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Women Making History: Phlo Finister

Twenty-year-old R&B singer Phlo Finister is determined to bring the ’60s Youthquake movement back to the forefront of our consciousness. The Oakland-born, LA-based artist might be just the person to do it. After leaving home at age fifteen, the past five years have seen her working as a model, a fashion stylist for Def Jam artists, and a singer. Her new EP, Crown Gold, features covers of ’60s favorites “Bang Bang” (originally Cher, covered more famously by Nancy Sinatra) and “Riders on the Storm” (The Doors), along with several other original tracks, including one that samples Tupac (“Hail Mary”). We bring you our exclusive interview with Phlo, and the new EP below:

What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?

Diana Vreeland. Complete icon – fashion, print, business, woman.
You grew up singing in church where your grandfather was a pastor.  Did you know then that you would want to go on to become a singer?

No not really, but I got over any fear I might have had of preforming in front of people.  And found enjoyment in it.


How has singing in church as a child influenced your music and development as an artist?

Classic influences, songs, the way they are are sung and why they are sung.  I didnt know it then, but it stays with you.

You are from Oakland and later moved to Los Angeles – how has growing up in California affected your sound?

LA really shaped my sound, I was young in Oakland, but I think the realities of a city like that stay with you…  LA a real place too doe.  Just a mix of everything west coast I guess.


While you were in High School you moved in with your best friend’s family and your friend’s mother was Teena Marie.  How did spending time in a musical home with a great artist like Teena Marie have an influence on you?

I was blessed to have such a great best friend.

I love the way you mash up different sounds and styles.  How did you develop this unique sound?

I’m really particular about the things I like.   I’m more of a visual person when it comes to sound. I like it like my fashion – mod.

You call yourself a Youthquaker – tell us about Youthquake 2.0 and where you see yourself fit in.

It’s something going on with the youth.  Being who you want to be.  It’s powerful when you use your creativity. It’s a movement, not like Youthquaker is a movement, but just all these kids not afraid to be themselves, that’s a Youthquaker.

I read in an interview that you’re trying to redefine what a sex symbol is by making it more about sex appeal and not taking your clothes off, which is very refreshing. Why is this important to you?

It’s important to maintain the mystery.  It’s like hiding behind my shades.  Why isn’t that beautiful anymore?

Before you began your music career you also were a model and stylist. Were you always interested in fashion? How did you become involved in the fashion industry? Do you still have an interest in working in the fashion industry?

I  started out doing modeling with friends. I always had a strong opinion on fashion so I used my personal style to create my music. I always look to designers for inspiration like Betsey Johnson and Pam Hogg or Prada – they’re my favorite.   They inspire all my art – to me, to work in the “fashion industry” is my music…

What’s your favorite song that you’ve written?
My favorite songs I’ve written have yet to be released so you’ll have to wait til poster girl comes out .
Who do you want to work with?

Missy Elliot… She’s dope.

What part of writing music and singing is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
It’s all a challenge.  The creating process is strange, like you definitely have to have an a abstract mind to make the music that a billion people relate to and feel as if they know you…  But if they relate to it, it can’t be that abstract right?
Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in the music industry?
Do everything yourself.  That way when things do start to move YOU have the power to shape your career, not let someone else own it…
Follow Phlo on Twitter @phlofinister and on tumblr
Check out her new EP, Crown Gold:

Check out these videos!

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