Exclusive: One on One With Flo Rida

Tramar Dillard AKA Flo Rida has the unique distinction of being one of the very few artists to have a triple platinum debut single. “Low” from Flo’s first album “Mail on Sunday” took off like a rocket spawning 2 remixes as well as the record for longest running number  1 single of 2008.  An international sensation it comes as no surprise to find various adaptations of the catchy tune performed by amateurs on YouTube.  Surprisingly enough most covers are performed with an acoustic guitar giving the hit a “Country Western” twang.Flo’s sophomore album “R.O.O.T.S.” gave the Carson City Florida native a second hit single in “Right Round” a duet with “Ke$ha” .  The critics may not have loved the single but it found its place on the billboard charts adding to Flo’s string of hits.  We caught up with Flo at a fundraiser for the “Voice of an Angel” Foundation, where he was set to perform his latest smash “The Club Can’t Handle Me”.  A rising star with several awards and hits to his credit we set out to find out a bit more about the man behind the music.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
I would have been an entrepreneur but I would have definitely still been in the entertainment business.

Is that desire what drove you to starting your own label?
For me it’s about the freedom of doing business my way.  Owning my own label allows me to nurture my artists by giving them true artist development, which I feel is missing in today’s music industry.  By me being an artist myself, I know how important it is.  I am interested in making career artists.  My company International Music Group will lay that foundation for our artists and producers, giving them every opportunity to succeed.

What are your goals for your Label?
My goal for my label is to find the most creative artists and make records that will be big internationally.  I want my artists to make music that will touch the world.  So, world get ready…  International music Group and Strongarm Management got some big things in store.  I’m very excited!

What can we expect from your artists?
You can expect real artistry from our artists.  Nothing leaves my building unless it’s right.  You can expect the total package from each artist, which consist of big records, polished performances and energetic shows.

As an artist what inspires you the most?
The experiences of life.  I have been blessed in having my successes take me around the world.  So, I get to see many things, in many places which have directly inspired my music.

What would we be surprised to find on your Ipod/Mp3?
Gospel music.  It’s so inspirational to me.

I came across “Come With Me”  a hot track on your latest LP  and I detect a bit of Tupac’s Hail Mary. That’s an unlikely choice for what appears to be a love song, what inspired this choice?
When you’re making a record about love, you want know that the person you’re with will be there through all the hills and valleys of life.  That’s really important to me. I am a big fan of Tupac and thought it would be great to do something creative with the sample, use his voice in a way people wouldn’t expect.

One of my favorite tracks on the new album is “Why you up in here?” featuring Gucci Mane, Ludacris and Git Fresh.  How did this collaboration come about?
I’ve always admired Ludacris as an artist.  With Gucci, I have an appreciation for his music.  Plus, the ATL shows me so much love when I’m out there, so it was only right to make a hit record with two of the best in the game.  Then, I had to put Git Fresh on there for the ladies.  Those dudes are so talented…their album is coming soon and it’s going to be crazy!

Are there any artists you would like to work with but haven’t yet?
Outkast, Beyonce and Cee Lo.  They are all so talented.

There are several unique covers of your songs on YouTube, (mostly acoustic) how do you feel about having your music “covered”?
It’s interesting that we are talking about this, because I was in my hotel room during Super bowl Weekend in Dallas this year and I was online looking at video that fans did of my single “Who Dat Girl” featuring Akon.  They all did such a great job, it’s very flattering.  It let’s me know that I went into the studio and did my job.  That inspires me to make even bigger records for my next album “Only One Rida (Pt.2)” coming soon.

Many  successful and “covered” artists  lend their time and efforts to non-profit organizations. How important is it to give back?
Giving back is one of the most important things we can do.  The kids coming behind us are our future, their success effects us as well as them.  So, we have to give them hope.

How did you get involved with Voice of an Angel?
I found out about the charity through a business associate and was later approached to be a part of the event.  It was one of the best things I did to start the year off.  I hope to bring more awareness to the charity and the cause through music.

Are there any other charities which you will lend your talents to?
Yes, I started a charity called “Big Dream 4 Kids Foundation.”  My goal was to let kids know that if you dream it, you can be it.  I want them to know that they can make it out of the hood and be very successful.  They can beat the odds.  With my foundation, we will be doing big things this year with out reach programs, free concerts in the inner cities and mentoring at elementary, middle and high schools.  We are going to be host sport tournaments throughout the year as well.  “Big Dreams 4 Kids Foundation” is going to be very busy this year.

Did you make any New Years Resolution’s? If so, did you break them?
My resolution was to just stay positive.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to be in the music industry?
First, make sure that this is really what you want to do, because you will have to make many sacrifices. Second, you have to be very creative.  Superstars don’t follow trends, they set them.  Third, you must have an incredible work ethic.  This is a 24 – 7 – 365 job.  If music is not your passion, it won’t work.

Grammy nominated, People’s Choice award recipient Flo Rida is a man on a mission. With humility and limitless talent he continues to stake a lasting claim to the billboard charts and airwaves.

Flo Rida’s latest album “Only one Flo: Part 1” is available right now!!