There are a lot of women I have a lot of respect for in this world – from family and friends to famous authors, musicians, activists, fashion icons, and so on. At the very top of that list, for several years now, though, has been the immensely talented, gorgeous, eccentric, and larger-than-life Florence Welch.
Florence heads up her incredible band, Florence + The Machine – and if you haven’t heard them yet, I demand that you pause your reading of this post and start listening before you move on, because there’s absolutely no way I can put their sound into words for you.
I’ve seen others describe it as “intense,” as “over the top,” “dark, robust, and romantic,” “bright and upbeat,” “a mix of rock and soul,” “pretty with a punch,” “mind blowing,” “Gothic, Celtic, bluesy, danceable rock,” “polished punk.”
Sometimes I wonder if Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks didn’t get together in the 80s and somehow create Florence – this magical English gem. And perhaps, years later, she wound up in the care or the classrooms of the likes of Tori Amos and PJ Harvey.
Seriously… she’s so many of my favorite music talents and fashion icons and personality traits rolled up into one energetic, unstoppable, bright light of a human being, and I can’t get enough.
I first stumbled across Florence + The Machine back in 2009, when their first album, Lungs, debuted. A few chords into the first track and I was sold. I’ve been a fan ever since.
With her second album, Ceremonials, she wasn’t afraid to change up her sound, and with her more recent, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, she tweaked her style again… and every time, it works.
Her lyrics – which have the power to either motivate you to take on the world or leave you a crumpled, weeping mess – are always accompanied with just the right, often surreal, sounds.
She’s also long been very dedicated to the visual side of her art, creating intricate, storytelling videos to accompany her songs. So much thought goes into these and early on, they definitely caused my love for her and all she does to grow.
Jeremy surprised me with tickets to see her live back in May in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. You guys. I’ve seen so many shows in my life, yet not one has had me literally dancing like I didn’t have a care, jumping as high and as fast as I could at her request, waving my hat around with ten thousand other singing, jumping fans. She was all over the stage, back and forth and up and down, pausing only a few times to speak on the importance of love and kindness and living in the moment.
At one point, she dove off of the stage into the uplifted hands of her adoring fans, and was carried further and further along until she was let down in the section just next to ours, and I thought I might burst into tears. Scratch that. I did burst into tears.
Between albums, she keeps herself busy with tours, music festivals, collaborations – two of which have come out quite recently – and various other appearances.
She released three tracks for the video game Final Fantasy, which she claims she’s always been a major fan of. I’m not a gamer, but this EP alone has made me want to dive into this virtual world so badly because if it’s as beautiful as the songs that are featured in it, how could I not?
More recently, she worked with Tim Burton to create a track for his upcoming film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, titled “Wish That You Were Here.”
Did I mention she reads? Not only reads, but encourages others to consume as much literature as they possibly can, too, supporting her fan club’s book group, Between Two Books.
She’s stopped by SNL for a few performances in the past…
…and recently took time out of her day while on tour in the US to visit a hospital in Texas to hang out with and sing to a teenage fan who was forced to miss Florence in concert due to cancer keeping her in hospice care.
She’s also honest and transparent about her not-so-perfect past, opening up about past alcohol abuse, depression, and a breakdown that caused her to reevaluate how she was living and change it.
Her musical talent offers so much to love, indeed, and is complemented with a killer sense of fashion. If I could hire her for just one day to give my wardrobe a makeover, I’d do it in a heartbeat. She’s not afraid to go bold in bohemian threads, flared jeans, floppy hats, and always the best shoes. She went Gucci for all of her wardrobe on her most recent tour, and has even walked and performed on a few runways during various fashion weeks.
Her sense of style isn’t limited to what she wears, either. Take a look at this tour of her apartment. Droooooooling.
All of this, and yet she remains so incredibly humble and sweet.
Thanks for proving that us soft-spoken ladies can kick some serious ass when we want to, Flo! Keep doing you.