flowerovlove – Coming up Dahlias
March 8, 2023
Culture & Music
Joyce Cisse – professionally known as flowerovlove – starts every day with the intention that it’s going to be good. She tunes out the news to protect her mental health and makes a routine of manifesting her dreams. At just 17, the easy-listening energy of the South Londoner’s bedroom pop is a mirror to her self-assured, astute demeanour. After the success of 2021’s debut EP Think Flower, and the release of her latest music videos Hannah Montana and Get With You, floweroflove is blooming like a big bunch of her favourite dahlias.
India Hendrikse: Hi Joyce! What have you been doing today?
Joyce Cisse: Hi! I’ve just been sleeping actually because we haven’t slept in 72 hours! There’s been a little bit of sleep on the plane but the flight is only three hours long. I’ve just come from Stockholm.
IH: This is your first tour. Has it felt nerve-wracking?
JC: I’m always nervous before I go on stage, but then when I do go on stage I’ll realise everything is fine. So it’s just the waiting beforehand where it’s like ‘OMG!’ – it gives you time to overthink stuff.
IH: Are you an overthinker?
JC: I’m not an overthinker but it gives me time to think and I don’t like to think, I just like to do.
IH: Well the world’s gone mad, so there’s a lot to think about.
JC: I don’t watch the news, that would be so detrimental for me. I don’t keep up with anything.
IH: Don’t you ever wonder what’s happening?
JC: I’m quite content with not knowing because news doesn’t do my mental health any good. I love thinking about the good things in life, it keeps me afloat.
IH: Being a young artist, does it ever feel frustrating that age is so tied to your identity?
JC: No, because I think the younger you are the cooler you are and that’s the way the industry works. It is what it is.
IH: How do you hope your music changes and evolves as you get older?
JC: I hope for it to grow in the sense that there’s more people listening to it and more people connecting with it, but I don’t think I would change stuff lyrically that much because I like the identity that my music has already, which is about self-love. But I do write about life experiences so it will definitely have some sort of element of change because I’m going to experience different things. I can’t say I wouldn’t have a whole rebrand because I write in the moment so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Burberry shirt & dress, Archive vintage earrings
IH: How do you create a sense of self-love for yourself?
JC: I would say it’s something I actively work on, but also I like taking care of myself. I feel if you start your day by thinking about yourself, stretching and brushing your teeth or something, that’s already self-love. A lot of people lay in bed for a bit and think about the not-so-great things that happened yesterday.
IH: What do you love doing for you?
JC: I love journalling, it’s really fun. Honestly, going on walks in the park is really fun. I also love dressing as my inner child and wearing clothes that make me happy. How I dress now is probably how younger me would want to dress and what felt good to her.
IH: Do you feel you have more of a sense of identity now compared to when you were a kid?
JC: Definitely I have more of a sense of identity. I was growing up in a majority white populated area and you couldn’t really be yourself and had to look like them and dress how everyone else did, but now I’m dressing how she (me) wishes she could dress.
IH: And you’ve only got a year left of high school. How does it feel leaving school?
JC: I’m ready to move on. I’ve been in school for most of my life and I feel like it just takes up so much of your time. At my school I don’t even have many friends because people don’t really know how to approach me. All of my friends go to different schools. I’m very much in and out of school.
Schiaparelli jacket & skirt, Christian Louboutin shoes, Ann Demeulemeester hat
Chloé top & trousers; Cartier Agrafe necklace & bracelet in ro1s71e gold & diamonds,
Juste Un Clou earrings in 18K yellow gold & diamonds
Gucci suit, shirt & tie
IH: I know you work with your brother a lot. Who else inspires you?
JC: I’d say he’s my main influence, but also Tame Impala is a massive influence. The first time I listened to a Tame Impala album I felt my life had changed. I’d never listened to psychedelic rock music in my life and when I heard it I was like, ‘Wow, not only pop music can be popular’. I feel like a lot of people think that’s the only music that can be popular, but good music can be popular.
I grew up on straight pop, Justin Bieber and One Direction. So being able to discover that world made me more open-minded and made me realise the different music and sounds I could make too.
IH: Have you met any of the people you grew up watching yet?
JC: I met Zendaya, who I watched on Disney Channel growing up. But I didn’t really fangirl as much as I thought I would, it was really casual. The day I meet Harry Styles though, it’s going to be great. But I can’t really fangirl because I want to be friends with him.
IH: Is nervousness or shyness something you feel very often?
JC: You know what, yes recently. Since my song I Love This Song came out in February, I’ve started to feel way more nervous and shy about things. I think it’s because there are a lot more people watching me since I released that song. But I enjoy it. But you know how everyone has those days where they’re not really in the mood and don’t want anyone to look at you? People always look at me every day. It’s just because of how I look, not even to do with music. If I go anywhere people will just stare. Sometimes it’s annoying but I do understand that people are like,
‘Oh she’s interesting to look at,’ which is fair enough.
IH: Do you sometimes just want to be undercover so people don’t find you interesting?
JC: Yeah but I also wouldn’t like to look uninteresting because I don’t like not looking interesting. So if I was to do my hair differently I wouldn’t feel confident in myself.
IH: Amongst all the busyness, what keeps you grounded?
JC: I like to meditate a lot. And also, coming home and getting shouted at by my mum every day. Apparently I don’t do anything around the house. Coming home and realising how messy my room is, I do actually like doing chores. Those things make me feel 17… that’s the best way to describe it.
IH: Pivoting back to your music. I loved Get With You. What’s the reaction been like so far?
JC: I’m glad with the reaction. I thought people wouldn’t like it because it’s too different but everyone’s liked it because it’s catchy and everyone’s saying it’s too short – so that’s always a good sign. I actually wrote the song in April and wrote it in notes on my phone, just the first verse and the chorus and then in June I recorded it. When I was writing it I didn’t have an intention of what it was about and it was only later that I realised what it meant.
IH: How do you get ideas for music?
JC: I love going on car rides. Not long ones, just around 30 minutes and looking at London – sometimes it just gives me a feeling of warmth and that inspires a lot of my songwriting too. I like sticking my head out the window like a dog.
IH: Were there songs your family listened to while you were growing up that shape your music now?
JC: Yes definitely. My mum would always play Boney M and ABBA. I still listen to them both now and love the vibes that they give. I still feel nostalgia when I listen to them and the feeling I want to create in my music is nostalgia.
Maximilian jacket; Clash de Cartier earrings in 18K rose gold
IH: You talk about nostalgia, but I suppose for people older than you, their nostalgia is completely different. For your nostalgia, are you speaking to Gen Z?
JC: Yes. But I feel like my music has a particular sound where I could reach any generation and they can connect their own memories to it. What I say lyrically is never very specific to our time now.
IH: When you’re trying to switch off with music, what sort of ambience do you have around you?
JC: I’m an AirPods girl. I listen to frequencies, I feel like they keep me going when I need it. Or I listen to a little talk; not really podcasts but an audiobook. Or affirmations telling me that I’m amazing.
IH: What’s one of your favourite affirmations that you find helpful?
JC: ‘I’m grateful for where I am now but I’m eager for more’, and also
‘I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be’ and ‘everything’s always working out for me’.
IH: And finally, do you believe in manifestation?
JC: I do, I really do. I feel like everything that’s already happened to me, I’ve manifested. When I first wanted to get into modelling I journaled down ‘I want to model for Gucci’ and then I did a Gucci campaign two months after. I still have the journal, I keep everything.
Photographer: Jack Grange
Stylist: Grace Joel
Makeup: Laila Zakaria
Hair: Hirokazu Endo
Set: Jess Runciman at Fluoresse
Photographer’s assistant: Ollie Radford
Stylist’s assistant: Stephanie O’Carroll Fitzpatrick
Tailoring: Yuki Honjo-Archer
Special thanks: Labyrinth Photographic