Remember Floetry? I am sure you all do since we fell in love with them several years back. The soulful duo of Marsha Ambrosius (“the Songstress”) and Natalie Stewart (“the Floacist”) hit the music scene combining poetry and r&b into a soul-stirring mix. The group began writing songs and performing around London in 1997 and then moved to the states in 2000 writing songs for neo soul artist like Jill Scott and Bilal. The two released their first album in 2002, Floetic and sold over 800,000 copies in the United States. They went on to release two more albums, Floacism a live album in 2003 and Flo’Ology in 2005.
Unfortunately the duo went their separate ways in 2006 and they are now each pursuing solo careers. After a hiatus Natalie is back with her first solo album, Floetic Soul being released on Shanachi Entertainment. The first single “Forever” features Musiq Soulchild and was everything we’ve come to expect from the symmetry of spoken word and blues that made Floetry so appealing.
With her new album out today TheUrbanDaily.com was granted and exclusive preview of the album and interview with Natalie to discuss her inspirations, what she thinks of Marsha’s new music and if there is any chance that they will ever work together again.
Interview by Jazzy F.
“My approach to the manifestation of “Floetic Soul”, has simply been to get out the way and go beyond my comfort zone, making sure to challenge any limitations that I may have placed on myself over time” – Natalie Stewart
TUD: What inspired The single “Forever”?
Natalie “The Floacist”: Forever was inspired by my life, my husband and son. It’s about the unification that comes from a relationship. My husband has been there with me since the beginning of my journey which is why I needed a male perspective. I needed Musiq Soulchild because of the tone and sincerity in his voice.
TUD: As a writer where do you get you inspiration from?
Natalie “The Floacist”: I am always writing, I am not only a recording artist. I write to understand the world. I am inspired to write by everything that is going on around me, by simply existing. I love to write plays, short stories and journal entries.
TUD: What made you decide to finally release a solo project and what was the direction?
Natalie “The Floacist”: I would have been totally at peace if I did not release a solo album. I wanted to share my energy with the fans and let them know that one can deal with such change like the break up of Floetry. I had no pressure in recording the album, I removed all limitations that I put on myself.
TUD: How do feel about the state of the Neo Soul genre?
Natalie “The Floacist”: I have a lot to say about that. I think some of us were naive when the genre was created, a lot of us didn’t want to be referred to as Neo Soul. It was almost like a catch 22. It’s important to belong and have an identity. I feel Neo Soul was more than a genre but a service to humanity. In this generation Hip hop has become mainstream and Neo Soul artist began to feel pressured into feeling if they are down with the mainstream. I was comfortable with a genre that created music that was for the soul. Neo Soul is an important and young genre and still needs some growing and it is very important for us to join together and continue to build it. Neo Soul serves as big a purpose. You can play it around your children and can be played years from now.
“I think Floetry was a stepping stone for her but Floetry is exactly what I wanted to do.”
TUD: You have only three artists featured on “Floetic Soul”, What about these artist made you choose them for your debut solo album?
Natalie “The Floacist”: The features are honored. I chose artists that I believe in what they say. Every artist has a choice in what you write and what you perform. Raheem Devauhn, Musiq Soulchild’s first album is still one of my favorites. The delivery, the swagga on that album is so fly. And Lalah Hathaway and the legacy— I can’t speak higher of what she has done over the years.
TUD: What is the relationship like between you and Marsha now?
Natalie “The Floacist”: We haven’t spoken in years. I learn about what Marsha is doing form the internet and interviews. When I fired [our] manager in 2006 Marsha stopped communicating with me. Marsha needed to release herself from the base of which she came here. Sometimes you have to understand things change. I have known Marsha since I was 11 years old and knew Marsha always wanted to do mainstream R&B hip hop music. I think Floetry was a stepping stone for her but Floetry is exactly what I wanted to do. I don’t think Marsha felt she was being real with Floetry, I think she feels she is being real now. I have always known Marsha wanted to do R&B mainstream music. Floetry was so great because of the magic of two different people creating at the same time and what made it so great it what made it end.
TUD: Have you heard any of Marsha’s new music, and if so what do you think?
Natalie “The Floacist”: I have because people sent it to me. Hearing the music I understand why Floetry broke up. I understand Marsha would have to be solo to deliver the message in the current music she is creating, it isn’t Floetic. I don’t really have a thought in that sense on someone’s expression, she is doing what she wants to do.
TUD: Will there be a Floetry Reunion in the future?
Natalie “The Floacist”: The doors of Floetry is always open for my sister. I will remain loyal to the type of message I want to give so we would have to be on the same page.
TUD: What do you think about the music industry in 2010?
Natalie “The Floacist”: The music industry reflects people. The industry is a module it’s not a living breathing being. 10 years ago I would have told you what people need to do but as a mature adult I am very much into being the difference. I like to make the music I like to listen to more-so than expecting some one to do it for me or getting upset with someone about using the opportunity to do what they want to do. If there are changes to be made it will have to start with the people.
TUD: Will you be touring after the release of “Floetic Soul”?
Natalie “The Floacist”: Oh Yeah. I am a performance artist, I am a live artist. I make an album to send an invitation to come out and see it live. My tour dates will be posted on my facebook and reverbnation pages (Search The_Floacist). I will be on the road starting from Feb until the rest of the year of 2011.
TUD: Who inspired you growing up?
Natalie “The Floacist”: I had a calling in my spirit. I was writing books since I was eight years old and selling them in my school. My mother and my Grandmother are my external inspiration, they were iconic to me. I am a big reader and study of history and time, which made me look at the importance of music. I studied performing arts and theater before i got the musical stage. I like to see people happy and well and I always like to offer something to help manifest that.
TUD: Will The Floacist continue to put out solo music?
Natalie “The Floacist”: Great question. My husband and I were talking about that last night. I think so, I do know I will do it because I respect my audience and when I am away it will only be because I am studying my craft to bring the best for my audience.