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The Floacist Dishes On Independent Artistry

“Poetic delivery with music intent.” This is the motto Natalie Stewart, better known as The Floacist, has lived by for the past 14 years. Unscathed by the end of former neo-soul duo, Floetry, the London-based vocalist has been making waves on her own, dropping three albums since the group’s demise in 2006.

Her most recent project, Rise of Phoenix Mermaid, has garnered enough buzz oversees to keep her in constant demand here in the United States. Balancing both family life and music, The Floacist said being an independent artist has only allowed her to become closer to her fans.

JETmag.com had the opportunity to catch with up The Floacist to talk Rise of Phoenix Mermaid, Floetry and the ups and downs of independent artistry.

JET: What has been the most difficult aspect of being a solo artist?

The Floacist: With all shifts in time, change is often the part we find the most difficult to deal with.  My main challenge had to do more so with the end of Floetry. Once I embraced and understood Floetry ended, that’s when I came to realize I still had Floetry in me–poetic movement through musical intent. That aspect of the journey was more self-discovery. I wouldn’t call it difficult. These projects have been the most creative control I’ve experienced outside of the first album and even the first Floetry album. I now have Floetry as what I have done. I’ve felt more fulfilled in this part of the journey.

JET: Tell me about the album’s process.

TF: This album has actually been the album I’ve been the most prepared for. It was an intentional album. I think that comes from this project being the first I’ve created with the acceptance and submission to the fact that I am a solo artist.  The title and everything came to me during my journey. Rising of the Phoenix Mermaid represents two sides to myself whether it’s left brain and right brain or body and soul–that’s what the two elements of fire and water represent. The project was produced in two weeks by myself and my dear friend, Chris Davis. In terms of the tracks themselves, I brought together some songs just when Floetry had come to an end. I still had music inside of me. Some of the songs never saw the light of day and they were songs written especially for this project. It was a very cohesive journey.

JET: You dropped the video for “Feel Good” a few months back. Do you plans to release any new visuals and singles?

TF: What’s really nice about the journey of being an independent artist is [creating music] is quite an organic experience. Right now, it’s about releasing the music and allowing it to evolve to capture new fans. There’s an intention for more singles. The radio has already been pushing for “Try Something New (I Do).” There are some pieces where I know I want to create the visual. We’re allowing the audience to cease the art and control where it’s going to go.

JET: Though you’re basking in your solo career, do you hope to achieve the same pinnacle of success as you did within Floetry?

TF: I was looking to create this sound, this genre, to be baptized in poetry and melody. It became what it became through that invention. I’m pretty much in the same space as I was with Floetry. I’m just a solo artist now. The development of Marsha [Ambrosius] creating her sound and doing that, isn’t a part of the equation because I am solo. Floetry wasn’t developed with an intent to be successful, but to introduce a genre.

JET: Marsha has said she isn’t interested in a reunion at this time, but do you see Floetry getting back together in the future?

TF: I understand why that question would be asked. I tried to bring back Floetry on the road. When Marsha went solo in 2006, in 2007 she released an EP called Neo-Soul is Dead. I tried to reunite Floetry three different times over the past eight years. It went all the way to negotiations with Marsha’s manager ,who was my old manager. Marsha doesn’t want to do it. She had to journey into a space where she feels she could do what she wanted to do. She didn’t like the direction Floetry was going in. She didn’t like neo-soul and wanted to crossover into the mainstream. She has every right to continue on her journey.

JET: As you continue to promote your album, do you have any touring plans?

TF: I wasn’t trying to be a performance artist. I’m a poet first.  I will be getting back on the stage sometime this year. Overall, I like being with my family and being available to my family so I can say there’s more I have to share as an artist. I developed this relationship with my fans where there isn’t an expectation for a project. We understand that it will come in time. But, I always have something brewing in my mind.