30 seconds with… Florence Joelle

Paris-born, London-based singer/songwriter Florence Joelle  describes her music as a blend of blues with gypsy jazz, and one of her songs is set to be used in an upcoming film, Gypsyland. She spends 30 seconds chatting to M

Q1 How long have you been making music?
I have been making noise in some form or other all my life: singing, playing blues harmonica and guitar, although I didn’t start composing music and writing lyrics until 2002.

Q2 What inspired your latest single/EP/album?
Ultimately I write songs and sing them because I like telling stories.  The songs in my album draw from personal experience, love gone wrong or right (True To Myself or Never Thought I’d See The Day), friends (Gypsy Boy), life in general (Hell Be Damned And Look Out), and other people’s dilemmas.  The closing track on the album, The Look In His Eyes was inspired by a lady I once met who had an affair she could not forget.

Q3 What process do you go through to create your music?
I usually find a chord progression I like on the guitar, decide on the song’s subject, and often coin half a verse or a chorus straight away.  Once I have created the melody, and nailed down the chords, I write the lyrics, which can take from two hours to two weeks, depending on the song.  I then make rough recordings, with vocals and acoustic guitar, to pass on to fellow band members (Huck Whitney – lead guitar, Chris Campion – bass, Arthur Lager – drums and percussion) for us all to arrange.

Q4 How would you describe your sound?
Blues blended with gypsy jazz, I guess, with a touch of early rock’n’roll.  I listen to a lot of different styles of music, old and new, from early jazz, blues and gospel to calypso, flamenco, the gypsy art of Django Reinhardt, French chanson, and I can hear echoes of these in my music.

Q5 What would your dream collaboration be?
If I had a time machine, I would travel back to co-write and perform with Oscar Brown Jr., who sadly died recently – if he was to let me, obviously.  He was one of the best blues / jazz songwriters of the ‘50s & ‘60s, wrote lyrics for the Work Song, Afro Blue, and the album We Insist, Freedom Now! with Max Roach, one of the most powerful works for human rights ever written or recorded.

Q6 Where can we catch you performing next?

Here are a few dates:

25 September: From Dusk Til Dawn, Archway, London

30 September: Ryan’s Bar, Stoke Newington, London

1 October: Charlie Wrights, Hoxton, London

13 November: Upstairs At The Ritzy, Brixton, London

Florence Joelle’s album, Florence Joelle’s Kiss of Fire, is out now, available from all good retailers and on iTunes, as well as her online shop on the website: