Florence + the Machine's Debut Album
by LAUREN M. MURPHY
As a musician, Florence Welch goes by Florence + the Machine, but as a 24-year-old Londoner, she’s just Flo. Her 2009 debut album, Lungs, has been at the top of the charts for months in her native UK, but her rise to fame in the States has been a bit slower. All that changed when her songs were featured on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Eat Pray Love movie sound tracks. And then there was her spectacular performance at this year’s MTV VMAs. Though her “Dog Days Are Over” video lost out to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” for the Video of the Year award, there is no question the American audience is now all ears for Florence and her Machine. We chatted with the fiery-haired Brit about the success of Lungs, her first impression of our fair city and her undeniable sense of style.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: Your album, Lungs, has been so well received. What was the inspiration behind it?
FLORENCE WELCH: The album is really a progression of my different phases and influences. Each song stands on its own [and is about] something I was interested in on a particular day or week. “Kiss with a Fist” was written when I was 18 and hanging out with punk bands and falling in love for the first time—it’s more raw and rock ’n’ roll. It took me so long to get this album together that by the time I made the last songs, I was 22, in a new relationship and not an art student anymore.
LAC: How has your life changed since the success of Lungs?
FW: It’s really the touring that’s changed my life. I’m not a natural traveler. I’m a total homebody and a bit of a hermit. I’m so grateful though because I wouldn’t have traveled much if it weren’t for touring.
LAC: Who are some of your musical influences and current musicians you’re into?
FW: I’ve always been inspired by Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac—I love her voice and the emotion in her performances. And right now I’m really into my friends The XX. I’m also a huge hip-hop fan: I love Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
LAC: You have such an amazing and unique fashion sense. How would you describe your personal style?
FW: A little frightening but also romantic—I get to float around in flowy gowns singing and twirling, which is what I always did in my bedroom growing up. Now people come and watch me do it, which is funny. In some ways I’m always trying to go back to that childhood fantasy of getting lost in my imagination, which is sort of what performing is.
LAC: You’re playing at The Wiltern in LA in November. Where was the first place you ever played here?
FW: The Troubadour last year on Halloween. We were all dressed up. I had on loads of scary black makeup and crimped hair, and the band was all dressed as skeletons.
LAC: Growing up in London, what was your impression of LA?
FW: I’ve read a lot of Bret Easton Ellis, so I think it was kind of dark, but when I got here it was more
beautiful and eclectic than I thought it would be. It actually really surprised me.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHLOE AFTEL/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES