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01-08-2009
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threads merged as both style and music can be discussed in one thread.

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01-09-2009
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After an impromptu performance in a pub set her on the road to stardom, Florence Welch has gone on to bag a Brit Award, a Mercury Prize nomination – oh, and a mention from Prince Charles. Benji Wilson gets the story so far from pop’s most colourful – and unconventional – new voice



Many of the things you need to know about Florence Welch, the flame-haired frontwoman of this year’s hottest musical ticket Florence and the Machine, are right there in her stage performances.

Take a recent London gig, for example. Fuelled by a couple of vodka tonics, she twirled and whirled in scandalous hotpants and a floor-length mesh cape, then clambered on to a speaker stack, and perched motionless on top like a pensive bird of prey while the band played on. The thought occurred: uh-oh, she’s going to try and fly. Luckily it also occurred to a security guard who hauled her back down. And then the song ended and she was a pleasant, polite 22-year-old again, thanking the crowd so much for coming.
‘Singing takes over your whole body and your brain. It’s like coming back from a weird
place every time you stop,’ she tells me when we meet a week later. It’s the ability to go to that weird place that makes Florence this year’s most off-kilter, downright exhilarating pop star.

She looks sensational, her album Lungs has been nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize (to be announced on 8 September) and she has a voice loud enough to smash chandeliers from a distance. But most of all she has an eerie presence – ‘like Kate Bush on Red Bull,’ I wrote in my notes at that gig – that makes her seem just a little bit special.



Florence says this fey otherworldliness was there from childhood. She grew up in a bohemian South London family, the eldest of three children born to an ad-man father and an American art historian mother.

‘I was imaginative, a bit of a dreamer but quite a timid child. I wasn’t confident – I think childhood is one of the most uncertain and terrifying places to be. I don’t know if I’d want to go back there. But I do remember being completely involved in imaginary games that would last for days, weeks. It was always magic, sorcery, living in trees. A lot of just living in imaginary worlds. I don’t think I’ve lost that. It’s just now I’m doing it as a job.’
Her playmates were the people next door, who went on to become her brothers and sisters. (Her parents separated when she was 13; her mother moved in with the next-door neighbour, and Florence found herself with four new step-siblings.) ‘I had quite a chaotic upbringing, what with the amalgamation of two families into one house. That was quite a strange time, but we’ve all turned out well-rounded individuals, much to my mother’s relief. Much to her credit as well.’
‘I was a chubby kid! Really awkward until the
age of 16’



Her mother, as it happens, was at the gig where her daughter shinned up the speaker-tower. ‘She said she enjoyed the gig but it was too loud and she wishes she could hear what I was saying more. She doesn’t like the music industry.’ In short, Florence’s mum Evelyn (with whom she still lives) worries about her little girl getting her head turned by the money, the parties, the people.
‘She’d much rather I was doing something else, but she does say that when she sees me on stage that she understands why I do it. But she so wishes that I was just at university.’
Florence was never really going to end up ‘just at university’. At Alleyn’s co-educational school in Dulwich, where she sang in the choir, she says she was treated as a bit of a lost cause. ‘I daydreamed my way through it.’



What was she focused on instead? ‘Falling in love with a boy in a band. Not someone famous. Just a boy in a South London punk group. I had one best friend at school and we entered this world of art students and these amazing crazy parties and gigs. That’s what made me want to be in a band. By the end of school I felt like I wasn’t really there any more.’
The established route to the South London scene she craved was via Camberwell College of Arts, and at 18 she went there to study illustration. She dabbled in avant-garde installations (‘I remember drawing lots of cannibalistic stick men who’d eat each other in really violent ways’) then got down to the real business of banddom. ‘I went to art college because loads of amazing people I knew had gone there and it was always an ambition of mine to get an art degree. Or to be an art college dropout!’

And drop out she did. How Florence got signed is rapidly becoming part of modern music lore. Although she had been ‘messing around doing backing vocals’ while at school, and had been part of scratch bands since a phase as a 13-year-old punk, she’d never thought of herself as a frontwoman.

But in December 2006, when she was 19, and a year and a half into her course at Camberwell, Mairead Nash, one half of the indie/disco DJ duo the Queens of Noize, booked a friend of Florence’s to DJ at a night in a pub. ‘I went there dressed in a full tuxedo and I was really drunk, running around going, “I can sing!”’
‘My mum would much rather that I was doing
something else. She wishes I was just at university’


Florence cornered Nash in the loo, and treated her to a half-cut rendition of Etta James’s Something’s Got a Hold On Me. Instead of requesting police assistance, Nash asked Florence to perform at her open club night a week later.

‘We had an hour to rehearse, I had no name, I had about three songs but no backing music and totally took a chance. But while I was doing it I was like, “This feels right.” I’d always thought I needed to be in someone else’s band. I didn’t think I could stand up on my own and do it.’ She could – and Nash agreed to manage her.

Although by that point she had already written some of the songs on Lungs, most of them came, as so often, from a break-up. She is now back with the boyfriend (Stuart, a literary editor) but it was traumatic at the time. ‘I was quite heartbroken and really manic. When you’re in that place it’s good to have something to do because otherwise you get really self-destructive. I think it sort of saved me from the wilderness, from the hurricane!’



Stuart provides her with new fiction to devour, and she’ll happily talk about the books, but less so the boyfriend. ‘I don’t think he really likes me talking about our break-up. It was a painful time for him, too. He loves all the songs…but I don’t really like to talk about him.’
Either way, the songs had the right effect. Two years after singing to Nash in the loo, having only released a pair of independent singles and before any major tour, Florence was on stage at Earl’s Court in February accepting this year’s Brit Award for Critics’ Choice (Adele picked up the same award in 2008). It was still five months before Lungs would even be released.
‘I felt so out of my depth, like I didn’t belong. Take That were coming down in a spaceship, Girls Aloud were doing a burlesque show and there was me, shaking… I went backstage and just burst into tears afterwards.’
For a while she felt too exposed, with too little airplay to justify the mantle the industry had placed on her shoulders. ‘But now I can look back and really feel like that helped me. People who would have not thought to listen to my music, well, maybe it made them go and listen.’
‘I burst into tears after the Brit Awards. I felt so out of my depth’
Since then, she has inevitably found herself lumped in with the Upcoming Female Artist brigade. Typically, Florence is unflustered by the bracketing. ‘We just all happen to be female. I’ve met La Roux – she’s a really, really nice girl, comes from South London like me. I love her album. Victoria [Hesketh], Little Boots, is really sweet. VV Brown, lovely… Marina and the Diamonds, her stuff is great and she’s such a sweet girl.

'Everyone is really supportive of each other and we’re all going through the same thing, the highs and the lows. I don’t ever feel like there’s rivalry. There’s a real sense of, “We’re in it together.” But we’re all different artists and if you listen to our music you can tell that none of us is doing the same thing.’
Yet, as wowed crowds from T in the Park, Oxegen and Glastonbury will testify, none of the current crop of chanteuses quite match up to Florence’s on-stage clout. She simply sounds bigger than any of her contemporaries – she is bigger than them, 6ft tall and striding the stage on six-inch heels like a punk Ophelia – and she looks like no one else out there.

‘I’ve always been interested in clothes. I became friends with my best friend at school because we wanted to dress up and go to burlesque nights and places where we could wear the most outrageous clothes ever.’
By outrageous, she means the outer limits of most people’s glam-fantasy dressing-up box. At 11, she says, she was dressing up as a witch in purple lipstick, the first of many phases. Little Old Lady was ‘brogues and cardigans and ankle socks’; Little Lord Fauntleroy was ‘boys’ shorts and blouses’, and somewhere in between came a preppy period (‘white socks and loafers; every day. I had a ponytail and I stood really still.’).



She first dyed her hair bright red when she was nine, and since then it’s meandered through the entire annoy-your-parents spectrum, only returning to her trademark auburn 18 months ago. She describes her look now as – deep breath – ‘half gothic bat crow winged fantasy, half golden 70s Stevie Nicks white witch. And a smattering of disco go-go hotpants.’
It takes some figure to get away with that kind of mix ’n’ match wardrobe, yet she hasn’t always been the lissom six-footer she is now. ‘I was a really chubby kid! Really awkward until the age of 16, then I just got tall, levelled out. I was even skinnier than I am now when I was 17.’
Florence says that although she does worry about her weight – ‘I think every girl does. No one’s completely happy with their body’ – her concern is less about getting fat than getting too skinny. ‘I have a tendency to lose weight – everyone in my family has it, my dad’s really skinny. We get too distracted and forget about eating. People are always encouraging me to eat more.’

Today she’s in a vintage black dress with a sort of built-in white-trimmed cape, and a battered pair of beige suede brogues. But she’s happy to defer to a stylist for her stage look, shoots and videos because, she says, ‘I don’t know what is going to look good on camera. But we work together really closely. Aldene [her stylist] introduces me to new designers like Hannah Marshall and Felder Felder, who are really amazing. So it’s a mix of young, upcoming designers. That’s exciting – you’re making something; they’re making something.’
Most recently she performed for the Prince’s Rainforests Project alongside Paul Weller at the Eden Project, and in spite of all that has happened to her in the past 12 months – Glastonbury, a top ten album, the Brit Award and now that coveted Mercury nomination – she says that event stands out. ‘Prince Charles came on the screen above the stage and said thank you to the artists who played. I think he said my name. I was like, “Oh my God, thank you sir!”’ She laughs. ‘Him having said my name? Now that’s really weird.’

FLORENCE FAVOURITES



RECORD: Manners by Passion Pit.
‘I was on stage straight after them at Glastonbury this year and I was singing along.'
JEWELLERY: Anything by Dominic Jones.
‘He’s an old friend and he’s now doing so well and I wear his jewellery everywhere. I love his claw ring.’
SAVING UP FOR: A Chanel necklace.
‘One with the logo done with pearls. It’s actually the cheaper scale of Chanel. I told myself if I got a record in the top five I could have it. Now I have, so I need to go out and get it!’
BEAUTY PRODUCT: Kiehl’s Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser.
‘I’ve got quite thin skin so I need something gentle.’
STYLE ICON: A mix of Stevie Nicks, Siouxsie Sioux and Annie Hall.

source: dailymail.co.uk




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02-09-2009
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Thanks for that! Didnt realise her hair was dyed, she suits it so well!
Florence is also in the new Asos magazine, she's done a photo shoot and designed some clothes, my friend has it.. I will try and steal it to scan! It says theres a video online too but i can't find it.

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02-09-2009
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She was so amazing at Reading, I wish I could have seen it live! I love her hair, I couldn't belive it was dyed either as she looked so amazing with it

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02-09-2009
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I was at her set at Reading, I was amazed by her. She's one of those people who when they're performing you cannot take your eyes off of them. She's amazing live! Definatly the best of all the female artists around at the moment

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02-09-2009
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^I am so envious. Where you there when she was clmbing up the set?

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02-09-2009
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No unfortunatly not At that point I was literally running through camp as I could hear it being played, I had to leave my friends to catch the rest of the set as we were drinking in our tent and lost track of time

What I did see however was amazing At one point she was moving her fingers like they were twinkerling stars and without even telling the crowd to do anything everyone copied her

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02-09-2009
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I love her i love her i love her i love her... did I jsut say that I love her? yes I do love her...

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02-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mardybum8 View Post
No unfortunatly not At that point I was literally running through camp as I could hear it being played, I had to leave my friends to catch the rest of the set as we were drinking in our tent and lost track of time

What I did see however was amazing At one point she was moving her fingers like they were twinkerling stars and without even telling the crowd to do anything everyone copied her
That is so cool, she is such a great peformer - like she actually gets into it and really enjoys it. Were you there when she got everyone to all jump? (Sorry for all the questions, but I am a tad obsessed right now!)

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02-09-2009
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Yes I was there then :d And I did indeed jump

She has so much energy! You can tell she really enjoys being on stage, I love that when you see someone live. It's better than acts who just stand there and expect the crowd to create the energy *cough*KOL*cough*

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11-09-2009
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Awh yes a Florence thread.I love her music and style.I was so set on seeing her over a year ago in London.Surprisingly not many people knew who she was and now....well she's blossomed

I wanted to start a thread but had no idea,could someone help me out on how to do that.Im just curious for future reference

I love "Between two Lungs" and "Im not calling you a liar" not to mention the covers of hospital beds and Im goin down.

I have some photos to upload so hopefully ill have time soon.
Thanks again for starting the thread

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12-09-2009
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Quote:
Life & Style


Florence Welch - My London

Amy Grier, ES Magazine
31.07.09


Home is...
Camberwell in South London. It's where I grew up and went to art college. I still live round there with my sister. It's a very creative and eclectic place.
Have you been away recently?
I went to Malibu with my boyfriend where we stayed in my uncle's Airstream trailer; and I went to Aldeburgh in Suffolk for the weekend to visit my auntie and uncle who live by the beach, but I don't have time for holidays really.
What was the last gig you saw?
Beirut at The Forum. It was such a beautiful show. I have covered their songs before. I love them.
What are your secret London addresses?
Rough Trade in Notting Hill for great old and new music. Beyond Retro in Bethnal Green for amazing vintage clothes. Riverside Bookshop at London Bridge because my boyfriend works there, so I just go and hang out. Scope, the charity shop near where I live, is great for the odd bargain, and I love Columbia Road Flower Market.
What's the best meal you've had in London?
Sushi at Ten Ten Tei on Brewer Street. It's a tiny place in Soho and does the best Japanese food in London. Me and my best friend always go there for sashimi and green tea when we're trying to be healthy.
What is your earliest London memory?
Climbing the trees in my local park, Myatt's Fields, when I was about nine years old. The willow tree was the evil tree and the mulberry tree was the good tree. It was great for climbing, and you could eat the mulberries in summer. I spent a lot of time in that tree.
What would be on your tombstone?
Without hope, and without despair.
What are you most afraid of?
Death, or the death of a loved one.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Commercial dance music. I love old Madonna songs - 'Over and Over' is amazing - but also Calvin Harris, Eric Prydz and Dizzee Rascal. I love that track 'Bonkers', it's really good for dancing around my bedroom to.
What would you do as Mayor for the day?
Throw random street parties all over town.
What is your life philosophy?
Jump into things headfirst.
What animal would you most like to be?
A tiger - it was my favourite animal when I was a kid - but maybe I should be a nightingale who sings in the dark and flies away. I would love to have wings, but I also like tigers because they are the only big cats that like to swim, and I love swimming.
What was the last album you bought?
Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective - it's amazing.
What would you save from a fire?
My notebooks. They have all my lyrics in them and all my drawings and things I have collected. They are so personal I would be devastated if they were lost.
What makes you laugh?
The Mighty Boosh. It's so bizarre, but it cracks me up.
What makes you cry?
A lot of things. I cry all the time.
What are you up to at the moment?
Touring my album Lungs.
Which London street do you like to shop on?
Brick Lane. It's always nice to wander down there on a Sunday and see all the kids selling on the clothes they bought the other day; the whole street basically turns into a gigantic swap shop.
Who's your hero?
Grace Slick, who was the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane. She had such an amazing voice; her song 'White Rabbit' changed my life.
What do you like to wear?
My clown suit. I wore it all last Glastonbury and it reminds me of fun times.
What's the best place for a romantic date in London?
Loungelover bar in Shoreditch. It's all velvet and subtle glamour. It's next to Les Trois Garçons, which I also like to go to. Loungelover is an amazing place filled with taxidermy and loads of handbags hanging from the ceiling, very ornate but quite like a junk shop.
What's your favourite London club?
Smash & Grab at Proud Camden on a Thursday. I've played there and it's a really good night out.
Have you ever stolen anything?
Erm... not recently, I've lost loads of stuff, though.




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Theres another interview herehttp://www.handbag.com/fashion/inter...rence-welch/v1

Quote:
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Topshop today announced their first musical collaboration as the High Street store has produced several stage outfits for singer Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. The stylish lady is performing in Manchester on Friday night supporting Blur before heading to the Glastonbury festival.
Topshop have created three key ensembles for her which include a delicate black tulle cape, a tailored bodice and cage heels with black and gold rose applique. Florence often wears dramatic stage oufits with long batwing sleeves and capes, but it will be great to see what Topshop creates.



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Last edited by 18ForEver; 12-09-2009 at 02:42 PM.
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