Florence & The Machine: The Billboard Cover Story
Florence & The Machine: The Billboard Cover Story

It was a highly tempting offer. But ultimately not quite tempting enough.

Such is the confession of Florence Welch, 25, the flame-haired siren who fronts Florence & the Machine.

About 18 months ago, when the Grammy Award-nominated Brit was in the early stages of prepping her eagerly anticipated second album, the idea of going to Los Angeles to work with some of the hottest writer/producers on the planet was briefly and tantalizingly dangled before her. She declines to reveal their names, but says the opportunity was one that held an instant attraction.

"I love Lady Gaga, and I love Katy Perry and R&B and rap music," Welch says, the words tumbling from her mouth in rapid succession-like an excited, albeit highly well-spoken teen. "I love big, American pop music. I'm a total sucker for it. So the label said, 'Do you want to go over to America to work in that scene?' And I was like, 'Yeah, OK. Maybe I could bring my own take on it.' It got put in the diary to go out for a week, to start writing the new record. And then the diary got sent to me and I looked at it and just went, 'No. No. No. No. No! I can't do that. This is too weird. I can't just suddenly leave behind everything that made [2009 debut album] 'Lungs.'"