Florence Welch goes into a “trance state” to get comfortable enough to go onstage

florence welch performs at outside lands Photo by Grace Sager

We know Florence Welch for her Stevie Nicks-meets-garden-nymph stage presence. But Flo tells Rolling Stone it’s “it’s not really me.”

“I have to start giving myself over to whatever it is that’s in charge of performances — the performance spirit or whatever the fuck it is.”

Welch says she gets there often by listening to the same song on repeat – currently, for her North American tour in support of her fantastic High as Hope LP – it’s Irish garage-rockers Fontaines D.C., “Jewelry” by Blood Orange, and indie rockers White Denim.

She tells Rolling Stone that breaking away from this ritual and her mindset can be disastrous…and lead to the time she broke her foot when she tried to jump off the stage.

“I had suddenly become self-conscious,” she says. “I’d just taken my shirt off in front of a bazillion people, and I realized that I’d done that. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my God, what the fuck?’ When you’re in the trance and you go with it, you’re like, ‘Everyone take your clothes off,’ and you’re with everybody. But in that act, I suddenly … it’s like the fucking Adam and Eve thing: ‘Oh, my God, I just realized that I took my top off in front of all these people. I’m not supposed to do that.’”

It through her off completely. “I became self-aware for one second, and I was like, ‘I have to get off this stage because all these people can see me,’” she continues. “So I threw myself off the stage, but in a self-conscious way that hurt me, because I back in the physical. It was like I suddenly became clunky. When you’re in the almost out-of-body space, you’re usually pretty safe because you’re doing things in such a fluid way that you won’t hurt yourself.”

It’s this inner conflict – between the trance and her discomfort – that Welch’s onstage persona becomes what it is. “It’s almost in the anger at that and the pushing through and the sort of ‘fuck you’ to myself that the performance comes out.”

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