Ruth Flowers: Rockin’ Retirement

Ruth Flowers: Rockin’ Retirement

posted in: Artists | 19

How did you celebrate last New Year’s Eve? Did you rock the dance floor?

You can be sure Ruth Flowers (age 71) did. She’s one of Europe’s most popular DJs.

That’s right. One of Europe’ s most popular DJs, who prefers “electro rock to house music.” Here’s her tour schedule for November 2010:

05 @ I LOVE ELECTRO Los Angeles CA
10 @ SOUND FACTORY Lyon (France)
12 @ LE CHAT NOIR Dijon (France)
14 @ HIGHTSTREET (Belgium)
26 @ CLUB GALLERY Zagreb (Croatia)
29 @ NYC (USA)

She Don’t Need No Rocking Chair

How did this English granny from Bristol choose rocking the dance floor over rocking on her porch?

It all started about five years ago, when her grandson invited her to his birthday party at a London nightclub. Not surprisingly, the bouncer wouldn’t let Ruth past the red velvet rope.  He said, “You don’t want to go in there, madam.” She told him, “Yes I jolly well do, it’s my grandson’s birthday!”

Once in, the club’s electric atmosphere transformed how she saw life.

“There was a real osmosis between the music and the lights, it energized me!…made me feel so much younger!”

Ruth told her grandson she’d like to try it on a smaller basis for the kids in Bristol. She’d just returned to England after her husband passed away and had a lot of time on her hands. She needed an outlet. Her grandson thought she was nuts.

Fortunately, an acquaintance introduced her to 28-year-old French producer Aurelian Simon, who took the idea and ran with it.

Mamy Rock in action
Mamy Rock in action

Together they created her new persona, Mamy Rock (Mamy is French for grandma) who wears “glamorous sports gear” — big bling, spiky silver hair and oversized sunglasses.

Was it a marketing decision? Mamy Rock admits that stylists influenced her at first. But now, “I have my own ideas, and I like to wear what I want.”

Mixing the Old and the New

Simon also found DJs to teach Mamy Rock the nuts and bolts of the craft.  She struggled with the turntables and mixing equipment at first. “I’m not a great technician by any means. I’m from a different age group. It was very hard at the beginning.”

But she kept at it, going back and forth to France to gain mixing experience. She developed a sound all her own.

I like to mix the old and the new, so I might put electro alongside an old favourite like the Rolling Stones.

Her favorite group is Queen — “Freddie Mercury…what a voice.”

In 2009, she gigged an exclusive Cannes Film Festival party in front of Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.  After that, the bookings rolled in. Mamy Rock became a regular on the European club circuit.

She still lives in Bristol, but spends a lot of time in “rather nice hotels.” For some reason, she’s not that popular at home (“They don’t seem to want me in the UK, do they?”), but she finally performed at the Glastonbury Festival last year.

Eternally 69

Those USA dates on her November itinerary were also firsts.  She made her US debut at an electro festival in front of 3,000 young clubbers and recorded a new single called 69 in Los Angeles. (Mamy Rock was born in 1940, but she’ll always be 69!)

A few weeks later, she was in New York to DJ at The Carter Burden Center For the Aging’s 31st Annual Dinner Dance and Awards Ceremony. (You can see her rocking out with some of her peers here.)

Before her uber-cool Later Blooming, Mamy Rock spent ten years as a retiree in Portugal, ran a fabric shop and taught drama. The latter career was short-lived, since she didn’t want to teach “little toads with no interest in what I was doing.”

Obviously, she never lost her flair for the dramatic.

…Indeed, I’d rather sign a contract with a record company than sign up to a nursing home!

What Later Bloomers Can Learn From Ruth Flowers

  • Inspiration for later blooming can be found in the most unlikely places.
  • When looking for a mentor, don’t discount someone 40 years younger!

Sources

Mamy Rock’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel
The Guardian UK
The Telegraph UK

[Update: I was very sad to learn that Ruth passed away on May 27, 2014 at age 74]

19 Responses

  1. Hi Elle, you subscribed to my blog so I wanted to check yours out too. Love the title, concept and this woman rocks! I am not disappointed. My dream is to get many more late bloomers on the Internet and into social media. It’s brilliant what you’re doing here and I look forward to watching your blog grow and evolve. Keep up the good work:)

    • Elle B.
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      Wow Annabel, thanks! You’ve been one of my guides on the newbie journey through blogging and social media . . . I’m so happy you stopped by!

  2. TPegs
    | Reply

    RT @Later_Bloomer: Late bloomer Ruth Flowers literally rocks 69 – http://www.laterbloomer.com/ruth-flowers

  3. Tanya Geisler
    | Reply

    Oh Elle – I am LOVING your blog and what you’re up to. And this woman! Hell’s Bells, what a great story. An this: “I like to mix the old and the new…”. I know she’s talking about music, but this almost seems like the key for late bloomers, and other people trying to find their THING. Bravo…you know I’ll be back!
    XO

    • Elle B.
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      Thanks, Tanya! The feeling’s mutual. Love your blog and your work too!

  4. Dave Doolin
    | Reply

    More of a Deep House, Dub Step and Trance fan myself, but I have a few Electro favorites… but no matter. I’ve always felt that “generation gaps” were one of the stupidest artifacts of modern Western culture. I *like* electronica dammit. And while I enjoyed Foghat back in the day, I’m not going to be “That Old Dude” pushing quarters in the jukebox to spin up Supertramp. No effen way. In the privacy of my own, of course, anything goes…

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
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      Come on, Dave. Queen was on American Idol a few years back! Most of those kids even knew who they were. I love electronica. What’s cool about Ruth is that she does mix it up. I follow her on Twitter and she’s into everything. Quite the inspiration. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. florence fois
    | Reply

    Ah Ruth, you devil. This is so delicious … it’s better than dark chocolate 🙂

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
      |

      Thanks, Florence. Just started following Ruth on Twitter. She’s an absolute scream!

  6. viviane
    | Reply

    love, love, love this story!

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
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      Thanks, Viviane. She’s a firecracker, isn’t she?

  7. Marianne
    | Reply

    This is a great story, Debra. Freddie Mercury? Love him. I have to agree with Ruth, “what a voice”. I may have to share a link to this post on one of my blogs.

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
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      Please do, Marianne. It’s so good to see you here!

  8. Michael Walden
    | Reply

    Abso-frickin-lutely fantabulous! I love this woman! Great Post!

    Queen, who I was lucky enough to have seen live several times, has always been a favorite of mine. Simply one of the best ever.

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
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      Thanks and I agree, Michael. “Bohemian Rhapsody” broke through so many stereotypes. I just started following Ruth on Twitter, and I can confirm she’s an original!

  9. David Stevens
    | Reply

    Hi Debra,
    “A Night at the Opera” was my first vinyl Queen Album followed by Aday at the Races & News of the World….have greatest hits on CD. Great piece again, thank you
    be good to yourself
    David

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
      |

      Thanks so much, David. It just proves that good music is a universal that cuts across generations.

  10. David Goldman
    | Reply

    Wow, that was a great one. I always say that your pieces are truly inspirational for many of us, and this was was especially so. I am so impressed when you dig up great stuff about later bloomers, like Charles Darwin or Edgar Rice Burroughs. We all have heard of them, but the details, who knew? And that they were late bloomers, very inspiring. But this lady says we can all definitely do it. The video was totally inspiring. Good stuff, where do you find it?
    I am really happy you are posting more often, I just have to find the time to read this month with NaNoWriMo and all. Thanks for this post.
    David

    • Debra Eve (Elle B)
      |

      Thanks, David. Congrats on doing Nano. I did it last year and found it really honed my craft and intention as a writer. So glad you found the time to read this post!

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