Daily Discovery: How Flara K Reinvented Their Songwriting Process And Rediscovered Their Confidence

While some folks are blessed with the ability to crank out amazing songs left and right, most songwriters are well-acquainted with a pesky little thing: self-doubt. Whether it’s from putting too high of an expectation on yourself or from trying too hard to make whatever you think people want you to make, self-doubt—and its friend, writer’s block—can be debilitating creative setbacks.

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That’s what Sam Martel and Collin Steinz—the two members of the Montreal-based indie-pop duo, Flara K—were learning after they put out their EP Anxious, Irrational, Fashionable in October 2020.

“We spent a long Montreal winter in isolation, reflecting on who we were as artists, musicians and people,” Martel tells American Songwriter. “We realized that we often second-guess ourselves or look externally for validation. That connected to much of the negativity we were dealing with at the time—a large part of the negativity was based on not having the confidence to trust ourselves. We wanted to change that.”

So, Martel and Steinz set up camp and began the search for confidence… and it didn’t take long to find it. “We spent many nights during the winter drinking wine and talking about life,” Steinz remembered. “We made a conscious decision to look inward for validation moving forward—we ended up writing ‘Rumours & Doubts’ soon after.”

With an ethereal soundscape, an irresistibly funky bassline and glossy, harmony-led hooks that’ll get stuck in your head for days at a time, “Rumours & Doubts” certainly sounds like the product of a band with confidence… in fact, it sounds like the product of a band with unabashed, vibey swagger. Clad with ‘00s-inspired fashion and blissful R&B-esque vocals, it’s a fine encapsulation of all the amazing things bubbling up in modern pop and electronic circles.

But what exactly did Martel and Steinz do to hit this stride? Well, for starters, they began by re-examining how they even approach songwriting in the first place. 

“For some time, I think we would say to ourselves in secret that we didn’t really love songwriting—but we’d never admit it to anyone,” Steinz explained. “But really, it was because we were kinda fighting the natural flow of things—we would be so hard on ourselves to always be writing that I think inspiration and excitement had turned stale. Now, I would say it’s the opposite and songwriting has truly become an extension of who we are as people and as Flara K. It has allowed us to be bolder, more honest and put a lot more of ourselves out there.”

On an artistic level, the process of trusting inspiration to find them, rather than trying to force songs out, worked wonders for Flara K’s productivity. On a technical level, though, it necessitated a change in their idea-generating process.

“Recently, we’ve been exploring what we call ‘brain splatter,’” Martel said. “There’s probably a better name for it, but when we get these bursts of inspiration, we open a session we’ve been working on and just start singing random melodies and words, allowing ourselves to get in a fluid headspace. We’ve also gone through this type of reinvention in regards to the types of music we listen to. We started a playlist called Reinvent on our Spotify page and it’s purposely filled with music we hadn’t really listened to before. Because of this, we found a bunch of new acts that completely inspired us and changed the way we approached music.”

Through this experience, Flara K tapped into one of the most magical things about songwriting: how fluid it can be. A mirror to our lives themselves, the process of writing songs can grow and change along with us, all the while offering a sacred and irreplaceable outlet.

“Learning to accept the rhythm at which inspiration comes to us—and the way our lives move—has helped us reconnect with ourselves,” Steinz said. “Songwriting has helped us connect to a world beyond music—it’s a lifestyle.”

Flara K’s new single “Rumours & Doubts” is out now and available everywhere. Listen to it below:

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