Florence Pugh had a better 2019 than most. Her trinity of breakout roles — wrestling biopic Fighting With My Family, culty cerebral horror film Midsommar, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale Little Women — showcases a diverse range of talent, and her 2020 might be even bigger. She'll be making her Marvel Cinematic Universal debut alongside Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow.
But before all this, the award-winning 24-year-old was merely a teenager growing up in Oxford, England, recording herself singing acoustic covers of songs by The Lumineers, Oasis, and Jack Johnson and posting them to YouTube.
A New York Times profile of Pugh published Wednesday (January 8) makes note of her account page, full of videos uploaded between 2013 and 2016 where she appears in "an early '10s teen-girl uniform — crimson hair, cat-eye makeup, beaded ring bracelet" and flaunts a "world-weary look." The webcam-captured clips feature smoky-voiced, no-frills renditions of tunes like "Wonderwall" and "Ho Hey," often with Pugh sitting on a bed with a nylon-string guitar in hand. One finds her fronting a group at a battle of the bands at St. Edward's School in Oxford.
Like her MCU comrade Brie Larson — who performed pop songs in malls in the mid-2000s and even saw one hit TRL — Pugh flaunts a musical prowess that's immediate and welcoming. These minimal, intimate moments, captured under her moniker Flossie Rose, shine through; The New York Times heralded her as "more veteran hauled out of retirement than ingénue in search of her close-up" in the videos.
Pugh's page is more than just covers, though. She uploaded several originals — or rather, her mother did, "without entirely realizing, until she developed a following, that anyone could watch them," as a new Vogue cover story reveals. One of them was the sunny ballad "I'll Be the Girl, You Be the Boy," which she called "one of my own happy tunes." "Wrote this a few weeks back as a summer song, breaking down a relationship into just a game with a girl and a boy," the video description reads.
Thanks to YouTube's algorithm, some suggested videos revealed even more clips of Pugh playing guitar, these ones dating back to 2007 (when she would've been around 11 years old). Her voice feels more like a tidal wave in the one where she covers Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You" during an apparent guitar lesson.
As we cannonball directly into awards season, and as Pugh racks up BAFTA (and potentially even Oscar) nominations for her standout year on film, her stories are being quickly written. There's so much to take in.
But it's nice to go back to where it all began: with a few simple chords, some gentle folk-pop, and not a single face of prolonged agony due to the horrific inner workings of a Swedish commune.