It’s been a joy to witness the rise of one of music’s most talented singers and songwriters in decades in Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. You can hardly go anywhere without hearing one of her soaring, chill-inducing singles, whether it’s “Dog Days are Over,” “Kiss with a Fist,” or “What the Water Gave Me.”
Her voice is an otherworldly blend of Kate Bush and PJ Harvey and it’s rare to find someone who makes such affecting music only two albums into his or her career.
Lungs was an incredible debut and set the bar quite high, but her following record Ceremonials, which was released in October 2011, pushed her sound forward and has garnered her even more fans worldwide.
Welch stopped by WXRT Chicago’s Live at Lollapalooza broadcast before her Sunday evening set to chat with Marty Lennartz about her tough tour schedule and some of the surreal moments of her time on the road.
It’s an odd phenomenon to hear the artists we gush about in turn gush about meeting their own musical heroes. It’s easy to forget that idolization isn’t exclusive to us music-loving plebes and that even the biggest and best musicians are human too. Welch’s voice takes on a dreamy vibe when she mentions meeting some of her favorite musicians.
“I’ve met lots of crazy people. I’ve danced with Paul McCartney at the Met Ball and I was dressed as David Bowie, with bleached eyebrows so that was sort of a bizarre moment in my life,” Welch laughs. “It was a joy meeting Jay-Z and Beyonce, which was surreal because they’re sort of the king and queen of music.”
While it sounds like Welch has had quite an eventful tour, she says that it has been an exhausting experience. Since her debut Lungs in 2009, Welch really hasn’t taken a break from touring.
“I think we’ve been tour for about three years and it’s pretty much what we do now. It does get to the stage where you just cry all the time,” Welch says.
And what does she have planned for the rest of the year?
“Tour, tour, tour, tour, tour, tour, tour. I don’t know, get committed or something.”
Hopefully Welch will take what sounds like a much-needed break from touring by the end of the year and get started on writing for the next record.
Ceremonials is available now on Island Records.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel took in Florence’s set on the North side of Lollapalooza.
— Zack Nechvatal + Eric Staszczak