Florence Arman grew up steeped in music and culture. Splitting her time between the UK (with her vocal coach mum) and Germany (with her composer and conductor dad), she's since lived in Amsterdam and Austria too - and those are just the places she's told us about. One of her brothers is a jazz guitarist, the other a songwriter and producer. She has a whopping 63 cousins, many of whom are also musicians. It's a lot to take in, a lot to live up to. Thankfully, she's grasping the challenge with both hands, having found success in writing for the likes of The Kooks, Rhys Lewis and Crystal Fighters. Her debut single meanwhile, the delightful 'Naked', is an intimate portrayal of a not so great relationship, told via delicate melodies and rich instrumentation. Give it a listen below, and find out more about Florence - who you'll be hearing a lot more from over the coming months.
Hi Florence, how's it going? How's your summer shaping up so far?
Hi! Very well, thank you! I haven't taken any time off yet, but it's been such good fun and so exciting working on the new music that I couldn't bring myself to think about holidays yet. I'll be visiting my friends and family soon though, hopefully.
What first attracted you to creating your own music - is it the songwriting element that drew you in, or performing?
I suppose it must have been songwriting. Writing was always very therapeutic, and I used to just write to get something off my chest - like if the boy I liked in school didn't talk to me at lunch, that was pretty heavy stuff.
It sounds like music is a real family business for you. Are you all competitive?
Haha! Luckily we all do something slightly different, so we can all collaborate peacefully. But it's definitely really motivating to have such amazing musicians in my family, and it makes me want to get better at what I do too, so I don't bring shame to the family name.
Can you recall the first song you ever wrote? What do you most enjoy writing about?
Yes, I can, and it was horrific. I was 9, and I had just moved to Germany to live with my father, and decided to process that change in an embarrassing song. It was about mountains, I think.
Did spending your teens between London and Germany help broaden your horizons, do you think? It must've thrown up some great experiences.
It definitely did. I think moving around at that age opened up the world to me in a way. I think it made the idea of packing up and going to live somewhere else less daunting.
What did it mean in a practical sense? Were all your trips to London holidays, or did you have to enrol in school and stuff?
Yes, I went every holidays to visit my mother, who at the time was living in London. She actually tried to get me to move to London, but I didn't love the idea at the time. I had an entrance exam for a school there, and I wrote all the wrong answers on purpose and wrote a long angry teenagery essay about how I hated the school system in the UK, and they ended up accepting me. But I didn't move in the end.
How did you end up living in Amsterdam?
I always had an obsession with Amsterdam, I just thought it was the most beautiful city ever. When I was 18, I was playing in a band, and my drummer told me that his cousin was living in Amsterdam and was looking for an au pair. So I went to live there for a bit and had a wonderful time.
Where are you based now?
At the moment I am based in Vienna, but I go backwards and forwards to the UK.
How do you find writing with other musicians, do you enjoy the collaborative process? Is it something you've done a lot of?
Yes, for the last probably four years or so I've just been writing for other artists. I think it's so interesting to get into someone else's head and to write with them from their perspective. It's also really interesting to see how everyone has different preferences and musical 'no-goes', like chord progressions that they particularly like or dislike. But if you're doing lots and lots of sessions without writing for anyone specifically, it's hard to be inspired all the time, and then you're inclined to sort of resort to writing patterns and 'rules'. But I always love writing, and enjoy the challenges as well - blows the cobwebs out of the brain.
Is there anyone you'd particularly like to work with in the future?
I'm a bit in love with Mark Ronson, so probably him.
Do all your songs have a similar fingerprint, something that's uniquely you? Or are you more eclectic?
Yes, I'd say so. It's always hard to hear your own music somehow, but I think I have a specific idea of what I like with regard to melodies and lyrics.
What do you do for fun?
I really enjoy good food, that's probably my greatest passion. But I also love designing clothes and anything art and crafty.
Florence Arman's debut single 'Naked' is out now.