The Official Chat with Florrie: "It's taken 10 years to release my debut album"

From playing drums on Girls Aloud's The Promise to a break with a major label, British singer-songwriter Florrie's first album The Lost Ones finally arrives.

For many of British pop's most devoted students, the singer, songwriter, producer and drummer Florrie has been one of the best-kept secrets of the genre for more than a decade. This is about to change.

Today (June 14) sees the release of Florrie's debut album, The Lost Ones, a record that has been at least 10 years in the making and has gone through many different versions and iterations - first with Sony, with whom Florrie signed after releasing a trilogy of acclaimed, experimental indie-pop EPs, and now through BMG and her long-standing partnership with British pop contortionists Xenomania, headed up by Brian Higgins, who has co-produced the entire record alongside Florrie herself.

Finally realised in sparkling, synth delight, The Lost Ones is a concise and cohesive pop record, built on the hope and the promise of a bright new future, no matter how bleak that prospect might seem at times. Built around rollicking 80s-inspired grooves and breathy, indie pop vocals, when we meet Florrie a few days out from the album's release, it seems to just now be catching up to her that it is actually, really going to come out this time.

"It's really crept up on me," Florrie says, having just returned from a stateside tour with Australian artist G-Flip. "I've been in this amazing little bubble, but when I got back yesterday it hit me - holy sh*t! It feels surreal, obviously because I've working on it for such a long time, but it's taken me, and everyone I work with, a very long time to get to this point."

To say that would be an understatement. Born Florence Arnold, Florrie first got her introduction into a pop career during her late teen years, when she was recruited by Xenomania head honcho Higgins to take place in a band the production house were putting together. What marked Florrie out was her skill as a drummer, so she was quickly drafted into the madness of Xenomania HQ.

"I was working at GAP," Florrie remembers, "and also nannying. Brian asked if I wanted to work 3 or 5 days a week...5 please! He asked me if I wanted to start on Monday...yes please! I quit the jobs straight away, obviously."

The band may not have worked out, but Florrie quickly found her feet. Her first official 'job' at Xenomania was to play the drums for Girls Aloud's fourth and final UK Number 1 single, The Promise, an experince Florrie remembers as something akin to "wandering into this fairytale land."

Things only grew from there; her development as an artist started under the tutelage of Higgins, and alongside songwriting cuts (among them Girls Aloud's bravurah comeback single Something New, a Number 2 UK hit in 2012), Florrie signed a deal to release her debut album with Sony. One song from that LP, the bombastic and emotional Little White Lies, was released...and then everything seemed to come to a stop.

"We really believed in that record," Florrie tells us, taking us back to the very first iteration of her first LP. "But I just got paired with a team that [didn't really understand it]. That was the worst part [of the major label process] I think. It was really confusing when Sony just...didn't like it. I haven't really listened to a lot of those songs in a while."

Between then and now, a lot of the material recorded during that time period has leaked, and become precious cargo for many of Florrie's fans, especially considering the quality of the tracks; new-wave banger Stupid Boy sounds like Blondie by way of Cyndi Lauper, while the serene club track Galaxies could have been, in an alternate universe, Florrie's take on We Found Love. 

"I didn't actually know how many of those songs leaked," Florrie says. "But I write very differently now. I have, honestly, learnt so much in the last 10 years, I write very honestly now and I didn't really do that before, I would just make little characters and scenarios up, I think to protect myself. But now I feel a lot more confident in being vulnerable, mainly in the hope my music can help someone else. That's my goal...while also making pop bangers."


And very luckily, one of those old pop bangers has made it onto The Lost Ones, albeit in a new form. The mythical Looking For Love is one of Florrie's best-loved and most notorious leaked demos, an eletronica-synth ballad that still ranks as one of the best Xenomania productions this side of Call The Shots. Re-written and re-recorded for 2024, Florrie says it's inclusion on the album was a no-brainer, "because I love that song, and I really, really wish it could have come out in the Sony days."

Preserved in amber still, though, is Looking For Love's chorus, which reaches to the high-heavens with all the pent up emotion you have when you find yourself in a situation of doubt in a relationship; "Am I looking for love in the wrong place?' Florrie wonders. "Because I had it all, but it went to waste..."

"The vocal you hear in the chorus is actually the original," Florrie reveals. "I couldn't beat it. I tried 100 times, I remember recording it and Brian has a very intense look about him and he just kept pushing me, to the point where I was almost angry that I wasn't nailing it. I wanted to beat it for this new version, but nothing matched up to it."

Fans will also be happy to know a few more of the older tracks rear their head on The Lost Ones; with both I Took A Little Something and Get You Back also re-written and re-produced for 2024, but her expansive (and mostly unreleased) back catalogue has Florrie in a bit of a cinch for her London headline show next week.

"I think I need to do a two hour show to play all the songs people want hear," she says. "It was really nice to do a nod to my favourite [unreleased tracks], because i know a lot of my followers and listeners have been with me for such a long time. It felt like they never really got their time to shine."

It may have taken more than a decade for The Lost Ones to finally make its way out into the world, but now she's got the momentum, Florrie doesn't plan on taking another ten years to issue her second album.

"I'm already working on the second album, yes," she confirms. "I've learned a lot in the past ten years, I've been through a lot, but now I have a really great team behind me."

And is there any chance any more of those old, lost classics could make their way into the light?

"Right now, no," Florrie answers, before suddenly thinking of something. "But you mentioned Galaxies and you've got me thinking...I would definitely consider putting Galaxies out. We could definitely do something great with that..."

The Lost Ones by Florrie is out now via BMG/Xenomania.

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