“Making music, it’s such a personal thing. You’re always making music; you’re making music that pleases you, and you kind of think, you know, ‘who the f**k else would listen to this?’ And so it’s really amazing to me how many people have taken it so to heart.” – Florence Welch
I guess it was inevitable, that we’d end up here, dedicating an entire month to the one and only, Florence + The Machine. We have met before, haven’t we? You know of my complete and utter devotion, some might say, obsession with the beautiful songstress Florence Welch and her flawless hymns? Yes, I thought so. It’s hardly a secret, given the circumstances. How many Florence posts are we at now? I’ve lost count. When I thought about composing a second edition of Press Play: Artist of the Month, I debated posting another lengthy love-letter to my beloved. There are only so many ways to accurately word the magical power Florence + The Machine possess. Then I completely chucked that thought out the window, because it was incredibly inaccurate. My ability to illustrate the melodious and lyrical magnetism seen in every Florence song is endless. I’m a fangirl. It’s what I do.
I propose, we lose ourselves in the mysterious mystical qualities of symphonic sound, exploring the music, voice, and style of Ms. Florence Mary Leontine Welch and the incredible Machine. Take a journey with me as we discover a bit more about these remarkable and noteworthy music makers, twirl and spin through two awe-inspiring records, and maybe make a stop to gaze upon the unique couture elegance of our crazy Flo. Artist of the Month is a celebration, sending the streamers and confetti flying, paying tribute to the incomparable Florence + The Machine.
To kick off this Flo-tastic party, let’s go behind the music, a sort of meet and greet, if you will. Welcome to the abridged version of “When Florence met Machine.”
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Our story begins, as it so commonly does, on the iconic city streets of London Town. She had been writing her storybook lyrics and fantastical melodies ever since she can remember, constantly utilizing and expanding her passionate powerhouse vocals; finding inspiration in the macabre and unusual. “It’s so frustrating being trapped in the parameters of your physical self” (Source).
It wasn’t until she began to collaborate with current writing partner and best friend, Isabella Summers, that things began to really take off for the winsome songbird. Florence Robot and Isa Machine began to take the stage at random underground Punk clubs (Yes, that’s what I said) throughout the city, attracting the attention of several industry executives.
Chapter 2 (Otherwise entitled, “It All Began In the Loo”): After a performance in 2007, Florence was cornered by a former BBC DJ in the toilet (Yes. Really). When the red-head began to sing Somethings’s Got a Hold on Me by Etta James, everything changed. “She asked me to sing at her Christmas party, and now she’s my manager. It’s such a funny fluke that I started, quite literally, in the toilet” (Source).
Compressing their former stage name and evolving their mellifluous song style, Florence Robot and Isa Machine officially became Florence + The Machine in 2008 when they started putting the finishing touches on their debut album, Lungs. The tracks were a hodgepodge of sorts, as Florence began recording the illustrious tunes when she was just eighteen. The record created a fantasy world with throbbing drum lines, fanciful lyrics, and magnificent melodies.
Florence steadily made a name for herself in the UK with hits like Kiss With a Fist and Cosmic Love. Oh so slowly, that same success began to trickle through to the US. The opulent single, Dog Days Are Over reached enormous heights in 2010 after Flo and her Machine performed the anthem for the MTV viewing public. Of course, we’re going to keep letting them think that, because a good portion of the music obsessed community already knew about the sublime songstress.
“Sometimes I find that music is so much more attractive than love. I don’t know. . . It’s like some kind of euphoria that love can’t bring to you” (Source).
After consistent touring – hopping from mammoth outdoor arenas to small clubs – and countless interviews and appearances, Florence finally had the go-ahead to compose another album. Months of writing and reworking gave way to create a darker, more individualistic record. “My new album is a battle cry” (Source). In the weeks previous to the release, excitement for the new record increased tenfold when the first official single, Shake It Out, was introduced. The fans went crazy for the operatic tune. Needless to say, Ceremonials was a hit. One reviewer said, “When you first sit down and listen to Ceremonials, there is a blissful moment when you realize you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’ve been transported to some strange and wonderful dreamlike location; where ghosts roam the streets, lovers embrace and break into song, and Florence Welch looks down upon you from her majestic tree. There is no other place like it. You want to be there. You want to keep Florence in your pocket and have her sing you lullabies. Or maybe, that’s just me?” (Source).
With Ceremonials one-year anniversary only two months away, Flows (i.e. Florence Fans) have been expectantly awaiting news of any impending future projects. Word spread quickly when it was revealed that Florence would lend her signature vocals to Sweet Nothing, a collaboration with Calvin Harris. Vastly different from what we’re used to hearing from our favorite song siren, the dance track (expected to debut in the UK October 11th) may be out of our Florence comfort zones, but ultimately draws you in. I’m speaking from experience, of course. Let’s just say, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to it. Unfortunately, with good news comes bad, as well. In a recent interview, Florence disclosed her intent to take a year off from music. Even though, after hearing those words, I died a little inside, it’s easy to understand her decision. We’ll miss you, Flo, but we get it. Just come back to us soon.
If that didn’t make you want to start crying into your pillow and listening to No Light, No Light on repeat, this will: this concludes Week 1 of Artist of the Month: Florence + The Machine. I know. It’s sad. Next time, we’ll begin diving into the music portion of the program. That should cheer you up, though. Don’t worry, we’ll see each other soon. For now, why don’t you get out your FATM playlist and start picking out your favorite songs. Oh, and one more thing. I have something to ask of you . . .
If you would like to contribute to Artist of the Month: Florence + The Machine, you’re welcome to submit your own fan art and/or a paragraph (or two) on why you love Florence + The Machine. Those selected will be featured on the Kim the FanGirl, in the conclusion of Artist of the Month. You can Tweet, Facebook, or E-mail your submissions to me. And you can always contact me in the comments below. Have fun!
Are you obsessed with Florence + The Machine? What’s your favorite Florence song? Favorite album? Have you seen them perform live? Do you have a favorite Florence Welch quote? Tell me in the comments!