Hearing Flo Morrissey for the first time is like taking in a big breath of fresh air. At only 20 years old, she possesses an overwhelming maturity and writes songs that are full of a depth and wisdom that seem to far surpass her years.

Her songs carry a folky edge and cinematic layers that make it difficult to compartmentalise her sound into one category, a task even the singer finds challenging: "it sounds really pretentious, but a French musician said to me about a month ago that he would describe my music as 'dentelle' which means lace in French, and I like that because lace is delicate and fragile but has this intricate beauty to it that is woven, without being all particular about it. But I liked that as a description because it is a delicate and raw sound. I like to think that with those things in my music, that's really what I like and what I like in music is that imperfection sometimes, so people can relate to it. I really think that is important."

Growing up in a large family, Flo Morrissey originally set out into the world of music at the tender age of 14, uploading her own songs (and covers of classical songs such as 'The Lord Bless You and Keep You') onto MySpace and put out her own home-made videos on Vimeo and YouTube, and is now working up to the release of her debut album, Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful.

The 405 sat down to have a lengthy chat with the charming, softly-spoken songstress ahead of her supporting slot for Tobias Jesso Jr to talk about the last twelve months, the songwriting process and what it was like recording in LA.


"In terms of being more a film score-orientated work, I feel it's been important to build a world around the music. It sounds annoying but things like Instagram are really important especially if you use them in the right way. So I think visually I kind of pictured something."

How are you feeling about the album coming out?
I'm really excited. One of the songs 'Show Me' I actually wrote when I was 15. It's been 5 years sitting with it, so it feels not quite like giving birth to something but I'm ready to let the songs go. But, it is strange because I feel I relate to that song more now than when I was younger, and I don't really know why. They don't right now feel annoying to sing again and again, but there was a stage where I thought it was getting a bit annoying. But it feels different when you share it with other people, you see them in a new perspective.

Do you think recording in LA had any effect?
I wanted to make sure I didn't just hone in on being a folk singer, and I felt the songs were really asking for more of that arrangement rather than stripped back, but we still managed to keep the same realm of where the demos were coming from - and they were stripped back and raw and me in my bedroom. And I feel they still have that underlying sense to them, but they were asking for strings. So maybe it was California, or maybe it was Noah Georgeson.

What was it like working with him?
It was amazing! I've loved his stuff for a long time, since I was 10 I was a big fan of Devendra Banhart and Noah has done all of his records. And I was also a big fan of his own record, which not too many people know. And he did Joanna Newsom's first record, so it was really special to be able to meet him and write with him and we hadn't met before we started. It was a gamble, but I had a good feeling about it and luckily we really got on.

Before you went to LA, you say that you didn't want to make a straight Folk record, but did you have any other idea of how you wanted this album to come out?
In terms of being more a film score-orientated work I feel it's been important to build a world around the music. It sounds annoying but things like Instagram are really important especially if you use them in the right way. So I think visually I kind of pictured something. I think my underlying sense was really dictated by the title, and really sums it up you know Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful. On the surface the songs are maybe sad or depressing but I don't want to be a depressing girl with a guitar and I feel that title really brings it together. Like, my whole thing and my whole message is that even when you get older and you have to work at things a little bit more you can make anything beautiful. Without being too cringy about it, even things like sadness have their own beauty and imperfections within it. And I think that's the goal I within it, and seeing them in that way.

And what does the songwriting process involve for you?
I usually start with the title. Like if I'm watching a film, or having this conversation between you and me, I'll be thinking of something and then on my phone in a second writing it down. Like even if it's just a line, I feel that's a good starting point for me. Yes, as I've got older it's changed and I've had to adapt a little more and I think sometimes the music will come first or the lyrics or it comes together at the same time. It really changes.


"I always knew I didn't want to go to University, I left school at 17 because of that. It was a bit of a gamble. But I've always been really set on it. There was really no question for me."

Do you find you use songs as an outlet for feelings?
Yeah definitely. It's kind of a diary.

Sometimes people say that try to distance themselves from their work.
But I feel they're just saying that to be honest. They're lying to you. But I think that, also as I get older, it's something I'm removing myself from more, but I feel when you're first starting it's kind of all you really know and all you can use and know how to use and as I get older I'm more aware of other people or it's less about yourself. It can be quite an egotistical thing, singing and songwriting, and I find when I remove myself the most that's when the best things come. I feel like with anything, like when you're writing, when you are so in your head that like oh, I'm meant to be finishing this today or how is this going to turn out for me. But when you're not aware or 'in' yourself, that's when the best things come. Trying not to think too much about who is going to listen or what I'm writing. Often I don't even know what I'm trying to say until afterwards. It's kind of more of a lesson learned.

Do you ever wonder what you'd be doing if you weren't a musician?
I always knew I didn't want to go to University, I left school at 17 because of that. It was a bit of a gamble. But I've always been really set on it. There was really no question for me. I feel if I wasn't I'd be a yoga teacher or a photographer. Or doing French of Ethnomusicology at University or world music. Something completely different. If I did go to University I'd do French. Often I think people go to University for the wrong reasons and it's never really appealed to me.

How did you get into music? Do you remember the first song or artist that really inspired you?
I think - before I even heard anything in the chart - when I was about 2, I think Sleeping Beauty and Disney in general was a big thing for me. Like the classics, Snow White as well. Then I really was into Top of The Pops - I never went, but I wish I did. I also did a cover of Bob Dylan when I was 7, because my dad always encouraged me to cover different things when I was younger, so at a talent show I did 'Maggie's Farm' and my dad was like "wear a cowboy hat and cowboy boots!" But I was classically trained when I was younger, and I always thought I was going to be an opera singer, and then I started playing guitar and it all changed.


"I still get worried and nervous, but it all came together at Green Man and the audience was lovely and the sun was shining and it really felt good."

You're from a big family - one of 9 - often it's the case is that siblings inspire one another.
Absolutely! They still inspire me. I'm the second oldest, so most of them are a lot younger than me. I'm still watching them grow up, and I'm very close to all of them and are my biggest source of inspiration. They make me who I am. And they're all very creative, so maybe I'll bring them on tour one time as backing singers. And my older brother got me into music, he got me into Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and all that kind of thing.

In the last 12 months, your life has changed, have there been any particular highlights?
I really loved Green Man Festival. I hadn't ever toured until I toured with The Staves about two months ago, so I'd done like one off shows before. I still get worried and nervous, but it all came together at Green Man and the audience was lovely and the sun was shining and it really felt good. And seeing the video for 'Pages Of Gold' video for the first time was very special.

Finally, in the hypothetical situation where there was a fire, and you could save one record, what would it be?
That's a really good question... It would be good if it was a compilation!

That's cheating!
It's so difficult! Probably a Beatles record, because they have so many feelings and emotions to them. I know it's clichéd - but you just can't beat them. The Beatles or Jeff Buckley's Grace.


Flo Morrissey's debut album, Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful, is set to be released on June 15th via Glassnote Records. She plays The Courtyard Theatre in London 18th June, tickets available here.

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