Through a grainy image over Zoom, Joyce Cisse - better known as flowerovlove - is sitting cross-legged on her bedroom floor, sporting a bright red jumper that highlights the crispness of a white collared shirt. Joyce is well known for her fashion choices, having previously modelled for Gucci and Pangaia, but though this is a good look, it’s not one she’s chosen for herself: she’s just finished school for the day and is yet to change out of her uniform.
Then, just as our interview begins, someone from Atlantic Records tries to call; life, it seems, really is non-stop when you’re a 16 year old trying to balance a flourishing music career alongside legally needing to still attend your studies. “I’m not really balancing it, I’m kind of just prioritising music,” she notes. “Let’s just say my attendance is really poor!”
Three days prior to today’s call, flowerovlove played her debut London headline show at The Courtyard. Unsurprisingly, Joyce describes it as the best day of her life, and one that she will remember forever. “That sounds cringey but I don’t even care - to hear your lyrics being sung back to you is probably the best feeling ever,” she says with a confident shrug. There’s a youthful elegance to the way she speaks about herself and the music she creates. At an age when most people are confused about what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives, Joyce is overtly confident and self-assured in the choices that she’s made - choices that, even though still a teen, have been a long time coming.
Having grown up in a household with a rotation of One Direction, Justin Bieber and ABBA on the go, Joyce’s childhood dream career was an obvious one. “I’ve always lived by six-year-old me saying that I want to be a popstar,” she smiles. “When you’re younger you always say that, but I truly meant it and I still mean it now.”
“I’ve always lived by six-year-old me saying that I want to be a popstar.”
As she grew older, Joyce became enamoured with Tame Impala, who had a huge influence on the music she would go on to make herself. “My brother was producing music with some of his friends and he was like, ‘Why don’t we do something with you?’ I made a song which was very indie, called ‘Kiss and Chase’, and it became the first song I ever released.” Since then, Joyce’s brother has been at the helm of all production - a sort of London-based echo of Billie Eilish and FINNEAS’ world-beating sibling relationship. “I hope he’s not too busy for me at some point because he’s doing his own thing,” Joyce notes, “but I feel like, as a brother, he’ll always make time. I always want him in the room.”
flowerovlove is a project rooted in nostalgia and the search for pure joy. In debut EP ‘Think Flower’, Joyce collects pieces of her youth and creates a time capsule of her experiences in life. Whether promoting self-love (‘Keep Falling’) or feeling at one with your surroundings (‘Dancing in the Rain’ / ‘Pot of Gold’), the EP is a swelling indie-pop soundscape that occasionally ventures into trip hop, Joyce’s almost-whispered vocals dancing over steady beats and dream-like synths. At its core, ‘Think Flower’ promotes the idea that you should work towards blossoming into a positive mindset that affects not only yourself but the world around you.
“When you’re a child, you tend to be at your happiest because you don’t worry about anything. I try to replicate that feeling of my childhood. Every sound reflects something that was happening in my life at a certain age or era. I feel like I’ve really found my sound and I don’t see myself doing anything other than music ever again,” she says.
It’s a confidence that’s seen flowerovlove stick to her guns in all ways, releasing a steady string of singles following ‘Think Flower’ as opposed to setting her sights on a longer body of work too soon. “I don’t want to put out an album for the sake of it; I’m trying to put out an album that will be Number One. I wouldn’t even want a Number Ten, I’m settling for Number One and that’s it,” she laughs. “I have a lot of singles that are so powerful on their own. They have main character energy and these things need to have their moment, you know?”
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It’s “a reflection of how I’m a regular student on the weekdays but on the weekends I’m Flowerovlove,” she says.
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