IdafLO Takes Flight
Raised on the sounds of world beats, San Francisco’s IdafLO is about to break out of the Golden Gate on a musical journey.
The 24-year-old pop artist, dancer and producer is working on her debut EP set to be released later this year, but guests at EDEN’s Pride After-Party at Slide in San Francisco will get a sampling of universal artist’s new songs and unique performance style tomorrow, June 30.
“I’m performing a couple of songs that I haven’t performed for anyone … so I’m excited,” says IdafLO.
“I’m trying to interpret a different kind of pop,” says IdafLO about her unique blend of world beats and pop. “I’ve really honed [it] in a great way … for everyone to really see what I can do and kind of connect with me on that,” she says.
“Hopefully, people will love what they see.”
From an early age IdafLO loved blending sounds.
“I’m very open to different styles,” says IdafLO, who was raised with the sounds of world beats in her home and the flavors of the world in San Francisco. “I like to play with different styles of music because it’s really a lot of fun. I don’t think that there should be a limit when you are a creator.”
Born in Mexico City as Florence Dabokemp, IdafLO, came to San Francisco with her English mother and Senegalese father three months later.
IdafLO began dancing and singing at the age of seven and performed for the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
“I just continued from there,” she says about her dance and music career.
Desiring to express her individuality away from the strict structure of the chorus that didn’t leave room for self-expression, IdafLO credits the chorus for forcing her into her “own creative mode,” she says.
“I didn’t like that,” says IdafLO, who admits she’s quite stubborn. “So, I just started making my own music, playing with my own voice [and] trying to find my own sounds.
She began writing her own music in her early teens. She then moved into experimenting with beats and instrumentals by the time she was in high school.
At the same time, she was dancing, touring with Mind Over Matter, which took her around the U.S. and to China to perform for the Chinese government.
Still in high school she wasn’t quite sure about a career as a performing artist. She harbored her own self-doubts along with eternal criticism telling her she couldn’t, in spite of evidence of her emerging talent.
The trip to China was what finally made her question her critics and her own doubts.
“It’s kind of like, if I can do this with dance, why can’t I do that with music?” she says.
“I realized that music was something that I could have of my own. It wasn’t anyone else’s creation. It was mine,” she continues.
Since then she hasn’t looked back. At 19-years old, IdafLO went into the studio to being working with producers to develop her sound.
“I truly believe that if you set your mind to it there is nothing that can get in your way,” says IdafLO, who wants that message to ring through with her debut EP that she’s currently working on. “I think that the limit is the one that you set for yourself. If you have no limit everything is possible.”
“I definitely want to continue to portray with passion and love [that] you can do anything,” says IdafLO. “Hopefully, it goes well and people love this new sound that I’m trying to formulate.”
With the advent of her EP in the works, IdafLO she’s set her eyes on hitting the road to tour the U.S., particularly Florida and her future temporary home, Los Angeles, with the goal of heading to Europe.
“My ultimate goal would be Europe,” says IdafLO, who loves traveling. “I would be overjoyed to be performing over there.”
Traveling since childhood, IdafLO, a self-described “socialite,” which she inherited from her mother, loves exploring different cultures and atmospheres and meeting people, she says.
“You can have a connection hundreds of thousands of miles away,” says IdafLO. “There’s that connection that you have with the world. You just learn that you are not alone.
“There are so many different types of people that you can’t place any kind of judgment or assumption or stereotype,” she continues, “you really have to go out and meet this culture or these people to really find out who they are and it’s what you would expect from anybody.”
“I’ve learned that there is a piece of you that you leave wherever you travel,” she continues.
In spite of leaving pieces of herself around the world and her deep love of San Francisco, the sense of freedom travel gives to her sometimes entices her never to return home.
“Travel is freedom,” she says.
“I love San Francisco, but when I travel I just never want to come back sometimes. I just want to stay out here,” says IdafLO. “It’s kind of like a fresh start. A little bit of a fresh start. A blank canvas [to] be whoever you want, do whatever you want and nobody would be the wiser.”
But then IdafLO finds her way home. No matter where dance and music takes her, she loves San Francisco.
“I’ve always come back to San Francisco,” she says. “San Francisco is amazing.”
“I’m definitely a San Franciscan at heart,” she continues about her home town. “I’m just so used to openness and different kinds of people from all walks of life and you know being able to be myself without judgment.”
“I tell anybody I meet to come,” says IdafLO, who has enjoyed the diversity of the city that has embraced her and shaped her and her music. “This is probably one of the most welcoming places that you could ever be and to feel at home and to feel safe and all of that jazz.”
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