Alexis T. Rhoden
A “Flowerchile” from Newton County has blossoming music career in Oxford. Newton County native Kristen Walker, better known by her social media and artist name, Flowerchile, dropped her first single “Hey, Clyde” on Valentine’s Day.
Walker grew up in a small Mississippi town near Meridian where she fell in love with “timeless” music. “I guess music has always been a part of me,” she said. “When I was a kid, my mama bought me a karaoke machine, and I don’t remember singing on it, but I used to have the microphone, so I pretended I was having a concert.”
Many artists have unique names. “My granny is like a flower guru,” Walker said. “Flowers have been a big part of my life, and I think it’s kind of a metaphor for myself. I like to think we’re all like flowers in the way we grow in season…how certain parts of ourselves die in them too. Flowers are constantly going through some kind of growth cycle.. just like us. And the ‘chile’ part is because I’m from the South, so I think the twist on child is appropriate.”
Walker said she faced a battle pursuing music. She had to gain self confidence and “stop being a punk.” She said the support of her immediate family, best friends, and genuine people gave her the extra push to drop her single.
She also credits her grandmother as her musical inspiration. “I remember the first CD my mom let me buy,” she said. “It was Britney Spears. It had the song ‘Toxic’ on it. Then I bought Ruben Studdard and Mario…back when he was talking about braiding his hair.”
Walker said she enjoyed listening to these artists, but her grandmother introduced her to Motown classics. “Around the house, my grandma was playing the blues, old school like the Temptations and Smokey Robinson,” she said. “All that timeless music that I get a lot of influence from is like the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s.”
She moved over to her keyboard. “My grandma introduced me to the piano too,” she said. “I started taking lessons, but I wasn’t focused then like I am now.”
Walker hasn’t figured out what musical genre she fits into. She finds inspiration from Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, and the Alabama Shakes.
“I really love the female out of Alabama Shakes,” she said. “She’s the truth.” She describes her own music as “hip hop having a baby with alternative rock music.”
Notepads, journals, and even the Notes app on the iPhone are Walker’s primary music writing sources. She said she jots down anything that has potential to be a song and has books full of songs.
“It’s not blues,” she said. “It’s not rock. It can be anything, and that’s the kind of music I want to make.”
Many artists use different platforms to showcase their music, such as Spotify, Apple Music or Spinrilla. Walker uses Soundcloud because it is a free app. “I feel like Soundcloud is for underground artists such as myself,” she said. “I have found so much good music on just that app online that does not get recognition.”
Walker plans to use other platforms. While working on her upcoming album, she is learning how to play guitar and relearning how to play piano. She said she feels strong about playing instruments.
Supporter Devante Yates said he is happy Walker is following her dreams. “I’ve known Kris to be a singer since we first met my freshman year,” he said. “I remember one day walking into her apartment and just hearing this soothing and bright voice, and I was just shook.”
Yates said he feels joy knowing she’s pursuing her dreams, and he is happy about her new single. “I really love the song,” he said. “It gives me vibes that are heard on HBO’s Insecure.”
Walker enjoys writing lyrics. She is overjoyed by the support she’s received from “Hey, Clyde,” and hopes everyone will listen.