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Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


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"Making a name in NYC (JAN 2004)"

This handsome Richmond, Virginia quartet come equipped with a lush rural jangle that branches out on stage into banjofied bluegrass leanings, a Hendrix cover, lilting pop en espanol (the frontman's of partially Colombian heritage), and a talking blues that references the Bible--as do their liner notes. -- Chuck Eddy - Village Voice

"Wildcard: FLOREZ (August 2005)"

Fast-rising stars of the Southeastern music scene, Florez fuses blues, roots and pop music into a catholic modern-rock punch. Nashvillians by way of Richmond, Va., Florez relocated last year in order to record their latest album, In Flight, with producer Ed Cash (Bebo Norman, Kathy Mattea).

In a way, the band got its start when lead singer/guitarist Alex Florez was 9 years old. Struggling to fit his hands around his dad's classical guitar, Florez began taking lessons. Two years later he began creating his own music, influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Pearl Jam. In 1999, Florez teamed up with Dusty Emerick (vocals, banjo, harmonica), Dana Brewster (guitar) and Erik Huffman (vocals, bass). Drummer Josh Robinson followed a few years later as Florez's final addition.

Florez recently won Icehouse's Battle of the Boat contest, thanks to the loyalty of their ever-growing fan base. The band will sway The Rock Boat in September alongside the likes of Sister Hazel, Emerson Hart, Cowboy Mouth and Marc Broussard. First, however, Florez drops anchor at Dancin' in the District, where the band's passionately earnest pop melodies will undoubtedly earn them a whole new sea of fans.

Florez plays Dancin' in the District on Thu., Sep. 8, at Riverfront Park. Other openers include Steff Mahan, Three5human and Stephen Kellog & The Sixers. The Indigo Girls headline. Gates open at 6pm. Admission is $5 in through www.dancininthedistrict.com, $8 at the gate, free for ages 5 & under.
- Nashville Rage

"Growing Foundation at Florez's Origin"

Florez is one of the hottest bands to take root in the fertile intellectual and creative soil of Furman University. While Alex Florez and his band still draw their dedicated Furman fans, the band has gone pro, with a full-time touring schedule that's gaining a big fanbase that's catching fire with the same speed of, say, early Hootie or Dave Matthews. Florez dishes out tasty and addictive acoustic-driven pop-rock that's influenced by everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughn and Hendrix to Nirvana and Guns 'n' Roses to Lauryn Hill.
- The Handlebar Online

"Band of Brothers; Putting a Face on the Starving Artist Class"

Band of Brothers
Putting a face on the starving artist class

In the early 1800s, Henri Murger and his friends formed a club called the Water Drinkers, a group of men who lived mostly destitute existences in damp Parisian attics simply for the sake of their art. These days, the club has been all but forgotten—a blip on the radar of history, much like Murger himself. But in his work Scenes de la Vie de Boheme, in which Murger chronicled the lives of the Water Drinkers, an influential lifestyle was being formed, recorded and remembered. He was, after all, writing the narrative of the starving artist.
The term “starving artist” is a familiar one in Music City, as well. Most days it seems as though there are more aspiring musicians in Nashville than there are seats in LP Field. And though the life of a rock ‘n’ roller or country star might seem glamorous, there are plenty of Water Drinkers around the city who are giving it all, quite literally, for their art.
It’s a recent Monday night in a house in the Oak Hill district of Nashville. Though the house is neither small nor shabby, it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t built to accommodate five grown men. Beggars, though, can’t be choosers. This is the home of Florez, a local band trying to make it in the music biz. Compromised of four full-time members, two rotating drummers and two live-in managers, there’s a whiff, here, of Murger and his men.
Describing themselves, there’s guitarist/vocalist Alex, “the charmingly bitter, sweet and maternally-inclined figurehead”; bassist Erik, “the strong, sensitive, loving ogre”; Dusty, a multi-instrumentalist and “the old-fashioned handyman and silent leader”; rhythm guitarist Dana, “the intense rock star bent on changing the world”; Smitty, one manager and “the boundless, irrepressible idea man”; and Scott, the other manager, “a classic older brother determined to put the world in order.”
The band is sitting around the living room (not the dining table—there isn’t one of those) eating spaghetti, drinking wine and talking about what exactly it takes to make it in Music City. They’re a familial bunch, laughing like a clan of brothers, taking a break from the questions every couple of minutes so Smitty can do his surprisingly accurate imitation of Scott, or so Erik can prod Alex’s girlfriend about the eternally mysterious creature called woman. They make this look extremely easy for a group of guys who do everything from eating, living, cooking, working out, going out, etc., together. How can they handle it?
“It’s not easy,” says Alex. “If you say that work, play and cohabitation are the three facets of the average, everyday life, than Florez is always on. I think the most important lesson I’ve learned about making this level of immersion function healthfully is that trust has become our most vital resource. When one man says he needs to get away, we have to trust that he’s made a good decision. If a man says we need to buckle down and do something together, than the rest of us need to trust that he’s thought that issue through.
“You get used to seeing the same faces everyday,” he goes on. “We’ve joked that it’s like having three wives”—now five, with Smitty and Scott on board. “Who the man with the wives is changes depending on who you ask, of course. Basically, you trust that your space is sacred and off limits if you need it, and trust that when you need the troops to rally for anything, they’ll be ready.”
It’s a very positive attitude about what is clearly very cramped quarters, and you can’t help but wonder if the tenuous financial situation sometimes threatens to burst the band’s Arcadian existence. How does a group of six guys make ends meet on the budget of a band trying to break out? “Communal living,” says Alex. “It’s shocking how well you can live when you share the cost of everything. If we split all income equally and tried to live separately, we’d all be working part-time jobs by the middle of the first week. Ends meet, even if not in a luxurious way.”
Part-time jobs, a seemingly sensible solution, are pretty much out of the question for the members of Florez. Schedules are too conflicting, especially when tours roll around, and the all-day, every-day approach the band takes just makes those nine-to-five occupations impossible. Extra income comes more in the form of odd jobs. Dusty is a handyman and teaches music lessons to their neighbor’s child. Dana is starting to design album covers for other artists and is currently in the process of writing a screenplay. And Erik, the band’s poster boy, models.
There are, of course, things that are given up to pursue the dream. For Erik it’s “independence, money, my own apartment and shopping in the healthy, organic”—read: expensive—”section of the grocery store.” For Alex, the pleasures of “autonomy, space, absolute artistic liberty, financial comfort, and the flexibility to plan my own days.” And for Dana, the philosopher of the group, it’s “worldly security. Tempting as [success] is, I yearn for something bigger.”
In the four years of the band’s existence there have been tastes of stardom, moments when all the work feels like it’s about to pay off, but the boys stay level-headed when it comes to the likelihood of making it. “We’ve had several moments where I thought, ‘This is it—it’s about to happen,’” says Alex. “But these were just tastes. We obviously have a long way to go. The first time we played with Gavin DeGraw, I thought we were on the very brink of our big breakout. The response we got from that enormous pool of rabid fans was remarkable. We felt like stars that night, and every big moment like it. But honestly, the lust for stardom is more a distraction than a goal.”
“It’s an interesting job, because when people perceive you as a star, it’s easy to feel like a star,” says Erik. “But we remain the same people before and after a show. It’s definitely a good feeling when people are screaming for you, but I think it’s very important for all of us to know who we truly are. There will undoubtedly be days when the band is struggling and some of those same fans will drop us like a bad habit.”
The trick, of course, is to stick around long enough for the right people (or enough people, at any rate) to notice you, but not so long that you’ve missed your chance at success both on and off the stage. For Florez, there’s still time, and that is truly a luxury.
“I believe two things are important on our end,” says Erik. “We need to continue growing musically, and we need to continue being ourselves. In my mind, that will determine whether or not we’ve made it. Aside from that, many things have to line up, most of which could be out of our control.”
Like the Water Drinkers in 19th century Paris, the members of Florez are making a choice—they’re living for their art. It’s a level of dedication that should be acknowledged, although, the music business being what it is, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether they will be or not. But then, that’s not really the point.
To get more information about Florez, go to www.florezmusic.com or www.myspace.com/florez.

—Megan Byrd
- Nashville Lifestyles Magazine November 2006


Have you heard of the band FLOREZ? If not, you will soon. This band is already making an impact up and down the East Coast. Its members are Sig Erik Huffman, Furman 2003, on bass and vocals; Sig Dusty Emerick, Furman 2003, on banjo, harmonica, mandolin and percussion; Dana Brewster on electric and acoustic guitars; and Alex Florez on classical guitar and vocals. All members of FLOREZ graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, home of Sigma Chi’s Iota Nu Chapter. The band plays music full time, aspiring to change the popular music of this generation. A lofty goal? Some Sigs, including Emerick and Huffman, might assert that no ambition is too great.
With FLOREZ, they aspire to push pop rock beyond its artificial flavor, promising a future of soul-singing, blues-roots with lyrics to feed the mind, body and soul. They intertwine elements of grunge and blues with hip-hop, Latin, and bluegrass. The lyrics evoke passion, love, recovery after defeat, and the joy of victory.
Huffman and Emerick met during recruitment and became good friends while pledging Sigma Chi. At Furman, the band spent four years playing parties, on-campus events and clubs. “I didn’t want to be just another cover band; I knew we were good, but I knew we could be better,” Huffman said. During the summer of 2002, the band went to New York City where they recorded their first full-length album, Find Yourself, which was released in April 2003.
One of the major things Sigma Chi taught me is to never settle," Emerick said. "I never dreamed I would graduate from college to join a rock band. But the potential to change people and change music is very real and exciting. Sigma Chi taught me a lot about trust. When you know there are strong arms around you to catch you if you fall, it makes it a lot easier to take chances and a lot easier to be hopeful when the world can be so cynical."
Huffman added, "Now that we’ve graduated, we’re ready to give our music 100 percent. The college music scene is first on our list, but we won’t stop there." - The Voice of Sigma Chi

"FLOREZ rocks: FLOREZ fever heats up the music scene with a Latin influence and a fiery mix of rock and blues."

Some guys have all the luck. Alex Florez, Erik Huffman, Dusty Emerick and Dana Brewster of the Nashville-based rock band FLOREZ are not among those guys.

Talent shows have been stolen out from under them. They get the early slots at big events. "FLOREZ is notorious for falling short in competitions," said lead singer/acoustic guitarist and band founder Alex Florez. "More often than not, we have been shaking our heads and grinning in disbelief, quite unsure of why we lost."

But they finally got the big one. The band entered themselves in Icehouse's Battle for the Boat, a contest that offered the winning band a spot on the most musical Caribbean cruise around, The Rock Boat. Through sheer self-promotion and fan dedication, FLOREZ was announced the winner of the Battle for the Boat. Two weeks later, due to Hurricane Katrina, The Rock Boat was cancelled, leaving FLOREZ with a win, but no stage to perform on since the cruise ship was donated to the American Red Cross to help with the hurricane relief.

But through it all, the band remains upbeat. "The vision of FLOREZ is to impact popular culture in some way small or large. I don't presume to have any guarantees about how big our band will ever be, but I know we're on the way to at least limited popular success," said Florez. "We've circulated our music fairly well in these few years and all signs point to growth." They have had a few hard-knocks, but they're more like stepping stones than roadblocks. Over the past two years, FLOREZ has opened for big names like Gavin DeGraw and the Doobie Brothers, routinely toured the East Coast, and released a full-length studio album that sat on the top 10 list for the entire month of April 2005 at awarestore.com, not to mention signing a co-publishing deal with BMG to attract the best major label deal possible and a solo side project for Alex Florez.

Just call it FLOREZ fever.

It seems that once people are exposed to the FLOREZ sound, an eclectic mix of rock, pop, blues and bluegrass with a healthy helping of Latin influences, they just can't help but become part of their rapidly growing fan base. But it's not just the FLOREZ sound that wins fans over, it's the lyrics that Florez pours his heart into. "I don't purport to have answers on all of life's many questions and problems, but in recent years I have begun to recognize patterns in people's lives," he said. "I write about my own complications and I think, because everyone has their own set of experiences based on the same basic set of hopes, expectations and needs, that audiences connect with us as they do with any artist." In a music scene that seems to be more focused on style than substance, FLOREZ, as the band's tagline says, brings chocolate to a bubblegum world.

They may not have all the luck, but they do have faith, and they definitely have what it takes to make it big. And in the long run, that's all they need.

For more information on FLOREZ or to purchase their album "In Flight" go to www.florezmusic.com or www.awarestore.com. - The All State (Sept. 2005)

"Florez – ‘In Flight’ August 16, 2005"

Tennessee’s Florez are a rare gem and their latest album is a pleasing display of musicianship and strong catchy writing. Their album could be loosely shoved into the acoustic-rock section of your record store. However there is a lot going on here and ‘In Flight’ is far from the next Dashboard Confessional album or anything other than a living, breathing, multifaceted musical organism.

In the space of the first four songs this four piece delve into catchy time changing choruses that jar and please in ‘All’s Well’ making it a strong opener. Whereas with ‘Behold’ they take on an acoustic hop-hop style and master it with a lyricism and maturity that makes it theirs. As is ‘With Your Soul’ a gorgeous Latin influenced track with cheeky guitars, breathy vocals and a warm, colourful vibe. “Girl you got what I want and I need it, I’m in love with what I can’t touch but I already feel it…” croons vocalist Alex Florez.

‘Reason’ has a close dark feeling, not sinister but a little uneasy perhaps. The vocals are gentle but there is urgency and what really matters is what goes unsaid. Beautiful. Songs like ‘Forgiving You’ sound as much like Shakira as any popular alternative acts. There is some extremely accessible writing on show here that never once detracts from the honesty or genuine feeling of Florez.

‘Live Instead’ is another hip-hop influenced track and is jaunty both vocally and musically. The vocals are similar in pace to Chronic Future but there is a country edge that deepens the warmth and sentiment. Florez have some good ideas and do not create lyrics for the sake of it, instead they offer heartfelt, positive messages as well as emotional ones. ‘Breathe’ is a little too close to the wave of indie and brit-pop bands currently circulating but ‘You Know Me’ & the instrumental ‘Preludio’ are exceptional and different as is their mix of Latin, western and hip-hop music. This is a must late summer/autumn purchase for anyone looking to be moved by a record in 2005.

Standout Tracks: ‘All's Well', 'Behold', 'With Your Soul'.

Replay-0-Meter: 8.5
Production: 8
Songwriting: 8.5
Lyricism: 9
Artwork: 8
Added: August 16th 2005
Reviewer: Liam Thomson
- State of Emergency (UK)

""Now Hear This; Your Guide To Unsigned Bands""


August 28, 2006,

Katie Hasty-
In its short career, rock outfit Florez has found plenty of industry cheerleaders.

The still-unsigned band has linked with BMG Songs North America for a co-publishing agreement.

And despite having only a self-released effort to its name, veteran producer Ed Cash signed on for the photogenic five-piece's first proper full-length, last year's "In Flight." Cash is perhaps best-known for his work in the Christian market, having produced efforts for the likes of Caedmon's Call, Kathy Mattea and Bebo Norman.

Yet despite the Cash association, as well as a street team called the Army of Angels, the faith-inflected band isn't planning to target the Christian world. "I don't think that we have a specific fan base that is Christian," manager Scott White says. "We haven't played at churches consistently or anything."

That being said, the band certainly isn't going to turn down any help. "It's been great to see so many people who are invested in what we're doing," guitarist Dana Brewster says. "We live together, we're doing it full-time, and it's cool to see it start to come together."

Along with Brewster, bassist Erik Huffman, multi-instrumentalist Dusty Emerick, drummer Josh Robinson and band namesake Alex Florez (guitar, vocals), the act claims to have already written more than 1,000 songs. If "In Flight" is any indication, Florez isn't afraid to draw from a variety of genres, including sugary-pop, Latin-rock and hip-hop.

Even without any label support, White says the band has moved nearly 6,000 copies of "In Flight." Sales have come from the band's own Web site and such online retailers as AwareStore.com. While Nielsen SoundScan numbers peg the sales total for "In Flight" much lower, at about 1,000 copies, a representative for AwareStore says the Web site has sold more than 2,000 copies of the album, and White says the band has sold "easily" more than 3,500 on the road.

The band has been performing in front of a fair number of eyes. Florez has shared stages with the likes of Gavin DeGraw, Better Than Ezra and Will Hoge. Next year the band hopes to target colleges and in January will be a part of the Rock Boat VII cruise. The latter will leave Jan. 11 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and also features Aslyn, Better Than Ezra, Carbon Leaf and Ingram Hill, among others.

The band has drawn interest from labels and met with Atlantic last year. White says talks dissolved when the band's A&R champion left the label. Looking back, he feels the timing wouldn't have been right.

"We realized then that we had all these different sounds and textures going on and that it would be harder to market," White says. "This past year has been spent working on our best qualities and strengths—namely going the pop-rock route."

Brewster says the band isn't compromising in the hopes of finding broader appeal. Instead, he says, a more rocking Florez is what everyone in the band is most comfortable with.

"With our next move, we're going to keep it that way," he says of the act's more stripped-down sound. "No rapping, no Latin or Spanish. We can always move on and do something else later."
- Billboard Magazine



"Not Alone EP" - July 2008. 4 song EP featuring "Coming to You"

"Yellow Shoes EP" - January 2008. 4 song EP featuring "Sweet Tea"

"The Brooker Sessions" - May 2006. all acoustic record

"In Flight" - April 2005
Recorded with Grammy-winning Ed Cash. Spent first month on top 10 at Awarestore.com

"FLOREZ EP" - Oct. 2004
Spent its first week at #1 on Awarestore.com

"Find Yourself" - March 2003. debut indie album (LP)


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FLOREZ is Rock, Pop, Soul.. Three distinct voices and personalities over a backdrop of ripping guitar. Echoing the bluesy, guitar-driven pop of the John Mayer Trio, the quirky humor and driving energy of Weezer, and the raw simplicity of Gavin DeGraw (whom they opened for in 2005), FLOREZ has found their niche in the form of tangy, groove-driven rock. Lyrically, FLOREZ runs like an inner monologue: reflective and unapologetically candid. Their songwriting transforms snapshots of life into catchy melodies which leaves audiences humming along before they ever set foot outside a venue. The combination produces an intricate, yet energetic live show that demands your attention. Erik lays groundwork with a smooth, melodic bass heartbeat and solid background vocals, while Alex stirs the audience with spirited guitar licks and soulful singing (sometimes, even in Spanish). And with Justin laying down powerful drum grooves and quality supporting vocals, FLOREZ combines solid musicianship with vocal charisma, giving life to the kind of groovy Pop-Rock you’d expect from these handsome boys next door.

Alex and Erik met in 1999 as students at South Carolina’s Furman University. Since that time, the band has produced three full-length albums and three EPs. They have consistently performed and earned a myriad of fiercely loyal fans at venues all along the East coast and Midwest.

In August 2007, Erik took a brief hiatus from the band to compete on the CBS series “Survivor: China”. After spending 33 days in the wilderness of Southeast China and finishing only three tribal councils short of a million dollars, Erik returned home to Nashville with more "hunger" than ever – and thanks to his red FLOREZ baseball cap – a brand new set of fans.

Following the release of their 2008 EP, Not Alone, FLOREZ headed back on the road with their new drummer, Justin Kitchen, for an extensive college tour through the Spring of 2009. Covering much of the Eastern and Midwestern US, their college touring has brought them to over 75 colleges in the last two years. Be sure to look for fresh new music soon, as the creative gears are always turning. And keep an eye out for FLOREZ at a venue near you!
Echoing the bluesy, guitar-driven pop of The John Mayer Trio, the quirky humor and driving energy of Weezer, and the raw simplicity of Gavin DeGraw (whom they opened for in 2005), FLOREZ has found their niche in the form of tangy, groove-driven rock. Lyrically, FLOREZ runs like an inner monologue: reflective and unapologetically candid. Their songwriting transforms snapshots of life into catchy melodies which leaves audiences humming along before they ever set foot outside a venue.

Alex and Erik met in 1999 as students at South Carolina’s Furman University. Since that time, the band has produced three full-length albums and three EPs. They have consistently performed engaging and heartfelt performances and earned a myriad of fiercely loyal fans at venues all along the East coast and Midwest.

In August 2007, Erik took a brief hiatus from the band to compete on the CBS series “Survivor: China”. After spending 33 days in the wilderness of Southeast China and finishing only three tribal councils short of a million dollars, Erik returned home to Nashville with more "hunger" than ever – and thanks to his red FLOREZ baseball cap – a brand new set of fans.

Following the release of their 2008 EP, Not Alone, FLOREZ is headed back on the road with their new drummer, Justin Kitchen, during the Spring of 2009 for an extensive college tour, which will span much of the Eastern US and parts of the Midwest. Be sure to look for fresh, new music within the next year, and keep an eye out for them at a venue near you!