It was a pleasure to speak with Erick Florence today. He has an incredible story of perseverance and joy. I hope you give him a like and follow and listen to his music. If you are in the South Carolina area look him up and catch his next gig. Erick, thank you so much for speaking with us and wish you all the success in the world man!
B Chord: Hey man, so tell us a little about your musical upbringing and some background on yourself?
Erick Florence: I grew up singing in church as a small child up until the age of 10 or 11 years old. At that point, I became totally engulfed in sports. Sports became my life. I was a baseball kid and played until I was about 17 years old. At that point I moved into playing slow pitch softball at a competitive level until a few years ago. I played in the World Series. I loved music but I didn’t play any instrument and only sang in my car. About three years ago, I injured myself playing softball and they couldn’t do surgery to repair it. I pulled the quad off my hip. So at that point, softball wasn’t as much fun as I couldn’t play like I did in the past. So I was looking for something to do with my time. I started getting away from playing sports and I started feeling bad all the time. It turned out that I had thyroid cancer. It had moved into my vocal chords. It was already stage 2 when they discovered it and they had to remove my thyroid. It is one the easiest cancer to cure if caught early. They had to scrape my vocal chords and the reason I tell you this is that the doctors told me that my voice would not sound the same as before the surgery. God blessed me and within two weeks my voice was back fully. It was weird because I was told it would take months before my voice sounded anything close to what it sounded like prior to the surgery. So I was hanging out with some of my buddies at a Karaoke bar. I was sitting in the back singing along with those performing and was pressured by my friends to go up front and sing. So when I began singing I just loved it! I sang Karaoke two or three times per week for the next year. Finally, at one of the local bars in West Columbia, the owner said we have a date open and we need someone to fill it. She said you find a guitar player and this will be your first show. I didn’t know if I was ready for that. This happened in July of this year and it was my first gig. From then until now I have done twenty shows. I got my first guitar this past Christmas. I had never played before and just picked at it a little bit until March when I lost my job and became bored. I started playing guitar and played six to seven hours per day. I fell in love with it as I learned and played the chords, I began hearing words to fit the chords. So at that point, I started writing music. I found a producer that I felt comfortable with, Prevo Rogers at 308 Productions in Sluto, SC and sent my music off to him. He asked me to come down and meet with him. I sent him some of the very first songs that I had written. Prevo said he liked them and wanted to sign me. I thought that was really cool as this was all brand new to me. In the meantime, at the studio I started playing Front Porch Dancin. He wanted to know where that came from and I explained that I had just written this song the day before. He told me to put the other stuff on hold as this is where we need to go. I signed with him in September and we released the song in November.
B Chord: I know you are from South Carolina, so where do you mainly play if someone wants to come out and see you?
Erick Florence: Right now we are playing in Lexington, Greater Columbia, West Columbia, and my home bar is Boses in West Columbia. I play at Boses at least once per month. We play any bar or restaurant that will let us in the door.
B Chord: Who are some of your biggest inspirations in music?
Erick Florence: My biggest growing up was Garth. All of his songs are mega hits. I am a 90’s country boy. I love the stories of the 90’s style country music. Garth Brooks, George Strait, Clint Black, and Tracy Lawrence. If we are talking about today’s music, it would be Chris Stapleton. He brings a bluesy sound to country music. I also listen to Lee Brice. I went to high school with Lee. I listen to Lewis’ music as it is a different genre and has a rocky edge.
B Chord: I love the song “Front Porch Dancin.” Can you tell me a little about the writing process of the song?
Erick Florence: I heard a song that was referring to dancing out in the fields or in a road somewhere. It was a good song but it wasn’t realistic. I grew up in the country and I have never stopped in the middle of the road and danced in the headlights. It’s just not something that happens. It was nothing unusual to see my grandparents sitting outside on the porch swing with the radio playing and they would get up and start dancing together. I am really close with my neighbors and we all sit around on our porches and when a song hits them, they will get up and start dancing. When that music hits you, you just start dancing. There just wasn’t a song out there that captures this feeling. One of my neighbors that moved in, Ryan Brazzell has a little girl, Emma and she is on the cover of the song. The focus is on the couple dancing on the porch and that is my neighbors, Ryan and Danielle, but their daughter Emma Grace is looking through the window at them. The day that I met her, I began calling her Emma Jean Grace. She knows that when Mr. Erick comes around he calls her Emma Jean Grace. I incorporated Emma into the song. It tells a real story of a couple in everyday life. My song is actually debuting on Country Radio right now.
B Chord: Can we expect some new music coming out from you soon?
Erick Florence: I’m working on a song right now and hoping to have it by the end of the month. It is called “Gone But Not Forgotten.” Here in Columbia, we had a good guy and musician, Brandon Burr who was the lead man for the Brandon Burr band and he recently took his life. It really hit hard with the other country musicians in the Columbia area. When I heard the news, my only way to express my feelings was to write words to release my grief. It came together and I shared it with a friend of Brandon’s dad who thought it was really good. On my own and to be respectful to the family, I went to Brandon’s mom and told her that I wrote this song about Brandon. She loved the lyrics and so I am going to push 50 percent of the proceeds from online purchases of that song for the first two months to her family. This will cover the family’s expenses. After those two months, 50 percent of the proceeds will go to National Suicide Prevention. I hope that these monies will help others so they don’t make the same decision as Brandon. I have about 25 songs written and so we have 6 or 7 narrowed down to put on the upcoming EP coming out in the summer.
B Chord: If you could open for one artist who would it be?
Erick Florence: Man, I would love to open for Garth and be in that situation. I’d open for anybody who would have me… Garth and Stapleton.
B Chord: How long have you had the beard?
Erick Florence: After I had surgery 3 years ago, it became really irritating to shave with the incision. I wasn’t going to shave my face and not my neck. So I started to let it grow. It’s been about 3 years now. I have cut it down short only to just start growing it out again.
B Chord: Favorite hobby other than music?
Erick Florence: Playing video games. My favorite is Call of Duty. Before I got into music, one of the things I did was streaming on Twitch. You stream video games and people can see and hear you play the games.
B Chord: You are stranded on an island and you can take only one instrument with you. What would the instrument be and why?
Erick Florence: If I only have one instrument with me, I would take my guitar. I could amuse myself jamming and writing songs. It would be my Alvarez guitar and I play lefty.
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