Shenell Kennedy


Get to know: FLO

December 9, 2022

The U.K. has had its fair share of girl groups. Over the years, we’ve had the Suga Babes, Atomic Kitten, the Spice Girls, Little Mix and more. Their music has graced radio waves and despite hiatuses or disbanding, their music still remains memorable to the British public’s ears. It’s safe to say that girl groups are not a new phenomena, but RnB trio FLO are and it’s been a stellar year for them. 

FLO consists of 3 friends, Renée Downer, Jorja Douglas and Stella Quaresma who have made waves across the internet in a few months. Their early 2022 hit, Cardboard Box went viral on social media and has played a huge part in their success today. The April release of Cardboard Box currently sits with over 5 million views on YouTube and over 1 million accompanying videos with the sound on Tiktok. They’ve been featured in numerous publications including a Pitchfork and most recently, longlisted by BBC Radio 1 on their Sound of 2023.

A lot of praise comes from their harmonised vocals which has resulted in comparisons to early Destiny’s Child and the nostalgia for an era long past. So early on in their career, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison and modern rebranding, however the girls remain a valid and important group in their own right. It makes sense for their sounds to reflect the music they grew up with as the trio who were born in the early 2000s and have cited influences of the time. Signed to Island Records in 2020, the year has seen the girls amass a following on social media both within the U.K. and internationally across 183 countries. They’ve received recognition from known and established artists including Missy Elliott and more recently, Rodney Jenkins (Darkchild). In the past few months, they’ve given performances on Jimmy Kimmel, the MOBO and Soul Train Awards as well as a VEVO DSCVR performance. Their trajectory in such a short space of time has resulted in the kinship that often exists among fans of the same or similar artists. Known as ‘Flolifers’, this following has created an international community for the group with only an EP out. 

At such an early time in their career, Flo are a standout girl group in many ways. Across the years, conversations have propped up about the RnB genre as a space dissimilar to what it once was. While it’s too premature to chart Flo’s path, the group have mentioned the impact of their mothers’ love for the genre as integral to the music they put out today. There’s a level of freedom, authenticity and light-heartedness in their approach to music, their performances and the videos that accompany. The videos for both Summertime and Cardboard box are particularly fun and do well in showing the girls’ personalities. This varies from Immature, which takes on a darker and more sultry tone while staying true to who the girls are establishing themselves to be. So early on in their career, it would be very easy to market themselves in a particular way but the involvement and connection of social media means they get to develop themselves as a group, as a community and also as individuals. This also comes across in their live performance arrangements in the ways they synchronize themselves while also recognizing individual style and vocal ability. The most interesting part of Flo is how much more they have to offer and how exciting it is to witness and grow with them. Their headline tour has already sold out and the trio are set to release their debut album in 2023.

Photo credit: Shenell Kennedy