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Flo Rida: The Hip-Hop Midas

flo-rida

Time and time

again, Flo Rida has proven that he has “the Midas touch.” In spite

of the music industry’s ballyhooed downward spiral, Flo has sold more

than 10 million digital copies of his popular club anthems over the

past three years. For this reason, he has firmly supplanted himself

as the undisputed “King of the Club.” 

From “Low”

to “Right Round,” in addition to a string of guest appearances,

Tramar “Flo Rida” Dillard has crafted a sonic style that is immediately

recognizable, memorable and unique. And with the release of his third

studio album (on November 30, 2010), he is resolute in his reminder

to the world: “there is Only One Flo.” 

Upon the release

of the album’s lead single, “Club Can’t Handle Me,” Flo Rida managed to squeeze some time out of

his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on his formative years

in Las Vegas, the importance of “connecting” with fans, and his

professional relationship with Walt Disney Studios.  AllHipHop.com: 

Although you were born-and-raised in Florida, you also spent a great

deal of time in Vegas, as well. In what ways have those two regions

influenced and affected the direction of your career? 

Flo Rida: 

Living in Vegas has definitely exposed me to an international audience

because people around the world travel to Vegas and party in Vegas.

It definitely inspired the type of music I do. Miami has a great party

environment, as well. Just being in those two places definitely influenced

me and helped me come up with songs about clubbing and everything. 

AllHipHop.com: 

During your undergraduate years at the University of Nevada, you studied

international business. Considering all the things that you have accomplished

thus far, what is one key business rule that you apply every time you

release a new project? 

Flo Rida: 

When I’m performing, I make sure that I do my best to connect with the

fans. When it comes down to promoting yourself, you definitely want

to do that. When I was going to school for international business, I

never even thought that I would be at a point where I would be considered

an international artist. And now, I use a lot of the skills that I gained

before I dropped out. I always make sure I’m handling my merchandising,

and really promoting myself, and connecting with fans during my travels

around the world. It’s crazy for me to say that I’ve been in almost

every country around the world! 

AllHipHop.com: 

As you’ve traveled around the world, what have you learned about the

universal nature of music? 

Flo Rida: 

When it comes to my style, I’m a big fan of OutKast and I’m always trying

different things, whether it’s the melodies or the rhyme patterns. Most

of the people outside of the country understand the music because of

the different melodies I use. So I always try to apply the more melodic

style to my music as well as still keep my core audience where I started

from. Whenever I have a record that gets a lot of exposure around the

world, I take note of the locations where it becomes #1.  

AllHipHop.com: 

When I think of Florida, I definitely think of a lot of the big acts

that have come out of the area – like 2 Live Crew, Trick Daddy and

Trina. Obviously, these artists have opened doors for you, but what

doors do you think you have opened for the artists coming behind you? 

Flo Rida: 

I definitely have to pay my respects to 2 Live Crew. They were known

around the world, which was definitely rare back then. And when I think

about Trick Daddy and Trina, and younger artists like Rick Ross and

Pitbull, they have definitely created a space where anyone who comes

out of Florida can be known around the world. And me, I’ve got to open

that door wider, because I’m a part of that same group now. My eyes

are set on maintaining an international audience, so I think I am helping

push what we do to a higher level on the international level. 

AllHipHop.com: 

Even though you’ve busted down a lot of doors, are there any particular

obstacles that you still have to overcome? 

Flo Rida: 

There is still a lot of work left to do. And right now, I have two new

acts that I am trying to break: Brianna, a female hip-hop artist, and

Get Fresh, an R&B group. I definitely want to pave the way for them,

so they will be able to enjoy careers the way I enjoy mine. I’m definitely

proud of the different accolades. Having almost every album be in the

Guinness Book of World Records, and just having the chance to go

around the world, that’s still humbling.   

AllHipHop.com: 

It is obvious and apparent that you have “the Midas touch,” especially

when it comes to new emerging talent. It is so easy to forget that the

first time I was introduced to Kesha was on “Right Round.”

In addition, my first to Wynter Gordon was on “Sugar.” Talk

to me about the relationships that you have developed with them.  

Flo Rida: 

Both of them are definitely great singers – and I just love being

around talent because I think it rubs off. They have a great passion

for music, and I love to be in the same room with people who have the

same passion as me. There is just a certain aura that you sense in just

working with them. Doing a record with somebody who doesn’t have a record

out, and then seeing it turn into a big success was definitely a blessing

for the both of us. I just definitely wish them the best.  

AllHipHop.com: 

Although there is no such thing as an “overnight success,” the massive

success of “Low” definitely made you a household name in record

time. Why do you think the stars aligned with that particular song? 

Flo Rida: 

It was a fun record, and at the same time, it just reminded me of the

old Miami Bass music, just growing up. I think that was definitely

why it connected so well, because I was very familiar with that sound,

and so were the listeners. For the most part, it is one of those rare

songs that the kids loved, and even the grown-ups. But going back to

my earlier point, when recording that record, I made sure that I attached

myself to being the melody for that record versus just really focusing

on the rap. I just wanted to have fun with that record.  

AllHipHop.com: 

As the undisputed “King of the Club,” why do you think your music

and persona registers with countless millions? What do you think makes

Flo Rida stand out above the rest? 

Flo Rida: 

Well, I definitely do my homework. I started just living in Vegas. I

lived in California for like four years with DeVante of Jodeci. So he’s

a guy who is very musical and I always surround myself around people

who are very musically inclined. I am always studying. If I don’t have

the music with me, I go on the Internet, look at YouTube footage. I

don’t care if it’s of Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, or

Jimi Hendrix. The souls of these artists influenced me. So I try to

pour all of my energy – all of my heart and soul into my music. And

that’s what creates the magic. If you want that success, you have

to sacrifice other things and give music 100 percent of your time.  

AllHipHop.com: 

When you speak about that magic, what do you think makes the perfect

song? 

Flo Rida: 

The spur of the moment. The production. And you’re just feeling great

that day. No writer’s block and you’re just getting in there. To be continued in PART II…

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