Welch in 2013 at The Sound of Change Live
|Birth name||Florence Mary Leontine Welch|
28 August 1986 |
|Genres||Indie rock, baroque pop, art rock, indie pop, neo soul|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter, arranger|
|Labels||Moshi Moshi, Iamsound, Island, Universal Republic, Republic|
|Associated acts||Florence and the Machine, Ashok, Cosmo, Calvin Harris, A$AP Rocky, Dizzee Rascal, Josh Homme, Drake, HAIM, The Maccabees, Kid Harpoon, The xx, The Big Pink, The Horrors, Dev Hynes, The Weeknd|
Florence Leontine Mary Welch (born 28 August 1986) is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. She is best known as the lead vocalist of the indie rock band Florence + the Machine. The band's debut album, Lungs, was released in 2009; on 17 January 2010, the album reached the top position, after being on the chart for 28 consecutive weeks. The group's second studio album, Ceremonials, released in October 2011, debuted at number one in the UK and number six in the United States.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Artistry
- 4 Public image
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 Filmography
- 8 References
Family and childhood
Florence Leontine Mary Welch was born in in Camberwell, London on 28 August 1986. Her British father is Nick Welch, an advertising executive, and her mother is an American expatriate from New York and the Harvard University- and Warburg Institute, University of London-educated Professor of Renaissance Studies and Vice-Principal for Arts and Sciences at King's College London, Evelyn Welch. Nick and Evelyn later divorced in 1990, and both remarried; when she was 13 years old, Welch, her mother, and her two younger siblings moved in with their next-door neighbour and his three teenage children. According to Welch, "We get on brilliantly now, but it was a nightmare then. I just used to stay in my room and dance around".
Nick contributed a "rock and roll element to the family mix"; in his twenties, he lived in a West End squat and attended the Squatters' Ball organised by Heathcote Williams where The 101ers played regularly. A self-confessed "frustrated performer", if Nick, as he put it, "nudged Flo in any way, it's only been to listen to the Ramones rather than Green Day". Evelyn had an equally strong yet completely different influence on her daughter. A visit to one of her mother's lectures left teenage Florence deeply impressed. She explained, "I aspire to something like that but with music. I hope that my music has some of the big themes—sex, death, love, violence—that will still be part of the human story in 200 years' time".
Welch is the niece of the satirist Craig Brown via Brown's wife and Welch's aunt, Frances Welch, and granddaughter of former deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph and former Daily Mail parliamentary sketchwriter James Colin Ross Welch, originally of Cambridgeshire.
Welch's fascination with terror and doom was intensified by the death of her grandparents within a few years of each other. At 10 years old, Welch witnessed her paternal grandfather Colin's deterioration following a stroke and death on 28 January 1997; at 14 years old, Welch's maternal grandmother, an art historian who had suffered from manic depression, committed suicide.
During her youth, Welch was encouraged by her Scottish paternal grandmother, Sybil Welch (née Russell), to pursue her performing and singing talents; Welch sang "Over the Sea to Skye" at her paternal grandmother's funeral, following her death from a stroke. Welch sang at her maternal grandmother's funeral as well. Welch's dead grandmothers inspired numerous songs on Florence and the Machine's début album, Lungs. Although she has an American passport via her mother, growing up, she did not spend much time in the United States.
Florence was educated at Thomas's London Day School then went onto Alleyn's School, South East London, where she did well academically, despite her diagnoses of dyslexia and dyspraxia. Welch often got in trouble in school for impromptu singing.
Upon leaving secondary school and "just bumming around Camberwell where I lived, working at a bar and thought that I should start doing something with life", Florence studied at Camberwell College of Arts before dropping out to focus on her music. Initially, she had intended to take a year out from her studies to "see where the music would go and then it started going somewhere so I never went back".
2006–2008: Career beginnings
According to Welch, the "Florence + the Machine" as a band name "started off as a private joke that got out of hand. I made music with my friend, who we called Isabella Machine, to which I was Florence Robot. When I was about an hour away from my first gig, I still didn't have a name, so I thought 'Okay, I'll be Florence Robot/Isa Machine', before realising that name was so long it'd drive me mad". In 2006, Welch's performances with Summers in small London venues under the joint name Florence Robot/Isa Machine began to attract notice.
In 2007, Welch recorded with a band named Ashok, who released an album titled Plans on the Filthy Lucre/About Records label. This album included the earliest version of her later hit "Kiss with a Fist", which at this point was titled "Happy Slap". She signed a contract for Ashok with a manager; but, feeling that she was "in the wrong band", she resigned, which cancelled the contract.
Florence and the Machine is managed by Mairead Nash (one half of the DJ duo Queens of Noize), who decided to manage the singer when an inebriated Welch followed Nash into the toilets at a club and sang Etta James' 1962 song "Something's Got a Hold on Me".
2009–2011: Florence and the Machine, Lungs, success and tour
Florence and the Machine released their debut album Lungs in the United Kingdom on 6 July 2009. The album was officially launched with a set at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley, South East London. It peaked at number one in the UK and number two in Ireland. As of 6 August 2009, the album had sold over 100,000 copies in the UK and by 10 August it had been at number two for five consecutive weeks. Following its 25 July 2009 release for download in the United States, the album debuted at number seventeen on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, ultimately peaking at number one. The album was released physically in the US on 20 October by Universal Republic. The album was produced by James Ford, Paul Epworth, Steve Mackey and Charlie Hugall.
Welch contributed vocals to David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's 2010 album Here Lies Love, an album about Imelda Marcos. As of January 2011, Welch was working with Drake on material slated for his upcoming album.
2011–2013: Ceremonials and greater success
The band's second album, Ceremonials, was released on 31 October 2011. It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and number six on the US Billboard 200. On 12 January 2012, Florence and the Machine were nominated for two Brit Awards, with the awards ceremony taking place on 21 February 2012 at the O2 Arena, London. On 26 April 2012, the band released "Breath of Life", a song which was recorded as the official theme song for the film Snow White and the Huntsman. On 5 July 2012, a remix of "Spectrum" by Scottish musician Calvin Harris was released as the fourth single from Ceremonials, becoming the band's first UK number-one hit. Welch has expressed excitement about putting new material together for a third album after the band finishes touring at the end of September 2012.
On October 2012, she was featured on Scottish singer-songwriter and producer Calvin Harris's song "Sweet Nothing", which debuted and peaked at number one on the UK singles chart, marking Welch's second number one. The song was taken from Harris's third studio album 18 Months and is the fifth single from the album. "Sweet Nothing" also peaked at number one in Ireland and number two in Australia and New Zealand. "Sweet Nothing" was certified Platinum in Australia.
Florence has been compared to other female singers such as Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, PJ Harvey, and Björk. During an interview, Welch cited Grace Slick as her influence and "hero". Florence and the Machine's style has been described as "dark, robust and romantic". Their music is a mix of "classic soul and midnight-on-the-moors English art rock". Welch stated that her lyrics related to Renaissance artists : "We're dealing with all of the same things they did : love and death, time and pain, heaven and hell". Welch has used religious imagery in her music and performances, though she has stated "I'm not a religious person. Sex, violence, love, death, are the topics that I'm constantly wrestling with, it's all connected back to religion."
When discussing her fashion style, Welch said that, "For the stage, it's The Lady of Shalott meets Ophelia...mixed with scary gothic bat lady. But in real life I'm kind of prim". Welch has become noticed for her red curls (though she is actually a natural brunette) and a style that has been described as daring but nonchalant. As a teenager she read fashion magazines more often than music magazines. Early in her music career she dressed in a tomboy style. 2011 saw Gucci dressing her for her summer tour and a performance at the Chanel runway show at Paris Fashion Week. Welch describes 1970s American drag queen troupe The Cockettes and French chanson singer Françoise Hardy as fashion mentors. Welch has also named Fleetwood Mac pop/rock singer Stevie Nicks as a musical, fashion, and general influence. A Huffington Post entertainment article quotes her as telling a reporter that "I'm pretty obsessed with Stevie Nicks from her style to her voice. I like watching her on YouTube and her old performances, the way she moves and everything". Welch can sometimes be seen in concert paying homage to Nicks' famous billowing stage dress. She later sings in the song "Sweet Nothing" by Calvin Harris showing her as a man in the beginning of the music video on YouTube, and later showing her as a woman (revealing clothing).
Welch had a long-term relationship with a literary editor, Stuart Hammond, from 2008 to 2011. Their temporary split in 2009 provided inspiration for much of the Lungs album. Welch says, "He prefers me not to talk about it. It's funny then singing about it." The couple broke up in 2011 by mutual decision because of conflicting career demands, and the break-up provided material for Florence + the Machine's second album, Ceremonials.
As featured artist
|Single||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Here Lies Love"
(David Byrne and Fatboy Slim featuring Florence Welch)
|2010||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Here Lies Love|
(Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch)
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|"I Come Apart"
(ASAP Rocky featuring Florence Welch)
|2013||Long. Live. ASAP|
2014 - Untitled Terrence Malick Project (post-production)
|Find more about Florence Welch at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
- Patterson, Sylvia (20 September 2009). "Behind the success of Florence and the Machine". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 7 March 2010. mirror
- "Florence and the Machine open Reading Festival with secret birthday gig". NME. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- "Florence Welch". Glamour. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Gannon, Louise (14 August 2010). "'The only time my dad worried about me was when Pete Doherty proposed': The world according to Florence Welch". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Ryan, Francesca (4 June 2009). "Florence and the Machine interview: sound and vision". The Telegraph.
- "Interview with Evelyn Welch". Association of Art Historians.
- "New Vice-Principal for Arts & Sciences at King's". King's College London. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- Harris, Josh (27 February 2010). "The unstoppable rise of Florence Welch". The Guardian.
- Welch, Nick (12 February 2011). "My daughter, the fabulous Florence Welch". The Guardian.
- Brinton, Jessica (31 May 2009). "Florence and the Machine: Wild at Heart". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- Odell, Mike (May 2010). "Florence Attacks!". Q (Bauer Media Group) (286): 46–52.
- West, Richard (29 January 1997). "Obituary: Colin Welch". The Independent.
- Hardcastle, Ephraim (29 September 2011). "Disgraced minister Jonathan Aitken to take part in "Night of Pride and Perjury" event with convicted drug dealer". Daily Mail.
- Patterson, Sylvia (20 September 2009). "Behind the success of Florence and the Machine". The Sunday Times.
- May, Hana (14 December 2009). "Florence and the Machine". Hearty Magazine.
- Corner, Lewis (23 May 2011). "Florence Welch: "New songs about my dead grandma"". Digital Spy.
- Hussey, Patrick (15 May 2008). "Interview: Florence & The Machine". Run Riot. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
- Bell, Sean (26 July 2009). "A piece of my mind: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- Parkin, April (4 April 2007). "Ashok – 'Plans' (Filthy Lucre)". Gigwise. Giant Digital. Retrieved 30 January 2011.[dead link]
- "INTERVIEW: Florence and the Machine". Yorkshire Evening Post. Yorkshire Post Newspapers. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- Sexton, Paul (10 August 2009). "Michael Jackson Extends U.K. Album Chart Run, Tinchy Stryder Notches Second Top Single". Billboard. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
- "Heatseekers Albums – Week of July 25, 2009". Billboard. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- "Florence + the Machine Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- Tartanella, Emily (7 July 2009). "Florence and the Machine: Lungs". PopMatters. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Rey, Benedicte (16 November 2009). "Florence + The Machine: the voice that bewitched pop". AFP. Google News. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Brown, Helen (1 April 2010). "Here Lies Love: David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, CD review". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 8 April 2010.
- Perpetua, Matthew (13 January 2011). "Drake to Collaborate with The xx and Florence and the Machine". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- Gregory, Jason (23 March 2010). "Florence and the Machine: "I Have Meltdowns"". Gigwise.
- Simpson, Oli (24 March 2010). "Florence Welch "admits to tour meltdown"". Digital Spy.
- "Florence Welch's meltdown". Daily Star. 23 March 2010.
- "Florence and the Machine album takes number one". BBC News. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- Caulfield, Keith (9 November 2011). "Justin Bieber's 'Mistletoe' Brightens Billboard 200 With No. 1 Debut". Billboard. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Brit awards 2012: nominations in full". The Guardian. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- "Florence and the Machine debut new song 'Breath of Life'". NME. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Bell, Crystal (26 April 2012). "Florence and the Machine, 'Breath of Life': Singer Releases New 'Snow White and the Huntsman' Track (AUDIO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Saunders, Louise (16 July 2012). "Worth the wait! Florence and the Machine score first ever UK number one single with Spectrum (Say My Name)". Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Florence Welch: 'My live shows are like an exorcism'". NME. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Calvin Harris & Florence Welch’s 'Sweet Nothing' debuts at UK No.1: Pressparty
- Rosen, Jody (15 November 2011). "Ceremonials". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- Simpson, Dave (3 July 2009). "Florence and the Machine: Lungs". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "Florence Welch – My London". London Evening Standard. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Visionary Vixen". Los Angeles Times Magazine. Los Angeles Times Communications. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- "Florence And The Machine: "I love demons and exorcism"". NME. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Marcus, Laura (9 August 2010). "Style Idol: Florence Welch". Venus Zine. Retrieved 23 September 2010.[dead link]
- de Burca, Demelza (4 February 2011). "Red hot; Fiery look that top stars are rooting for". Daily Mirror.
- Absolute Radio interview 4 February 2009 on YouTube
- Ellison, Jesse (23 October 2011). "Florence's Dark Side of Fame Newsweek 23 October 2011". The Daily Beast. The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Florence Welch's Fashion: 'It's Not Inner Turmoil. It's Total Escapism' Billboard 4 October 2011". Billboard. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Edgar, Michelle (25 May 2011). "Behind the Scenes with Florence and The Machine: Music Unites Interviews Florence Welch". Huffington Post.
- Whiteley, Jessica (25 June 2010). "Florence Welch: Splitting from my man was so painful". NOW. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- Jesse Ellison (23 October 2011). "Florence's Dark Side of Fame Newsweek". Thedailybeast.com. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Florence & the Machine". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Discography Florence + The Machine". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Discographie Florence + The Machine" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Calvin Harris – Chart history: Billboard Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Discographie Florence + The Machine" (in German). charts.de Media Control. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Discography Florence + The Machine". irish-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Discography Florence + The Machine". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Discography Florence + The Machine". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Florence + The Machine". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Calvin Harris – Chart history: The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Calvin Harris; 'Sweet Nothing')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Gold Platinum Database". Music Canada. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.