Florence Rawlings, the latest signing to Dramatico Records (Katie Melua, Marianne Faithfull, Carla Bruni, Gurrumul), is set to become a household name with her impressive debut of authentic soul, raw grooves and rhythm & blues.
Equally at home in the studio or in concert, the 20 year-old Londoner is a natural performer – as will be evident when she takes to the stage at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival, O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park and Guilfest.
Florence first impressed Dramatico chairman Mike Batt at the age of just thirteen when she performed at his house after hearing he was looking for female singers to sign to his label Dramatico. Two of the young singing applicants stood out to Batt immediately, one being a certain Katie Melua and the other Florence Rawlings.
With Florence still so young, it was agreed that she should concentrate on school and finish her studies. Even then, whilst the majority of young teenagers were just being introduced to the real world, Florence sang with a heart and core that suggested she knew it inside out.
Attending music camps and studying the art of singing since childhood, (“I’d sing for whoever was willing to listen… at school, in clubs and bars… anywhere I could”), whilst getting wrapped up in old soul records, the only thing as big as Florence’s love of music was her voice.
With a remarkably fresh but mature delivery Florence’s enormous voice swoops and soars through an impressive vocal range taking inspiration and style from legendary vocalists such as Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy and Martha Reeves.
For her debut album, ‘A Fool In Love’, due this summer, expect gritty arrangements, soulful melodies and vibrant brass work complemented by gospel vocals and addictive rhythms culminating in a blend of raw soul that has been off the airwaves for far too long.
Florence’s first single, ‘The Only Woman in the World’, is a rolling bluesy romp of a song, that blends elements of country and Memphis soul with buoyant horns, rollicking keys, romantic yet raunchy lyrics and even a harmonica bridge that could easily have graced a Motown classic.
As well as singing a collection of powerful, original songs penned by Mike Batt himself – including the gorgeous and moving ‘Love Can Be A Battlefield’, the cool, after-dark Motown feel of ‘Hard To Get’ and the debut single – Florene has discovered gems from days gone by and transformed them with her own charismatic soul style.
No Gladys Knight fan would deny that Florence makes the song ‘Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me’ completely her own. Meanwhile Allen Toussaint’s long-forgotten ‘Riverboat’ has been rescued from obscurity and reinvented with vigorous production, uplifting horns and sleek dark overtones that give the song a lavish, ominous edge. Florence even performs a version of Chuck Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ – following in the potentially daunting footsteps of The Rolling Stones and John Lennon, she manages to make the song her own just as convincingly as rock and roll’s elite.
Little Richard’s description of his own sound sums up Florence’s electrifying style perfectly; “Rock n’ rollin’, rhythm & blues soulin’”. Florence Rawlings is set to be a modern soul star. In the words of the song - “jump on the wagon and join the dance.”