Anthony Flammia is a singer/songwriter on the rise. He has released several successful singles, including the striking "Pieces," which was accompanied by an equally striking and thought-provoking video. The Yonkers-raised artist is signed to Sounds Music Group, also the home of Pigeons & Planes favorite Kemba. And his latest track is a duet with another up-and-comer, rapper Kash Doll. The duet "What You Wanna Do" has a unique lyric video, which shows the song's lyrics as a text conversation.
Flammia dropped by the Complex office to talk about the track, and to fill us in on what else he's been up to.
How did you write "What You Wanna Do"?
"What You Wanna Do" was a complete manifestation of my personal relationship. All of my music is that. It was me committing to a relationship with somebody that don't believe that I'm not cheating on her. I had the hook first. I was on my way out the crib, taking a shower, dealing with what I was dealing with, and I was like, "Hold on. I gotta talk about my life real quick on this." And it just came like that. It was just such a short, and easy decision.
Then Quincy Jackson, our marketing exec and overall angel person in our lives, was saying, "We want to link you with Kash Doll. You got anything for her that she could get on?" That was a roll of the dice, 'cause I looked up her music, it was very aggressive, and very descriptive. She was a storyteller, and so am I, so I rolled the dice on that one. And she sent back this fire verse, where you might as well think that she and I was together for 30 years or some shit.
Something that makes "What You Wanna Do" so special is that it's almost like a hip-hop duet, because we're really talking to each other. It sounds like she's going through that too, or has gone through it, at least. That's what I'm most excited about, to be able to bring that side of life to the table of music where we provide a story.
Tell me how the lyric video came about.
That was Universal Music Experience college marketing. There's some genius out there. It's empowering students that are interested in being in the business, and giving them the opportunity to work. Quincy pops up out of nowhere like, "I got a lyric video for you," and it was the little text conversation. It doesn't get any better in terms of a visual, 'cause that's what it is. The song is a damn near phone a conversation, so to be able to convey that visually, it's a blessing.
It seems like you put a whole lot of thought into your videos. Tell me about making "Pieces."
That was me, Solo[mon Sounds, founder of Sounds Music Group], and Quincy in the room. Solo came up with that idea. My music in itself is a therapy session—instead of getting on a therapist's couch, I'm in the booth. And that song in particular, I was letting out what was going on in my life—same thing and same relationship [as "What You Wanna Do"]. But the most important part of that video is the end: the big reveal where the therapist is me. Because no matter how you found your way through your own emotional trauma, the answer always ends up being already inside of you.
You can have somebody help you bring that out of you and that's healthy, that's beautiful, that's the importance of awareness of your mental health. I'm learning my own forms of making sure I'm OK, 'cause that's really important, especially as creator. If you want to create, you gotta be a clean channel for that. "Pieces," "What You Wanna Do," these are songs that are really invested in growth and mental health, and being aware of what's going in your life and being able to talk about it.
And these songs are going to be part of your album?
Yeah. The project is called Find Love and Make Music. F.L.A.M.M., that's my name, that's what I do.
Is there a theme to the album?
The theme is love. There's pain, then there's healing, then there's love. You gotta be aware of the pain, you gotta be able to talk about it, you gotta heal from it, you gotta forgive. And then that love at the end, that's the love for yourself, like at the end of the "Pieces" video. At the end of the day, you can't love nobody if you don't love yourself. There's a light at the end of the tunnel where you always gotta go back to, "I love you, Anthony. You're gonna be all right."
Were these themes you were thinking about when you were writing the songs, or they come together afterwards?
No, no. I was dribbling to the basket with my head down. I was just in the studio, talking about my life. That was what it was because I ain't have nothing else to talk about, so I was talking about myself. I'm banking on the fact that you should be as honest as you can in your music and it'll hit people because they've been through something similar.