Clad in her leopard-skin shrug and dark sunglasses, 69-year-old Ruth Flowers has conquered French clubland from the Cannes Film Festival to the top Paris nightspots with a mix of old-school hits, electrobeat and bling-bling style.
“It started really when my grandson had a birthday party … they always have a little disco, don’t they, after the party,” Flowers told Reuters, lounging on a white sofa in a Paris hotel in a green satin bomber jacket and trademark shades contrasting with her white hair.
“I went along quite late and the gentlemen at the door said, ‘I don’t think you want to go in there, Madame’. And I said, ‘Well I rather think I do’,” she said.
“I went in and it was very noisy and the lights were flashing, but there was an awful lot of energy and joy.”
While Flowers, a trained singer, was more used to church songs, German lieder and classic pop, she was so taken by the party that she decided there and then to become a disc jockey.
“I had no idea at the time of electro music,” she said.
However, as someone with interests ranging from history to theatre and fashion, she was willing to learn.
A friend put her in touch with French producer Aurelien Simon who taught her how to spin and helped her to develop a style, sprinkling her techno sets with tunes from Abba, Queen and the Rolling Stones.
“In the beginning it was just a little joke but it became serious,” Simon told Reuters by phone. “It took four years because she had to learn to use the machines. I explained the basics of electro music, and then she created her own style.”
Eye-catching earrings and her sartorial style make Flowers a stand out when she works the turntables, nodding to the beat and clapping her hands above her head.
“It’s a little glammy, a bit over the top, but it fits the bill I think,” she said of her outfits. “I mean, if I appeared in a cardigan, a sweater and brogue shoes it wouldn’t be quite the same.”
Flowers is working on a single, due to be released this spring. Some of her friends in London were a little sceptical about her new career at first, but she has drawn encouragement from her family and fans.
She remembers how young people from all over the world came up to her when she performed at the Cannes film festival.
“They said, “you’re awesome, we want to be like you’,” she said. “I always say — you don’t want to be like me. You want to be you.” Reuters