Florence Welch Talks Greek Mythology, Iconic Women & Why Feminism Matters

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Don’t worry you guys, this Joan of Arc-eqsue image of singer Florence Welch from Vogue magazine we used at the top of this blog post will totally make sense as you read on!

At the recent Glastonbury festival, Florence and her band Florence and the Machine performed to rave reviews after filling the Foo Fighters’ headline spot, proving that perhaps the festival organizers need to recognize the need to book more female headline acts in the future. But we digress…

The Grammy-award winning artist who, unlike other multiple-album artists, has gone from strength to strength with each release and her performances captivate every audience member. Florence Welch is unlike the regular crop of female performers and singer/songwriters and she clearly stands out from the rest. Right from her unique vocal tone to her choice of wardrobe which doesn’t seek to call attention to her sexuality, all the while still showing her as a stunning sexual creature whether on stage or in a music video.

In a new interview with Macleans.ca after playing Glastonbury, she spoke about her latest album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful‘, the need for feminism, and the iconic women throughout history who have influenced her music.

Her view on the current state of feminism is that it is changing rapidly yet it played a pivotal role in writing the album.

I definitely consider myself a feminist and it matters. The idea of what a feminist is is changing. I have so many strong women in my life. Throughout making this record I was really supported, consoled and held by the women in my life,” she said.

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My mother is a professor of renaissance history so I spent a lot of time in France as a child. Going to the Duomo and seeing St. Agatha with her breasts cut off was particularly shocking and made a mark. When you have a history of women behind you, you are constantly being floored by something powerful. It’s like waves of truth. It is humbling to listen to strong women and it makes me realize my capacity. I had to go through this as I was making the record. Through advice from other women, I felt like I [gained] more strength,” she added.

Iconic women such as Virginia Woolf and women from mythology feature heavily in her music which she says adds a new layer of strength to her lyrics.

I grew up reading a lot of Greek mythology and I was very interested in fantasy and ghost stories. Persephone cropped up a lot on the new album. The song Delilah is pointing to a Biblical reference. Joan of Arc was sort of the queen bee of the last record…A lot of songwriting is the idea that you have to walk between two worlds. You’re creating a mythology around yourself,” she explained.

On the new album there is a fair amount of personal issues dealt with including depression and anxiety, both of which she has suffered with for many years. It started when Florence was 13, after her maternal grandmother, who suffered with bipolar disorder, committed suicide. It forced Florence to retreat into herself and it wasn’t until she discovered songwriting and music that she would learn to channel her pain through her lyrics, she told Billboard.com in May.

When she was 18 she started writing music with her younger sister’s babysitter Isabella Summers, who continues to be her co-writer, keyboardist and best friend to this day. It seems women not only play a strong theme in her music, but also in real life.

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One of her biggest fans is Taylor Swift, who Florence counts as a big influence in allowing her to put personal issues into her music.

“Taylor said that you must sing about what’s happening in your life. It’s definitely not about trying to be vindictive,” says Welch. It’s about being honest,” she said referring to the way Taylor has become known for writing about her past relationships.

Macleans writer Elio Ianacci mentioned a quote Florence once made stating beauty shouldn’t dictated by gender, and asked her what she thinks about the current state of gender politics where we are seeing more inclusionary conversations about the trans community.

Society seems to be more and more embracing it. It’s quite liberating, to just really be who you are. I think what the public seems to respond to is honesty. I hope they do. I feel that a bit more exposed in a record is allowing me to be a bit more exposed in the public eye,” she said.

A feminist who is more interested in the women of greek mythology than reading celebrity tabloids, who is BFFs with Taylor Swift, who just headlined one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and continues to make great music? Seriously what’s NOT to love about this machine of a woman!

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Kaum zu glauben, aber THE ROLLING STONES konnten sich am gestrigen Abend beim 2. „NO FILTER (JEEP)-KONZERT in London noch ein Stück weit steigern! | Rolling Stones Club Aachen / Stolberg

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