Getting real. Florence Welch opened up in a big way in a new cover story interview with Billboard magazine, recalling the downward spiral that led to a breakdown last year.
The celebrated Florence + the Machine singer, 28, took her first break in years last summer, telling Billboard that the months were "supposed to be when I rested and had a lovely time" writing music. Rather than successfully recharging with the warm weather, Welch instead found too much time on her hands and was forced to wrestle with her demons.
"I had kind of a breakdown and washed up a bit of a mess to the studio," she explained. "I had just wore myself out… Without the structure of touring, you have to face your own chaos. I was playing gigs nonstop since I was 21. When I was left to my own devices, I realized I was f–king everything up."
"I was in and out of a relationship, in and out of drinking too much," the British singer continued. "It was like constantly picking yourself up and then dropping yourself, picking yourself up and dropping yourself. And that was exhausting."
The "Shake It Out" singer explained that her drinking habits were a long time in the making, used as a defense mechanism of sorts in her early days of performing. Welch released her first album with her bandmates in 2009, debuting Lungs to high critical praise and strong commercial success thanks to the single "Dog Days Are Over."
"I used to drink before every performance," she revealed to Billboard. "I'm quite shy, really — that's probably why I used to drink a lot. But I don’t anymore. When I finally took time off to make this new record, I had time to strengthen. And when I was coming back into the fray, I really didn't want to lose that."
As she reveals more about her personal life in interviews, Welch is doing the same in her new music. The band drops its third studio album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful in two weeks, and it includes inspiration from Welch's relationships and experiences — a move the songwriter only became comfortable with thanks to good pal and sharer-in-chief Taylor Swift.
"Taylor said that you must sing about what's happening in your life," Welch explained. "It's about being honest."
"She’s the most fun person to dance with at a party, but then five minutes later you find yourself sitting on the stairs with her having an in-depth conversation about love and heartbreak," Swift, 25, chimed in to Billboard. "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.”
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