Power of Soul

Floetry may be over, but the Floacist goes on.

By Craig D. Lindsey
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Jan. 21, 2009

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illustration by ALEX FINE

Sometimes you just have to face the music. You have to bite down and come to terms with the truth, no matter how painful or unbelievable it may be. Most recently I had to finally accept what I've been denying for a while now: Floetry has, indeed, broken up.

Floetry is (or was) two U.K.-born sistas who dropped one of the best black-music albums of the aughties, Floetic--easily the baby-makingest album of the decade.

Vocalist Marsha Ambrosius ("The Songstress") and spoken-word poet Natalie Stewart ("The Floacist") both came to Philly to record Floetic at DJ Jazzy Jeff's A Touch of Jazz Studios. Released in 2002, it's seductive, sensual and even self-reflective.

And it bears repeating, it's the perfect album to listen to while going half on a baby. There were many nights I listened to Floetic and thought it should be essential background music for any late-night rendezvous�. And it was once or twice.

I should've known then that such a beautiful and creative partnership wouldn't last forever. After releasing their second studio album, Flo'Ology in 2005 (they released a live album/DVD, Floacism "Live" in 2003), things started to not, um, flow. The last time Ambrosius and Stewart performed together was in 2006. The following year, Ambrosius replaced Stewart with MTV2 personality Amanda Diva, and they went out on the road for a "Floetry Remixed" tour.

It just wasn't the same.

For a while there, fans rejoiced when both Ambrosius and Stewart appeared on "Marathon," a track off Raheem DeVaughn's Love Behind the Melody last year. But that track was recorded sometime before the girls split up.

So now, here's the question: What the hell happened? To quote a Jermaine Jackson song, "How could something so right go so wrong?" I put that question to Stewart, 29, currently on tour as a solo artist opening for lesbian hip-hop group Yo! Majesty. While she won't discuss what exactly caused the breakup, she does say that Ambrosius was ready to move on without her.

"Unfortunately, the breakup was messy," Stewart says over the phone. "It's very high school. And there's not really that much to be said on it. Marsha and I haven't communicated since just before I found out about the 'Floetry Remixed' tour. That was the last communication we had. And she's pursuing her career. I fired our manager, and Marsha stayed with our old manager and they decided that they were going to try and do Floetry by themselves. But a lot of that I had to catch up with, 'cause it all occurred without me."

Even though Stewart appears to be the odd woman out in this situation, she opts to be courteous rather than bitter. "Floetry was a three-album concept, and three albums have been created," she says. "And now the movement is continuing into two separate chords. So, obviously, that which Marsha brought will be founded in Marsha and that which I brought will be founded in me."

These days Ambrosius has been working diligently to become the first lady of hip-hop/R&B over at Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Last month she released her second mixtape, Yours Truly. With beats from producer Focus and mixed by DJ Don Cannon, it's actually a vast improvement over her 2007 debut, Neo-Soul Is Dead: The Chronic mixtape, which had her a bit too anxious to shed her alt-R&B image and prove herself, to quote a Ja Rule song title, a "Down Ass Bitch."

Stewart is doing her own thing too. Along with going on tour solo, she'll drop her own album, the curiously titled Freedom, later this year. But Stewart says she wouldn't rule out a Floetry reunion in the future. That's something I wouldn't mind accepting one damn bit.

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1. taragirl said... on Feb 2, 2009 at 08:34AM

“Yep, I think between the rumors and online updates, alot of us on the scene figured this much out. It's too bad, but everything had it's time and Floetry had their's and gave us quality, soulful music to hold onto forever. I wish them each the best in their new direction and look forward to what that brings. ~ taragirl”

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2. alexander said... on Apr 18, 2009 at 05:57PM

“I got a chance to see them in my home town of irvington nj they have or had one of the most prolific sounds that I had ever heard it is a shame that groups like that cant stay together long enough to show the next generation what true music and friendship is all about. I will always keep a specia; plase in my heart for not just them but for thier music and messege”

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3. Anonymous said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 02:04PM

“I love Floetry's music and very sad about the break up.Some or most of the music out now doesn't make much sense and have no real meaning.Just making hits that make no sense,but Floetry had something real something people can relate to just beautiful music and i truly miss them both.And i hope in the future that Marsha and Nat get back together and give us back Floetry.”

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