FLORENCE TRAUTMAN, famously known as ‘Floxy Bee’ across the world is endowed, talented and passionate about her love for Nigerian culture. She cherishes African cultural heritage greatly. Far away in many parts of Africa, she is an embodiment of Mariam Makeba’s style of cultural music. She loves Nigeria, dress Nigeria’s native attires wherever she goes. She plays Hikosso, which literally translates a potpourri of African genres of music. When on stage, she sings in Yoruba dialect, one of Nigeria’s major ethnic languages with resonatic rhythm of percussion, ‘bata’, konga, drums , ‘gan-gan’ and other African music instruments supplying true Nigerian melody to her stage choreography. Floxy Bee is respected and loved greatly around the world. In this Exclusive Interview, this Modakeke born music diva from Ife, Osun States takes us through why she is still being celebrated worldwide as Nigeria’s Cultural Music Ambassador, how she has been representing African culture in most global circles, true meaning of Yeye Asa of The Source, her Citations, Several World Music Awards; how she was bestowed Honorary Doctorate Degree from All Saints University in Boston, her Nostalgic music show in Harlem’s Legendary Apollo Theater, America, her Clothing Line and other issues.
Q: How will you describe your Hikosso brand of music?
A: To describe my music in one word, Hikosso means variety: a potpourri of African genres of Music, consisting of Highlife, Makossa, Soukous, Jazz, Afrobeat, to mention a few. All of the above are called Hikosso!
Q: What inspires your brand of music?
A: My brand of music is inspired by my Culture and Traditions.
Q: How come you render your songs in Yoruba dialect being one of Nigeria’s major ethnic languages?
A: l render my songs flawlessly in Yoruba because l am a Yoruba Woman.
Q: How do you derive inner satisfaction playing your brand of music?
A: I love what l do and l have fun doing it. It gives me a great pleasure that l can share my music with the world.
Q: Can you take us through some evergreen music shows you will never forget?A: I have had many memorable big shows. The biggest thrill l had was when l performed at Harlem’s Legendary Apollo theater where virtually every major black artists had been before, that made me feel that Hikosso Music had arrived in America.
Q: How do you ensure pirates are not feasting and feeding fat on your works?
A: I am a member of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN). It is difficult to monitor (piracy) if you are millions of miles away (from Nigeria). COSON is doing some of the monitoring, thank God.
Q: Why do you always dress in Nigeria’s native outfits?
A: I dress in my native attire because I am comfortable in it and l have been a Cultural ambassador of Nigeria.
Q: Kindly take us through some music awards you have won?
A: I have been promoting African music and Culture for years and have received a couple of citations and awards, hence the label Nigeria’s Music Ambassador.
Q: What led to your stage name ‘Floxy Bee’?
A: My Baptismal name is Florence Benjamin hence Floxybee. In retrospect, as I have become a representative of African Culture l might have been better served if l had used my African name Oluwatoyin, however there’s only one Floxybee, since Floxybee is a global brand.
Q: Can you take us through your been bestowed Yeye Asa of The Source (Mother of The Source)?
A: The Adagba 1 Oba Bolu Fatunmise is from Ile-Ife Iyanfoworogi, a great artist himself, deemed it fit to bestow upon me the title “Yeye Asa” meaning Mother of the Source due to my contributions to the spread of African Music and Culture in the Diaspora. It was in recognition that l was not polluted by other (alien) cultures but standing true to my roots.
Q: How about news of your Clothing Line making a huge wave in Nigeria
A: My Clothing Line when it goes into production will be available online, at my shows and at one or two select stores in Lagos State.
How can your fans order for this Clothing Line?
A: lf anyone is interested in my Clothing Line kindly send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org promise to personally keep you updated.
Q:Tell us about your Honorary Doctorate award and how Music can be used to Re-brand Nigeria
A: I have an honorary Doctorate degree from All Saints University, citations from the city of Boston and Newark, Several World Music Awards and l am the holder of Yeye Asa of The Source, a Yoruba Chieftaincy title.
Q: How come your music harp on moral decadence and lawlessness in Nigeria and Africa?
A:Our Music reminds people of our rich and unique cultural traditions. Historically, our culture as had important influence in the Diaspora. Most societies have lost their way, sometimes the way forward means going back. Going back also means going back to our values, as in respect for our elders, our environment and the unity of the family.
By so doing we will develop the spirit of patriotism. To re-brand Nigeria, 99.9% of the population must feel responsible towards the nation. The nation as a whole must participate in the development of Nigeria as in cleansing of Bribery and Corruption, change in attitude in the way we see money as priority, not as a means to an end.
Q:How can the Nigerian Entertainment Industry progress to higher grounds?
A: For the nations’ entertainment industry to move forward, all artistes, entertainers, musicians need 24 hours electricity supply in 365 days in a year to perfect our art. For music practice and perfection, we need constant light or else we will fall short from the world standard of what it takes to be a first class artiste.
We need water to wash, to feel good and smell fresh. We need security to be able to move at night and not in be constant fear of being attacked by armed robbers. President Muhammadu Buhari should also have a sense of responsibility towards the citizens, be they artistes, artists or laymen. The welfare of the citizens should be uppermost on his agenda. The President should provide funding for traditional musicians because our culture is no longer fashionable and is in danger of being lost.
Q:What lessons has life taught you?
A: Life as taught me to be humble, to never say never, nor ever give up. To turn dreams into reality takes hard work. And I know that nothing in this world is free.
Q: Finally, your message to your fans around the world
A: Always believe in yourself, work hard and leave the rest to God.