doing this disappearing act. I haven’t told anyone.
What’s the plan? Just buy loads of supplies and lock the doors?
No, I’m gonna be about! You make it sound like I’m going to Mars or something. People can still send me music and I’ll listen. I’m just gonna chill and give myself a break. Nothing too deep. I’m getting headaches just thinking about it.
One of your first gigs was at the Tate Modern, which isn’t too shabby.
They had these events called Late At Tate, about getting young people to know about the art. I was in the music section and in charge of curation. Everyone was strangers, but I held it down.
Who were your idols, growing up?
I’m Nigerian – my background is Afrobeat. I didn’t know other music until I was 13. I’m still learning, trying to learn as much as I can. Back then, I’d play Michael Jackson because he was global – you’d hear him whatever country you’re in. The guys that made me want to make music were Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino and old-school heads like Lionel Richie and Barry White.
If Bermondsey’s the best part of London, what’s the worst?
Croydon. I went to college there and I was like, ‘Why did I come this far?’ Worst two years of my life. If I have no business in Croydon, I am not going to Croydon. I have friends down there but they can come up to see me.