“I mentally move on quick,” says 16-year-old musician Joyce Cisse when I ask her about her latest single release, ‘saturday yawning’, that she wrote and recorded back in February. “I’ve already started working on so many new things.”
Cisse, better known as flowerovlove, is the budding teenage star whose debut EP Think Flower received industry acclaim earlier this year, while her modelling pursuits led to campaigns with Pangaia and Gucci.
It’s no wonder the Londoner’s music is gaining rightful attention – her youthful enthusiasm (no doubt aided by 18-months of Zoom-schooling and newfound time at home with her brother and producer) has propelled an EP and no less than six single releases in just two years. Her eagerness is infectious, and creates a rare feeling of authenticity in Cisse’s songwriting that is scarcely heard in mainstream alt-pop. On ‘saturday yawning’, her sweet vocals glisten above swaying beats and chilled-out synth melodies, capturing the indulgent joy of Saturday mornings free from hangxiety or morning shifts.
Below, Cisse shares why she loves lie-ins, the impromptu snap that became the track’s artwork and why she dances when she’s feeling down.
For the single’s title, Cisse was inspired by the sleepy relief felt when waking up late on a Saturday morning. “You know when you come home from school on a Friday and you know you can go to bed whenever you want because you don’t have school tomorrow? You’ve got that Saturday morning yawning-around-in-your-bed-feeling. A lie-in is one of the best things ever,” she professes.
“I actually rarely get to have lie-ins,” she admits, “so this song is me manifesting it.” Instead, Cisse says her Saturday mornings are usually spent running late for business meetings with her management, before grabbing lunch and meeting her friends, or heading back to the studio to record more music.
I actually rarely get to have lie-ins so this song is me manifesting it.
Impromptu Test Shots
The inspiration behind the artwork for the single came from an image Cisse had seen on Pinterest. “It was really cool,” she explains, “It was like a film still or something, I don’t know what it came from but it was like soft and glossy and every time I saw it I thought it could make an interesting cover. I was thinking about that picture for months.”
She headed into the studio with frequent collaborator and friend Sandra Ebert, where the duo set up a sunshine yellow backdrop and she admits the final image selected was shot by accident. “I came in in an outfit that was not the outfit I had intended but I stood in for a test shot and I put a bunch of my items down like my oyster card, my eyebrow brush, my hairbrush, my favourite pair of earrings and my brother’s phone. We just laid it out around me and took one shot and when I saw it I just knew it was the cover.”
The thrift shop
Opting for her classic vintage style over the outfit she had selected for the photoshoot, Cisse ran us down her fit: “The shorts were thrifted for £1, the shirt is from my brother, it’s J Crew. I have no idea where I got the jacket from, I’ve had it since I was a kid. I thrifted the tie from a vintage store in Soho, I think it was £12. My socks are unknown, and for the shoes, I was wearing vintage Louis Vuitton sandals that my mum got in the ’90s.”
“The shorts were thrifted from East End Thriftstore which isn’t even that good anymore,” she jokes, “it was really good for a period of time but now it’s just like vintage, it doesn’t even smell of thrift anymore, there’s no dust in the air… that’s too clean for thrift! You need to be coughing up dust.”
I think music is a healer, every aspect of it – if you feel any kind of way there’s always music that can soothe you.
When asked her favourite lyric, Cisse immediately jumped up at her screen. “I know this one!” she exclaims. “It has to be, the ‘dance like you’re okay / non-stop all day,’ and the reason for that is whenever I don’t feel good at all, all I’ll do is dance, and I think dancing all the emotion out of your body is really healing. I think music is a healer, every aspect of it – if you feel any kind of way there’s always music that can soothe you.”
Main character music
While writing the song, Cisse says she was listening to plenty of Tame Impala’s 2017 album Currents along with BRICKS cover star beabadoobee’s tracks ‘Apple Cider’ and ‘You Lie All The Time’. “In my main character movie moment, ‘Currents’ is always my backing track,” she says. “One time last week, there was a moment in ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ where I stepped off the tube right at the same time as the beat dropped. Pure magic.”
To amp up the Impala-inflections, Cisse worked closely with her brother, Wilfred Cisse, and producer Isaac Levine. “Our friend Isaac made the beat and then my brother rearranged it,” she explains. “He started to chop it up and moving bits around but I wanted to keep the synths at the start as they were as it sounded like Tame Impala to me. The person who mixed it, he’s called Dan Letson, he added the extra guitars which really added a jazzy, funky groove into it.”
Enjoyed this story? Help keep independent queer-led publishing alive and unlock the BRICKS WORLD Learner Platform, full of resources for emerging and aspiring creatives sent to you every week via newsletter. Start your 30-day free trial now.