With its minimalistic, Elliott Smith-like tone, Flora Cash’s somber acoustic-based song “You’re Somebody Else” is probably the least likely track to appear on the most recent NOW That’s What I Call Music! compilation (Vol. 68, if you’re keeping track).
The story of Flora Cash’s formation, however, is perfectly of-the-moment, encapsulating how technology has changed culture, art, communication and relationships in the early 21st century.
It starts on Soundcloud, the digital platform preferred by many amateur music-makers that has been key in leveling the industry playing field. In her native Sweden in 2012, Soundcloud artist Shpresa Lleshaj randomly came across the page of a Minneapolis musician named Cole Randall. Compelled by the music, she began leaving comments on the songs and quickly struck up a friendship that moved to Facebook messaging, phone calls and long Skype chats. Within a few months, Lleshaj flew to Minneapolis to meet Randall and a musical chemistry was evident as they worked on songs together, self-releasing an EP under the name Flora Cash before the end of 2012.
Other chemistry was also evident — Lleshaj and Randall got married within a year of their first encounter.
Working out of Sweden, they continued to develop their dreamy, folksy Indie Pop sound, which is buoyed by the pair’s emotive lyrics, creepingly catchy hooks, magnetic harmonies, understated electronic beats and an engaging ethereal aura. After building a strong online following with self-released recordings, Flora Cash signed with Swedish label Icons Creating Evil Art. The duo’s 2017 album for the label, Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine), garnered international attention, earning critical acclaim from music-press outlets like Noisey, Paste and Earmilk and setting their music career on a fast-track akin to the one that facilitated their personal relationship.
Later in 2017, “You’re Somebody Else” was released as a single and the song’s lyrics about anxiety and depression connected with listeners on a deeply personal level. The track’s viral success led to a deal with RCA, which re-released the song this year and helped push it to even bigger heights.
In the “You’re Somebody Else” music video released in November, Lleshaj and Randall paid tribute to those who flooded them with emotional feedback about what the song meant to them, incorporating touching testimonials from real-life fans in the moving clip. The duo is looking to continue making those kinds of connections — between heavy touring and promo duties, a new EP is reportedly due soon and Flora Cash’s debut full-length for RCA is slated for a springtime release.