Flo are well on their way to filling the British girl group void left behind by Little Mix, who are currently on an indefinite hiatus. Fresh on the music scene this year, the British trio has already made waves with their song “Cardboard Box”, which went viral on social media, amassing a billion views on TikTok, and a whopping 50 million streams online. So, it’s no surprise that their nostalgic R&B vocals and dreamy harmonies, with the perfect Y2K twist, have already won fans with the likes of Missy Elliott, Sugababes, and former Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland.
The girl band’s star power has also already caught Stateside attention, bagging them an invitation to perform on the talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” earlier this year. Furthermore, speculation has been swirling that Flo could be opening for one of the most successful artists in the world, Beyoncé, for her hotly-anticipated “Renaissance” tour next year.
Back at home in the UK, Flo’s imprint on the music industry is so exciting that they even recently won the coveted 2023 BRITS Rising Star Award (making them the first-ever group to do so). By this time next year, Flo will undoubtedly be a household name. So here’s everything else you need to know about Flo before the rest of the world does.
Who are the members of Flo?
Downer, 20, attended the famous Sylvia Young Theatre School, which “instilled in [the students] from a young age to be competitive”. She told the Evening Standard that “competitiveness plays a big part in all our lives, and it just makes us more ambitious”. The singer boasts 71.2K followers on her personal Instagram page, which is full of glamorous snaps. She previously worked at retailer H&M on London’s Regent Street.
Quaresma comes from a mixed-race background, born in Kingston-upon-Thames before moving to Mozambique at four weeks old. She emigrated back to the UK with her parents at age five, first to the British countryside and then to London. In an interview with Complex UK, Quaresma said she previously wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher. Briefly, she also wanted to be a 100m sprinter. She grew up listening to African music artists before being introduced to the likes of Etta James and Amy Winehouse by her mother. Quaresma also attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, where she met Downer.
Douglas was born in Eastern Germany before moving to Hertfordshire at eight months old. She attended the independent day school Haberdashers Aske’s in Elstree. Her mother is former sprinter Stephi Douglas, who represented Great Britain at the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. Douglas had previously seen small-screen television fame after competing in and winning the second series of the CBBC competition series “Got What It Takes?” in 2017.
How did Flo get together?
Downer ans Quaresma would regularly cross paths and bond over their love for music and singing during auditions they attended at the stage school, Sylvia Young Theatre School. They met their final member, Douglas, after discovering videos of her singing on social media. The then 16 and 17-year-olds caught the attention of music manager Rob Harrison, who had a “vision for a modern, empowered and enlightened girl group”. Following a slate of singing auditions, the girl group Flo was officially formed in 2019.
Flo have all attributed their love of R&B and their strong ambition to their mothers. “We have all been raised by predominantly single parents, so we know what it’s like to be a strong woman. We’ve seen it our whole lives,” Downer recently told The Huffington Post. “They really instilled in us a drive to achieve whatever you want to do.” Flo are so close that they all have matching “3” tattoos.
What is Flo’s style of music?
Flo are predominantly an R&B group, but with a Y2K overhaul. “We are young Black women navigating life and musicians finding our voice and sound through R&B. Pop means popular, and R&B could be pop, but people need to give it the same love and chance,” the trio recently said in a statement. Since signing with Island Records, the same music label as Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Shawn Mendes in 2019, they have been perfecting their sound with producers such as Aston Rudi and Lauren Faith. Most noticeably, singer-songwriter MNEK, who has also worked with Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa, produced several tracks on Flo’s EP “The Lead”, such as “Cardboard Box” and “Immature”. They will be releasing their first album in 2023.
Who are Flo’s musical inspirations?
Talking to Complex UK, Flo expressed that American R&B artists really inspire them. “I think, as a group, we would really love to have Doja Cat feature on a song. Also, Megan Thee Stallion, SZA, Summer Walker… American R&B is what inspires us and where we draw a lot of our inspiration from,” they told the publication.
How did Flo go viral on social media?
Their debut single, “Cardboard Box”, was released in March 2022 and took TikTok immediately by storm. The song was inspired by the act of moving on from a cheating partner, making it relatable to everyone from millennials to Gen-Z and immediately raising Flo’s profile as the hottest new girl group on the scene.
Flo explained to The Line Of Best Fit: “Cardboard Box is one of the first songs we wrote as a group, and during the process, we opened up about relationship struggles and experiences of moving on from an ex. It was a special bonding moment, and feels fitting that it’s our debut single!” Like Cat Burns, who also found fame via viral TikTok song, “Go”, the group’s relateable lyrics saw them catapulted to success.”We are over the moon about our first child entering the world, and we want people to feel refreshed and empowered – like it’s okay to close a bad chapter of your life!”
Following the success of “Cardboard Box”, its accompanying music video was released in July 2022. Shortly after, Flo released their extended five-single debut EP, “The Lead”, including the songs “Immature”, “Summertime”, “Feature Me”, and “Another Guy”. The songs’ themes are empowering and, whether sad or happy, able to elicit enough emotion to get you on the dancefloor.
Who are Flo’s celebrity fans?
Despite being a relatively new group, they have already won the endorsement of various R&B legends, including SZA, Missy Elliott, and former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland. Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock are also fans and have been promoting Flo’s music on their social media accounts. Proving they have already earnt the respect of those in the business, their Instagram followers include the likes of Charli XCX, Sam Smith, Meghan Trainor, and Jojo.
In particular, Downer and Quaresma admitted they screamed in delight when they learnt of the praise they received from Victoria Monet. “It doesn’t feel real to think that SZA was on her phone on Instagram, and she actually reshared, followed and pressed buttons to type words about us,” Douglas told COmplex. “It’s crazy. We sound crazy. And the Sugababes, we met them a few days ago, and they’re so lovely!”