Yonkers, New York, born and raised soulful crooner, Anthony Flammia is carving his footprint into the music industry. From collaborating with the likes of Flatbush Zombies and Dave East to using the social media app, Vine, to connect with his strong following of dedicated fans. The young “Velvet Sky” hit maker blends his raspy vocals in serene elements while being acknowledged by the likes of MTV, HYPETRAK and Hot 97 to name a few. After performing around the world, FLAMM is ready to release his next anticipated project with the lead single, “So Real,” before heading on tour.
Next up, Anthony Flammia. Shuffling through paperwork, careful not to spill mimosa on my notes, in comes Anthony. A genuine ball of energy that can soften even the prickliest disposition.
J: What attracted you to the Sherman Preston brand? How did you get involved with the HYPE campaign?
A: I was found by Sherman and Preston around 2008 when they booked me for my first show ever. We both came up in college together. Yeah 2008-2009, that’s when I found my love for music and they found me. It was actually my first paid show in Boston. Through that I always admired the brand and I love how they carry themselves. They carry themselves with a certain decor, elegance, what’s the word? Je ne sais quois (Laughter). You definitely know what you're getting when you go to the Sherman|Preston brand. You know you're going to get a certain level of class and there’s a certain level of beauty that’s involved.
J: Describe your personal style, its evolution and how it has changed over the years.
A: I love to push myself as much as I can in any route. I’m an extremist you know. When I started working with Sherman and Preston, I had the wild style. One day I was wearing a big ass button down with shorts, boat shoes and a fedora. Then the next, I come to the shoot with some Timberlands on, a pair of cargos and a hoodie. It can go anywhere (Laughter). I’ve never been afraid to be the person to push that limit and see where I can take myself in terms of fashion. I love trying new things and I'm just a clean canvas for whatever I feel like wearing to express myself.
J: Because you are so fashion forward and you're willing to try anything, is there anything, looking back, that you would say is the worst outfit that you have ever worn?
A: I can’t call it the worst but it was the most interesting. In college, I had the tightest pants in the world. They were these black tight pants that I don't know … um … that was my thing (Laughter). Either the acid wash blacks or the light blue tight jeans. It would be those and these Aldo shoes. My two things that everybody knew was me. I would wear snow hats with the floppy ears no matter what time of the year, it was just my thing. I also had gloves and I would cut off the rockstar fingers, the I love you fingers, you know what I’m saying? *makes gesture* I would just walk around like this is me, with my shirt buttoned all the way to the top. I even had a messenger bag and I played ball. That was the thing, you would never guess I could hoop by the way I dressed (Laughter).
"It’s everything because it lets people know before you open your mouth your feel…your vibe. You can exude your energy to a person by how you present yourself"
J: Fast forwarding to career wise now and personal style, how important do you think personal style plays into the actual role as an artist?
A: It’s everything because it lets people know before you open your mouth your feel…your vibe. You can exude your energy to a person by how you present yourself. So it’s everything you know? It lets them know who you are and where you came from a little bit.
J: You could bring back the snow hats (laughter).
A: I could. You never know. It might happen (laughter).
J: If I ever see you in a snow hat, I’m never going to let that go (Laughter). When did you start singing? Was it something you started when you were little and kind of progressed?
A: Singing was always a part of my life. Growing up I didn’t have any free periods. My mother made sure I was always in something at all times whether it was sport, extracurriculars, community service, or singing. I sang at the Rockefeller center lighting when I was little, sang at the White House with choirs and all that. But I did it because there were girls in the class and it was fun (Laughter). I played ball my whole life and went to college, played for like half a year and found out I didn’t love basketball as much as I thought I did. My sophomore year I didn't know what to do with my fingers and I taught myself how to play the piano when I was like 18 by hearing videos of John Legend playing “Ordinary People”. I listened to that and learned. I brought my piano with me to college and that was a cheat code for girls (Laughter). Through just living my sophomore year, I fell in love for the first time and had my heart broken for the first time. It was right on time because I needed a creative outlet for all this energy I had from that experience. I wrote my first song that year and what made me fall in love with it was performing and seeing the impact it was leaving on other people. Seeing that I'm actually helping people now, making people’s lives better just from doing what I like to do. When you invest yourself in any industry, no matter what, you’re going to run into some form of bullshit. Like with basketball I ran into the bullshit and found out I didn’t really love basketball like that. With music, the energy that you get from being on stage, letting yourself go, giving yourself to people and having them receive you and reciprocating that energy, you can’t get that feeling from anywhere else. I fell in love with that. There’s nothing like performing, there’s nothing like, you know, putting a smile on people’s faces just by being who you are. Through that I don't care what bullshit comes. I’ve been doing this since 2009 and there’s been bullshit but it’s like, this is a part of it.
J: Very true, you have to take the good and the bad. Throughout your career what would you say would be the highest and the lowest part of it?
A: The “lowest” because it was an experience I learned the most from, I performed at St. John, I hadn’t put out my first album, barely had any music out. I just played the piano and had a band, which my brother played in as well, I was on the bill with 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Fred The Godson, Lloyd, all these huge names right? Everybody came for 2 Chainz because this was when “Riding Round and I’m Getting It” first came out. He was the man. There was a 30 minute break, it was Spring Fling, full of college kids and people were getting restless. I’m hearing the crowd chanting “2 Chainz, 2 Chainz” next thing I know they’re announcing “Are you guys ready for this next artist? Give it up for Anthony Flammia!” before I even start a note, two thousand people in unison “BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I’m just like yo, WOW. Honestly it didn’t hurt and that’s like the worst fear for any artist but luckily I had my brother, Justin, on stage playing guitar and he just looked at me like “You ready?” and I was like “Hell yeah!” I sang my first song called “Round and Round” and the fellas always resonate with that one. There was a lot of love and anger behind it. So the fellas started catching on. Then I started on “My Kind Of Love” and I’m a Disney dude at heart; I make a lot of love songs so the ladies started catching on and by the end of the set they were fucking with me.
J: I would’ve ran after hearing all those boos. I would’ve told 2 Chainz he has to go out (laughter).
A: (Laughter) Some of the highest points, is seeing how people gather themselves and resonate to my latest song called “So Real” especially on Vine. It started out as a vine, on a 6 second loop, and what happened with that song and how people came together off of that song, it’s something you can't even pay for. It wound up having 6.5 million loops and people were making their own remix vines with the music in the background and dancing with their children or with their pets. People just coming together. It was everything I had been praying for. This is my purpose on this earth, bringing people together and doing what I love. So it happens and it’s happening still. My purpose is to have multiple songs being played throughout the whole world that has people dancing and smiling, I made one so far - I’m blessed and the next one is coming.
"I love people that aren’t scared to be themselves. Freddy Mercury was kind of a wild dude. He’s a beast and didn’t really care about nothing."
J: It’s funny you say that because my next question is about social media and how it adds to your career.
A: It changed my life. Vine alone changed my life. About a year ago, November, I went on tour independently by raising the money on indiegogo.com. I raised five thousand dollars and then I had another investor that helped me and I hit LA, Austin, Atlanta, D.C., London, was booked for Paris but then the bombings happened and they blocked off Paris so we couldn't get in, and Toronto. Just off of social media alone, LA was packed, full of people I didn’t know and that creeped me out. I was like “What the hell?”. People are asking me to sing songs off of my Soundcloud from mad years ago and I’m like “YOOOOOO, that’s awesome!”. In London I had two shows, I did the first show in the Chandos house, that was packed and I did it with my homegirl. The second show was at the library in central London, there was about four to five people in the motherfucker and I was like “aight”. So we went to the strip to see what kind of crowd we could generate performing in the street. So walking around central London, a girl stops me and goes “Bloody hell you’re Flammia eh?” I was on the other side of the pond and I’m from Yonkers, NY .... it blew my mind (Laughter) so I invited them to the show with front row seats.
J: You mentioned John Legend earlier and how his song helped you learn to play piano. Who would you say are your biggest influences?
A: So Stevie Wonders, Sade, Bill Withers, Erykah Badu, Jadakiss, X, HOV, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix , and Frank Sinatra, I grew up on all of that. My father was musician, and my mother was a dancer/singer so they made sure I was well rounded. Beyonce! She’s playing right now and you can never go wrong with Beyonce. I find inspiration from any where and anyone that sings and has the heart to do what they love.
J: On the same token, do you have any style icons? It can still be an artist you already mentioned but fashion wise.
A: I love people that aren’t scared to be themselves. Freddy Mercury was kind of a wild dude. He’s a beast and didn’t really care about nothing. Andre gets jiggy whenever he wants. Classic looks, I’d say David Beckham is that dude yo. Matthew McConaughey… every time I run I just think what would Matthew McConaughey be doing right now? he's running right now (Laughter). In terms of the Avant Garde, Erykah is the Queen. She’s just like whatever you know.
J: Going back to the point where you mentioned how important style was to your career, what do you feel is harder? Being judged by your style or by your artistry?
A: Honestly… either way judging is good because they're talking about you. The best way to be is to be yourself. Just know that you can live with whatever you’re doing and keep it up. Some people are going to love it and some people aren't and that's ok. As long as people are talking about you and you're in their hearts, minds and mouths, it’s good.
J: What’s next for you? What are you working on now? What’s in the future?
A: Finishing my next album, it doesn't have a name yet. I’m thinking of “Drinks On Flamm”. That’s me, I’m Flamm. We’ll see and just be on the look out for music that’ll make you feel good, make you smile, make you cry, make you dance, make you lay down go to sleep (laughter). By the end of my career, whenever that is, I want the whole world to feel like I’m their cousin, like they know me.
J: Don’t be surprised when your fans start calling you cousin like “Hey cousin!”
A: That’s fine because I have a big family I’m used to that (Laughter).
As we wrap up another interview for the HYPE campaign we learned two things. Anthony Flammia is not only a genuinely great guy, but he's an artistic force to be reckoned with.... and also, he's that cousin we never thought we had. Stay tuned for our next interview with the maestro Danny Calderon!
- J. Jakes
Anthony Flammia / Singer, Songwriter
Label: Sounds Music Group