Flo Perlin presents her third album ‘Clay,’ merging heritage and contemporary influences

"This album is dedicated to my nephew, Ezra, whose first year it is in this mad world. I hope that one day he will listen to this album and it will bring him great comfort"
7 June 2024
Photo by Christopher Andreou

London-based singer-songwriter Flo Perlin is set to release her third full-length album, Clay,’a project that showcases her multicultural heritage and diverse musical influences. Born to Iraqi and Belarusian parents, Flo began her musical journey at the age of five with the cello. She later expanded her repertoire to include the guitar, studying under Colombian teacher Cesar Rodriguez-Duran, who also taught Michael Kiwanuka. Rodriguez-Duran’s introduction to Bossa Nova significantly influenced Flo’s distinctive finger-picking style. 

The creative vision came to life at Map Studio in Kentish Town, where the recording magic happened. Mastermind mixer Duncan Thornley and mastering virtuoso Cicely Balston put the finishing touches on the album. Clay, metaphorically named to symbolize human adaptability and growth, delves into Flo’s personal experiences of belonging and transformation. -two highlights from the album – Mother Tongue and Friend Of Mine – cut straight to the heart. 

The first is a wistful look back at the loss of ancestral language, while the second marks a triumphant journey towards self-acceptance. With Kaidi Akinnibi on board, Part Of Me delves into the tantalizing space where love and heartache intersect, leaving an indelible mark. Kaidi Akinnibi brings a rich, eclectic background to Part Of Me, having collaborated with diverse artists such as Tom Misch, Wizkid, Black Midi, and Celeste. Duncan Thornley, Adam Hayes, Jasper Osborn, Ellie Consta, and others brought their A-game to the album, and their combined talents pumped up the overall sound. 

Photo by Sequoia Ziff

Flo Perlin’s previous work has garnered international recognition, with her single Baghdad achieving over 4.4 million streams on Spotify and extensive radio play, including a notable live performance on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show. Festivals and famous venues alike have been treated to her talent – think Cambridge Folk Festival, Wilderness, Celtic Connections, and the Americana Festival. With Clay, Flo Perlin continues her artistic evolution, presenting her most accomplished work to date. When this album drops, music lovers who crave authenticity will finally get their fix of beautifully crafted sounds. 

Drawing inspiration from artists like Zero 7, Laura Marling, Buena Vista Social Club, Suzanne Vega, and Erykah Badu, Flo Perlin has crafted a unique sound marked by her soothing, hypnotic voice and melodic, poetic songs. BBC 6 Music wasn’t overstating it when they called her a born storyteller – her music gets up close and personal, wrangling thorny issues into hypnotic narratives that linger long after the music fades. 

Flo Perlin dedicates Clay to her nephew, Ezra, hoping it will bring him comfort in the future. A huge shoutout goes to the amazing musicians who joined forces on the album, plus Duncan Thornley, her right-hand man in the production booth, and the personal crew of loved ones and mentors who kept her motivated. Kaidi Akinnibi’s creative genius earns our heartfelt thanks. 

Ray Jefford’s guidance was invaluable, and Rebecca Mordan’s inspiration continues to push us forward. Flo also acknowledges the financial support from PRS Women Make Music and the Musicians Union. What strikes you about Flo Perlin’s Clay is how deftly she synthesizes her multifaceted heritage into a singular, sonically striking work that will resonate with listeners far and wide.

instagram.com/flo.perlin

Perlin writes:

This album is dedicated to my nephew, Ezra, whose first year it is in this mad world. I hope that one day he will listen to this album and it will bring him great comfort. I love you too much.

A huge thank you to all the incredibly talented musicians whose instruments grace this album. They have all shared a piece of their character with their contribution. A special thank you to Kaidi Akannibi for featuring on this album, for his limitless musicality and inventiveness as a player which made me shake my head in wonder so many times.

I am grateful to the many friends and family whose love and encouragement helped bring this album to fruition. Too many to list, but you all know who you are. So much love to you all.

To the many listeners from around the world that have supported my music. This album belongs to you as much to me. For those that have reached out and shared stories that have moved me.

I am endlessly grateful to my co-producer/engineer, Duncan Thornley, whose patience, friendship, great musical judgment, commitment and vision have made this album what it is.

I am grateful to Ray Jefford (Personal Manager to Avishai Cohen, Razdaz Recordz), for unknowingly being my artist mentor, helping me to navigate the music industry, build bridges and stay focused on my passion.

Much gratitude to Rebecca Mordan (Scary Little Girls Production) for being my inspirational female role model in the creative industry since I was 16 years old. Thank you for giving me my first ever live performance and for showing me what hard work and commitment can do.

Hugely grateful for receiving funding support from PRS Women Make Music, without which I could not have afforded to record this album. To Musicians Union, for supporting me through all sorts of negotiations.

To my therapist, for being there and baring me with all my complexities. I know I pay you, but still! Last of all and most of all, to my parents, for loving me through everything. For bringing music into my world.

For being my rock every time I have a meltdown. To my two big sisters for inspiring me in so many ways.
It is important that I mention that my ancestors came to Britain as Jewish immigrants from around the world.

Understanding my ancestors’ journeys is part of understanding other people’s journeys and has greatly influenced my music.