11th April 2022

Beija Flo: Liverpool’s Own Nightingale

In February, I reviewed Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum. Their intro act was Beija Flo. When I got the chance to interview her later on, I couldn’t have been more excited at the opportunity. I enjoyed her style and references to Liverpool, so I asked her a bit about her career.

What is your main drive to make music?

Expression. I use music, art and performance as a way of unpacking emotions and experiences. Art is a fantastic vessel to explore challenging feelings and situations. It’s a healthy punching bag. 

Which artists have inspired you the most?

I listen to lots of different artists. It’s rare that my attention is caught for more than a handful of songs per artist, but when it does I suppose I fall in love. I’ve always been a huge fan of Rufus Wainwright, he’s a great example of an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve. I also love Vivian Stanshall, Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, Lloyd Cole, Karl Blau, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – to name a few.

Much like your other singles, your new track is visceral and filled with emotion – is there a specific context behind it? A lost love perhaps?

Waiting For The Sun is about lots of things, loss and hope mostly. Finding out that I had MRKH Syndrome at such a young brought a lot of grieving. Particularly at the time I wrote it, I had a lot going on. Lots of heartbreaks and losses of all kinds.

What most attracted you to Liverpool when you chose to study here and what made you want to live here permanently?

The sea. The accent. The giants. Allen Ginsberg is right, it really is the centre of the universe.

Where for you is the music capital of the world?

I’m legally obliged to say the Future is Birkenhead… but I don’t know really, I really don’t care. I love Liverpool. I love London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds. Art is special and art is everywhere. 

Who would you say is the best artist in the world right now? Is there anyone you’re particularly a fan of right now?

Can I say me? No, ok. I’m big into surrounding myself with talented people and I’m very lucky to have some very talented friends. Louie Miles, Astles, Gadzooks, Opus Kink. Mickey Callisto!

Making it in the music scene is obviously a tough job – do you have any advice or anything you’ve learned in particular that you feel any aspiring artist should know?

Plough on. Make sacrifices. Eat veg. Do favours for favours. Be open to advice, but don’t take it as gospel. Follow your instincts. Always find out the names of the sound person and the bar staff. Don’t just be nice, be incredibly nice – no matter what. Make alliances. Share other people’s work. Find time for baths. Go to your mates gigs. Go to strangers gigs. Don’t compete with others. Above all, try to keep on top of your washing.

From listening to your music, it’s hard to say that you fit perfectly into one single genre – do you see yourself stylistically in one music category or do you enjoy your music being hard to define? 

That’s a difficult question really. I’m definitely not one genre, but I also don’t think what I do is just music either. I’m not sure what I am but I enjoy it. I do it because I have to. I don’t really care what other people think of that.

The art exhibition you organised just before the start of the pandemic alongside your track ‘nudes’ was a way of showcasing your past anxieties and mental health problems, particularly around body image. Is this something your music has helped you deal with in general do you think? 

Music and creating has always been a huge part of healing for me. The Nudes exhibition was about a lot of things. It was a time capsule about body image, heartache, mental health, sex, loneliness, abuse, loss and friendship at a specific time. I suppose those are things that come up a lot in my songwriting. I don’t really write songs when I’m happy because I’m off being happy. 

You can catch Beija Flo over the water in Birkenhead at Future Yard on April 22nd.

Cover Image provided by Thom Williams at Sonic PR.