“Before, I thought I ran on a chaos engine, but the more peaceful I am, the more I can give to the work. I can address things I wasn’t capable of doing before.”
Florence Welch, the voice of Florence and the Machine, is at a different pace in life. She’s more at peace, less afraid, and sober as well.
The singer admitted that she was “drunk a lot of the time” in the band’s last phase. “That’s when the drinking and the partying exploded as a way to hide from it… The partying was about me not wanting to deal with the fact that my life had changed, not wanting to come down,” Welch said in a recent interview with the Guardian.
The English singer and songwriter decided as she approached the 10th year of her illustrious career that she would sober up.
“When I realized I could perform without the booze it was a revelation,” she said. “There’s discomfort and rage, and the moment when they meet is when you break open. You’re free.”
Welch admits that every now and again, she’ll be tempted to go back to her old ways. But it never lasts. “It’s still there. This, ‘What if I could take a day off, a break from this magical energy?’ But, it passes,” she said.
Sobriety went hand-in-hand with inner peace. “Before, I thought I ran on a chaos engine, but the more peaceful I am, the more I can give to the work,” she said. “I can address things I wasn’t capable of doing before.”
Through self-reflection, Welch also came to terms with her eating disorder, addressing it for the first time in the single “Hunger” from the band’s upcoming album High as Hope. “At 17, I started to starve myself,” she sings.
She said the terror of admitting this to anyone, let alone the whole world, inspired her to sing about it. This terror, she says, has been with her for most of her life, fueling some of the “self-destructive” behavior that she’s now working on undoing.
“I learned ways to manage that terror—drink, drugs, controlling food,” she told the Guardian. “It was like a renaissance of childhood, a toddler’s self-destruction let loose in a person with grown-up impulses.”
Welch admits she’s “still figuring it out,” but is learning more than ever how music can be invaluable to her self-discovery journey, by helping her realize that she is not alone.
“I’ve realized that that nugget of insecurity and loneliness is a human experience. The big issues are there however you address them,” she said. “The weird thing is, that as personal as it feels, as soon as you say it, other people say: ‘I feel like that, too.’”