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The WDVX Big Plate – 2/9 – Florencia & The Feeling
February 9 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Florencia & The Feeling is a high-energy pop/funk fusion band from Johnson City, TN. Since its conception in April 2021, the five-piece has been impressing listeners with its upbeat funky grooves, heartfelt songwriting, and all-around good vibes, loading its music with four-part harmonies, hints of jazz, and Latin roots.
Since their conception in April 2021, Florencia & the Feeling has been impressing crowds and getting folks on their feet. With their up-beat funky grooves, heartfelt songwriting, and all-around good vibes, this jazz-laden, pop-funk fusion band with Latin roots has hit the scene running with no plans of slowing down. The band released their first studio album, Birthday, in March 2023 which Vents Magazine called, “pure, unadulterated fun.”
Rusiñol grew up in East Tennessee, with Argentine parents who instilled in her a love of music–ranging from Argentine folklore to Stevie Wonder to Manhattan Transfer–from an early age. After attaining a degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, in 2015 she moved to Ecuador and taught music, but Rusiñol never lost her love of composing and performing. While in Ecuador, she released a self-titled EP in 2018, which garnered Rusiñol instant recognition.
She moved back to the US in 2019, and continued to seek out her primary love, music. She reconnected with musician friends from her high school days who went on to become her bandmates: Austin Herron (drums) and Nick Castro (bass). The two had spent the previous decade touring with acts such as Doctor Ocular, Amythyst Kiah & Her Chest of Glass, and the pair bring an electric energy to the band, incited by their background in progressive rock and jamtronica genres.
In April 2021, Rusiñol, Herron, and Castro played their first of 55 shows together throughout the year. They expanded, allying with Isaac Ratliff (keys) of Sorrel & Vulture Bolt, and Noah Wise (electric guitar), a graduate of jazz studies from East Tennessee State University. Ratliff and Wise, both adamant lovers of jazz and R&B and well-versed in gospel and bluegrass, offered a harmonic vocabulary that helped elevate the group beyond classic pop progressions. When each new member was added, a different flavor was introduced to the palette of each song, creating an undeniable need for a unique identity to be formed.
Thus, “The Feeling” was born. The five members fuse together the many genres in all of their backgrounds – funk, jazz, Nu Soul, jam, pop, indie rock, roots, and more – to create a distinctive blend. This fusion has earned the group recognition and esteemed performances, such as the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Tennessee/Virginia, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in North Carolina, and an opening slot for The Mavericks. Radio Bristol praised the band’s “tight rhythmic jams and groovy guitar riffs,” while the Bristol Herald Courier called their sound “happy music” and “joyful noise,” applauding that “their songs compel smiles on faces and dancing from feet.”
In February 2022, Florencia & the Feeling crowdsourced over $10,000 to create their dream album. The band worked closely with Grammy award-winner Martin Walters (“Best Contemporary World Music Album” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2008, and “Jazz Record of the Year” with Esperanza Spalding) as sound engineer & co-producer. Birthday has received many positive reviews since its release, such as Amplify Music Magazine which said, “[Florencia & the Feeling] bring their A game, and the voices weave and slide, harmonizing together, while Rusiñol’s lead vocals charm and invite repeat listens. It’s music to move to, to feel, to explore, and to exalt in.”
Rusiñol does not consider this to be a break-up album, but there are aspects of that. “Many of these songs were written after going through a pretty rough break-up, but there’s just so much more than that,” she says. The album’s title track, “Birthday,” recalls some of the more painful parts of that situation, and is meant to serve as a powerful pop-punk anthem for those treated unfairly in love. The catharsis involved with singing these words aloud roused a rebirth for Florencia, going on to inspire healing and the creation of this project. That, coupled with it being their debut, gave the album its title – Birthday. “As much as there is heartbreak, though, there is hope,” Florencia states. Themes of self-forgiveness, acceptance, and loving oneself are strewn throughout lilting melodies and head-bobbing rhythms to convey the ever-growing optimism of healing.
Florencia & the Feeling has made a name for itself everywhere they have performed, but the band knows that this is only the beginning. “We believe in this album and we feel the support of those who believed in us enough to make it happen with us,” Florencia says. “We know that we’re going to keep growing, sharing our music, and giving fans an unforgettable concert experience because we love what we do.” Check out quintet’s tour dates & music on their website, and you can find Florencia’s music on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or any other music listening platform.