Ric Flo is a rap artist and creative director of the hip-hop collective Jungle Brown. Ric uses the art of rap to empower foster children through telling his story in foster care and using his life experience to help them unleash their creativity.
SoundStorm is proud to partner with Bournemouth Council’s Looked After Children team. We were delighted to have the chance to collaborate with Ric Flo, a Bournemouth careleaver himself, who delivered a Rap Songwriting workshop to a group of students.
As part of our ‘Meet a Musician’ series, we spoke to Ric about what rap music means to him, the ‘War of Art’, and a certain Ms. Guppy…
Hi Ric! You speak a lot about the importance of giving back to the community through ‘rap therapy’.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience of rap music empowering young people in care?
I use my music to remind young people from care that they’re not alone in how they feel because I have been there and had similar experiences.Young people often open up to me because I have be open enough to share my personal experiences with them which they can relate to. This is a connection that carers and social workers can’t have.
Through seeing how young people have connected to my music or have asked me how I dealt with leaving care, I have realised that rap is not only a fun and therapeutic tool to express myself but can also help young people express their emotions.
My first experience of this was in Swansea where I saw how young people loved my music and wanted to express their journey. That experience was the seed to push me to know I wanted to do more of this now.
What inspires you as an artist?
Right now I’m particular inspired by the idea of ‘Home’ which is a recurrent, complex and predominant theme within the workshops I did last year. My next solo project will explore that theme as a careleaver.
What has been your proudest moment as a music educator?
Overall seeing the transformation of young people from start to finish in a workshop is amazing as music always makes them come alive! When there has been enough funding, it’s beautiful to see young people having the chance to go into a recording studio to record their material. It means that young people get to be part of the whole process of creating music from writing, recording, performing, and to have a physical memory to remember the whole experience.
Also as of late, a young person messaged me to thank me for recommending them a book called ‘The War Of Art’ which helped them to write their own book! That made my day knowing that a book that help me when I felt I was ‘losing my creativity’ could help someone else as much as it helped me.
You recently did a workshop with some young people in the area; how has it been returning to Bournemouth?
I hold Bournemouth close to my heart as it was where I was raised. The first time I came back last year to talk about my experience in care, had me emotional as I reflected on life coming back round full circle. Its always nice coming back and feeling the fresh air which you don’t get in London city!
You mentioned in your talk ‘Creativity for Change’, that your art teacher at school made a huge difference in restoring your confidence in your own creativity.
What advice would you give to any young people who might be lacking in creative confidence?
Hone-in to what inspires you, immerse yourself in it, practice it! This will start to spark your creative vision and your own unique angle. Self belief and perseverance is key but also find a tribe you can thrive with, a supportive team who you can bounce off.
My art teacher (Ms. Guppy) was always supportive, caring and patient and that impression has stuck with me until this day!
SoundStorm is currently in talks with Ric to plan more workshops and programmes for 2018-19; email firstname.lastname@example.org to register interest.
In the meantime, visit Ric’s website and follow him on facebook for more upcoming gigs, workshops and talks.