Florence writes her best songs when she’s drunk or has a hangover, because that’s when the freedom, the feral music comes, creating itself wildly from the fragments gathered in her notebooks and in her head. “You’re lucid,” she explains, “but you’re not really there. You’re floating through your own thoughts, and you can pick out what you need. I like those weird connections in the universe. I feel that life’s like a consistent acid trip, those times when things keep coming back.”
Florence herself is a mass of contradictions: she’s tough yet she’s terrified, a bundle of nerves and passion, of darkness and pure joy. “I feel things quite intensely, which is why the music has to be so intense. I’m either really sad or really happy, I’m tired or completely manic. That’s when I’m at my most creative, but it’s also dangerous for me. I feel I could write some good songs, or break some hearts. Or tables. Or glasses.”
As a performer she can seem fearless, but she’s also far too quick to pass judgement on herself. This is the woman, after all who got into Camberwell art college by making a huge floral sign telling herself ‘You are a twat.’ She says she’s a geek, who loses all control when in love. She’s also something increasingly rare and precious in a time of karaoke pop: an artist who has found her own, authentic voice.
Her soaring, epic vocals, quirky melodies and self-contained musical world have already won her the 2009 Critics Choice Award at the Brits. Some compare her to Kate Bush. You’ll also find touches of Tom Waits and Nick Cave in her dark visions, and if you heard a little of Bjork too, she’d find it a compliment. But mainly, Florence is out on her own: an exhilarating place to be, she points out, but also a little scary.
Her debut album ‘Lungs’ is made of harps, choirs, drums, elevator shafts, bits of metal, love, death, fireworks, string quartets, stamping, sighing, strange electronic wailing, lambs, lions, sick, broken glass, blood, moon, stars, drink, coffins, teeth, water, wedding dresses.. and the silences in between. The songs are full of Gothic.