“What sets Florence apart? Everything,” Taylor Swift tells Billboard about Welch. “Every time I’ve been around her, she is the most magnetic person in the room -- surrounded by people who are fascinated by the idea of being near her. But when she meets people, she pays them a warm compliment and immediately disarms them. There are very few people I’ve met in my life who are truly electric, and Florence is one of them.”
“I did my first press shot when I was 20, and it was the first time I ever saw myself in a newspaper,” Welch recalls. “I was in shorts, with a goofy grin, and I was terrified. I saw that and was like, ‘No way.’ It was too raw, too exposing to be that real."
“This new album comes from a quieter place, one that is less grand and more vulnerable, and it wouldn’t feel right to try to put up walls again,” says Welch about her third record with Florence + The Machine, How Big How Blue How Beautiful (due out June 2). “Although I love all that fashion stuff, it is also a way of guarding myself. I decided f--- it, it was time to let it all go.”
“It’s definitely not about trying to be vindictive,” says Welch. “It’s about being honest. This could’ve been a breakup record,” she adds, presumably referring to her longtime off-and-on relationship with well-connected British event producer James Nesbitt, which was closely followed by the U.K. tabloids. “But it was much more about trying to understand myself.”
“It’s hard to imagine that you think about something you’d like to have happen in your life and it happens,” says Welch. “For a pessimistic British person that’s very hard to deal with. Whereas in L.A.,” she continues, referring to the city she retreated to while she was off the road, “they would say, ‘You’re manifesting.’ But I obviously wasn’t there long enough to feel I deserve any of this.”