Florence Welch is the dazzling voice behind the band Florence + the Machine. Her talents as a singer and songwriter have been celebrated with multiple award nominations. Her music has been featured in numerous hit movies and TV shows like Covert Affairs, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. You may recall the song “Dog Days Are Over” from the trailer for the film Eat, Pray, Love.
The famous singer takes pride in a lesser-known aspect of her life, too. Welch has dyspraxia and dyslexia, something she’s quick to reveal in interviews. She was diagnosed at a young age and supports causes for kids with these learning differences despite her busy schedule.
Developing a Musical Passion With Dyspraxia
Welch is the oldest of three siblings who grew up in south London. She loved singing and performing as a young girl, and she began taking formal lessons around age 11. Welch learned French and Italian arias, but snuck in some modern tunes as well.
“It was a weird mix, and I think that’s where the difference in my range [of musical tastes] comes from,” she has said.
Welch found school difficult. She was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia, and recalls being involved in “special lessons,” doing things like writing letters in sand.
At school, Welch got into trouble for impromptu singing. She’s also said that mentally, “I was just quite absent.” She preferred climbing trees and visiting the library over schoolwork.
When she was a young teen, Welch’s parents divorced. She and her siblings moved in with her mother’s new boyfriend and his children, a time Welch recalls as “horrible.” She began to listen to grunge and punk music and formed her own band shortly thereafter. Fueled by creativity, she decided to study illustration in college.
Following Her Creative Dream With Dyspraxia
Welch’s university days were cut short when she had a chance encounter with a DJ and promoter. The promoter heard Welch sing at a nightclub, complimented her powerful voice and encouraged her to pursue a music career.
Welch did, and in fact hired the promoter as her manager. Florence + the Machine began producing albums not long after. And her signature sound quickly helped her gain fame.
Welch identifies with her learning and motor skill issues, though she doesn’t see them as having had a negative effect on her music career. “The fact that I work in a creative industry probably helps. We dyspraxics think in a different way,” Welch has said.
Before a concert in Ireland in 2012, she appeared at an event for young kids with dyspraxia. There, she said that the condition doesn’t get as much attention as it should. She also told the kids that she was “very proud to be dyspraxic.”
With her words and achievements, Welch sends a powerful message to kids. Dyspraxia and other learning and thinking differences may create some challenges. But they don’t stand in the way of finding success.
Any opinions or views of individuals featured on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the individual, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.