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#FMSpotlight: visionnaire – ‘flora.’ (Listen)

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visionnaire

visionnaire leads his music with compassion. 

In a matter of seconds, the singer breaks mindset barriers through encouragement and faith. He pushes others to love themselves to the fullest. Moreso, the New York-based artist helps individuals uplift their voice. With all the madness going on these days, it’s essential to tap into your third eye. By being aware, people are bound to stay ten steps ahead. 

When he isn’t spreading the word about self-love, visionnaire covers society and global issues that affect African Americans. In other instances, he leaves room to express his admiration toward loved ones. 

His latest project, flora. carries several records that emphasize self-growth, self-love, and even self-discovery. For instance, songs like “bask.” and “asé.” stops self-loathing in its tracks and, instead, push you to keep going. Also, the lyrics serve as positive affirmations. One line alone is prone to change a person’s outlook on life for the better. 

 

Sonically, flora. has nostalgic instrumentals that bounce between R&B, afrobeat, pop, and jazz. The whole duration of flora. is happy-go-lucky with a bubblegum-esque. There’s no denying the LP’s colorful sound palette. 

But, the most notable element is visionnaire’s singing. He comprises a sweet-sounding, passionate register whenever it’s time to hop on the mic.  

Natalee Gilbert got the chance to speak with visionnaire about his projects flora. and bloom. You can read the conversation below:

How would you describe your sound/message in flora.?

The sound is all things dope. All things classic when it comes to R&B afrobeats and bringing that to the future. 

Michael Jackson heavily influences me. So when I’m creating music, I think to myself, ‘what would Michael sound like now?’ and ‘How can I channel some of that?’ A lot of what I do is bringing the past to the future and then spreading it around the diaspora. Songs like “bask.” and “asé” are pulling from afrobeats. From Afro-Brazilian music. 

The message has to do with self-love. And discovering self through self-love. Think about it as putting on lenses. These lenses let you see who you are, what you’re about, what, and what matters at the end of the day if you remove a lot of stress, trauma, anxiety, and fear. 

So there’s something there at the end of the day. Right. And that’s the person, whether your inner or higher self, who needs to be watered.

flora., to me, is thinking about the flowers in your mind and watering those flowers so that they can grow.

Influence behind the album?

MANTRABLU, Remi Oz, Sango, Monte Booker. They are innovating musically and are unafraid to experiment sounds. Then, of course, Michael Jackson, who is my ‘why’ when making music. 

But the main factor that influenced flora. was this idea of affirmations. So I created this project with the question, ‘how can I take these phrases that we should be saying to ourselves and present them in a way where you learn the song’s lyrics so quick, and you don’t realize that you’re participating in an affirmation?’

 So I thought about this music as ‘how can it improve my life?’ And then ‘how can I package it in a way where people are now encouraged to connect to that part of the song?

Why did you name the project ‘flora.’?

Everything I do revolves around flowers and plants because I love them. But flora. had to do with where I started. With bloom. the idea was that you can bloom wherever you are (emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). 

You can change, evolve, and overcome obstacles in your life. That album [bloom.] was a loose narrative speaking on the past, present, and future of the black experience. 

The second album [flora.] was like a continuation of that story but from an individual perspective. If I look at people, ideas, thoughts, and aspirations as flowers, what does it look like when you put all these things together? 

And they’re in a garden, right? Maybe that garden is your mind. It’s your self-image, self-esteem, self-worth, what you want to do, dreams, goals. All of these things are just flowers in your mind. Your mind is the garden. And we’re looking at the flora in this garden. 

 

 What do you hope fans get from this project?

I want people to be able to listen to this years from now and say, ‘oh yeah, that’s right. I’m dope’ and ‘The fears, just letting me know I’m alive. It’s making sure that I do whatever I do next right to the best of my ability.’ ‘

These little reminders will help people feel better ultimately and inspire them to crush their goals. 

Favorite song to record:

“commune.” because it’s the most Michael Jackson-type song on flora. When I made it, I had this strong feeling that I would be able to do a lot with it vocally. It was so much fun. I was in my studio, like, ‘yo, I got one, I got one.’ 

My favorite song on the album would probably be “homebody.” “Homebody.” was the first time I wrote a song that was just about me and my desire to stay home.

When I made the beat, I was like, ‘yo, this feels so good. It feels like me.’ It was also my first time working with Saze. We developed a strong friendship over lockdown around topics like mindfulness.

One song off flora. that resonates with you:

“asé.” That song, in a lot of ways, has become the calling card for the album. When people tap into this song, they’re like, ‘yo, like I need to listen to this whole project.’

This record expresses how I feel about life. It’s my outlook on things. It’s how I inspire other people. I’m always the one that’s like, I want the most for you.

Your go-to line from “mimosas”:

“It took a minute/For that pomegranate/To get you up on your old antics.”

Advice to artists creating an album for the very first time?

Dream concisely. Oftentimes as artists, we have big ideas. But sometimes, they need to be scaled down due to lack of budget, etc. So when you dream concisely, you think of that big picture. Then you immediately begin to place creative boundaries. When you start to think this way, it’ll carry into your content because you will hone in on what you want to convey. 

Listen to flora. below:

Breaking free from the concrete with an open ear, idioms and wit, Natalee digs out compelling topics and opinionated reviews on the hip-hop scene. Follow @officialnatag on Instagram to learn more.

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