Feature Friday : Can you please stop doodling? Florence Welch.
photo by Andrea Radulescu, MTV
Tonight we planned to go to my very good friend’s concert. You see, she is a pianist, an excellent one and that, who is incredibly technical and engaging. The funny thing that happened (something which I had forgotten about that I do) is that during the concert – I manically started drawing all over the program! Not a terribly odd thing to do in my mind, but something funny started to happen. As I looked up between pieces to give the musicians a well deserved clap, I caught some really nasty glares coming from no other than my friends sitting next to me – So I decided during the intermission, as if I was doing something horrible and naughty to turn to my girlfriend and ask her if it was indeed horrible to drawing during the performance. Turns out, it looked like I was incredibly BORED! Not true! In fact I was so engaged that I was inspired to unleash some creative juices…(and don’t let your mind go all dirty on me)
Unfortunately it reminded me of my school days, where I literally used to draw my way, through my afternoons and nights of classes only to offend my teachers and often get scolded for not paying attention. The fact is, that people never realized that creative people like me often need visual stimulus and sometimes several things going at once in order to improve their concentration.
Which brings me to people who are as creative as Florence Welch. It makes me laugh to think she was also one of those kids who got told off in school for randomly breaking into song, but this also simultaneously slightly upsets me. Looking into her past, you get the impression that she was one of those people who was creative from the get go – even in her school days. In the time she spent at the Camberwell college of the arts, she studied illustration before quitting early to follow her musical aspirations. Lucky for us, she became a musician instead of an illustrator, yet her art school influences are evident in her work even today.
In fact, her entire musical persona is a highly creative one, whether it be her outfits, her music videos, her fiery red hair, her makeup or her lyrics. Her outfits change chromatically, virtually determined by the shade of her hair at the time and her music videos evolve artistically depending on mood and artistic exploration. One element she never leaves out however is her incredibly cute interpretive dance. Cosmic Love, Dog Days and Drumming song are the first that come to mind when one thinks of creatively loose choreography. On that same note, unlike her lyrics that speak of love, lust, isolation and death – her videos have a broader theme. They are, in my opinion at least, interpretive and symbolic rather than literal.
courtesy of Pretty Young Things.com
Perhaps these thematic interpretations fit well with her epic / powerful voice. Even live, whether it be arenas or studios, her voice radiates emotion and power – leaving space for creative improvisation. Look how she builds the tension in a song using her body and voice in order to rile up the following arena.
In a quieter setting like a radio station, she effectively tones down her vocals and physicality in order to fit the environment, yet without loosing the power.
Live on KEXP
At the ZOO
This particular video is the epitome of what it means to be an interpretive artist. At a random setting, what amazes me is that Florence is able to jam with her guitarist and give this song a completely new spin. This for me is an indication of true talent – the ability to effectively improvise on the spot. Her and the guitarist mash so well that it sounds like a completely different song. Love it!
Here Florence talks about her music
All of this musical analysis leads me to only only one conclusion: IF more schools would encourage creative expression during class, not only would artistic people like us feel more at home (not like the freaks we are labeled to be) but also FREE to express our true self and embrace the fact that even though we are all different, we can be just as effective and creative as the next person if allowed to be.