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One of the UK’s most prodigious singer-songwriters, FLORENCE WELCH – aka FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – returns with DANCE FEVER, her most personal album yet, which explores shared experiences such as ageing, womanhood, the fragility of the planet and the pandemic to more intimate musings on her career, relationships, and loneliness. Having dominated the global charts since her debut album, Lungs, Florence has established herself as one of the world’s most celebrated artists. She talks to ROLLING STONE UK about long term recovery from an eating disorder, channelling anxiety into music and embracing her multi-faceted identity.

Florence on fame:
“Sometimes fame does feel like loss, like a little bit of your humanity got lost along the way. All I ever wanted was to be a singer, but you’re so naive as to the costs that will come with it. How do you retain your humanness?”

Florence on her life homelife:
“I think a lot of people think, ‘Florence + the Machine! She’s just gonna be lounging around in silky stuff.’ No, I’m gonna be a ball of anxiety, with the TV on, constantly just trying to keep out the bad thoughts. It’s not gonna be fun and glamorous, I promise — there’s the stage, and then there’s the very agoraphobic person who needs just to be in the house, you know, especially since I stopped drinking. I am very much a homebody. So, I think people come on board thinking it’s gonna be really fun and exciting, but it’s that sense of like, ‘Oh, the public will get the good bits.’ You won’t. You’ll get the tears.”

Florence on long term recovery from eating disorders:
“So much of that is rejecting nourishment — ‘I don’t deserve to eat, I don’t deserve to feel comfortable.’ Anorexic thinking is still part of my life, even though the anorexia itself isn’t. And so, with emotional intimacy, which is kind of like being fed, sometimes you can be like, ‘No, that’s too much, I don’t need it.’”

Florence on having children:
“The way that it feels to me now, which maybe is creeping through on this album, is that it feels like a slow, creeping overtake. It feels like a little ghost — I feel haunted by the idea of children, rather than feeling like ‘I’m ready! But then, it’s this dread, that maybe you’re not ready now, but what if you then get to the place where you’re sure and you’ve missed it? Time isn’t on your side, and that kind of rage is what the scream at the end of ‘King’ is — I’m not saying I don’t want these things; I just want more time! But… time isn’t like that. You can’t escape it.”

Florence on tapping into both masculine and feminine energies on stage:
“I think it’s where I can exorcise a lot of frustrations and feelings, and be big and scary. My performance style is probably a lot more based on the masculine than the feminine and moving between those two. So, when people ask things like, ‘What’s it like being a female headliner?’, I’m kind of like… ‘I don’t really know?’ It always felt far more fluid to me than that.”