Florence Welch, the ethereal Florence + The Machine frontwoman from South East London, turns 29 years old today! She came roaring onto the scene with her massive hit Dog Days Are Over back in 2008 and has been blowing our minds ever since from 2009’s Lungs to 2011’s Ceremonials to this year’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

Her haunting, raw and robust sound has been compared to the likes of Kate Bush, PJ Harvy, Siouxsie Sioux and Björk with a stage presence that recalls Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. She takes the stage with a hurricane-like force — her flame-red hair blowing in the wind — and belts to the heavens, completely consumed by the music, dancing uninhibited along with its rhythm.

This platinum-selling rock goddess has garnered three Grammy nominations — Best New Artist in 2011, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Shake It Out in 2013 and Best Pop Vocal Album for Ceremonials in 2013 — among other awards, and sells out concerts across the world.

Things you might not know about Florence Welch:

  1. She is naturally a brunette (gasp!).
  2. She booked her first big gig by cornering her now-manager in the bathroom of a club while drunk and singing Etta James’ ‘60s Hit Something’s Got A Hold On Me.
  3. She used to be known as Florence Robot along with her collaborator and keyboardist Isabella Summers, who went by Isa Machine – hence Florence + the Machine.
  4. She inspired Gucci’s 2011 winter collection and is a muse to the fashion industry.
  5. The first instrument she learned to play was the drums.
  6. She’s close pals with Taylor Swift and Blake Lively.
  7. Beyoncé credited her as an influence on her album 4.
  8. Her favorite karaoke song is Total Eclipse of the Heart.
  9. She was into witchcraft as a young girl.
  10. She prefers to write songs with dark, gothic imagery: “I’d be more inclined to write about a flower dying than blossoming.”

Some of Florence Welch’s essential songs (in no particular order):

Dog Days Are Over

What The Water Gave Me

Ship to Wreck

Sweet Nothing (with Calvin Harris)

Rabbit Heart

Shake It Out

No Light, No Light

Breath of Life

Cosmic Love

Breaking Down

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