When [artist id="4109723"]Florence Welch[/artist] was asked to write a song for the upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman” soundtrack, she was given the opportunity to watch a select few scenes from the film itself … and almost automatically, she found herself drawing inspiration from a rather unlikely source: Namely, Charlize Theron’s wicked Queen Ravenna.
“The Queen is just this incredible character; so hungry for life but so dead inside. She’s sort of eternal, but inside there’s nothing. She’s kind of like charcoal or something,” Welch told MTV News on Thursday (March 29). “[There are] these amazing scenes where she’s kind of picking out birds’ hearts and eating them. [She has] this thirst for youth and for life, but for what kind of life? This darkness, but she’s so beautiful, so it’s this kind of juxtaposition between beauty and, ultimately, death.”
So, in a bit of a, uh, non-traditional move, Welch ended up writing a song called “Breath of Life,” which is sung very much from the perspective of the Queen herself (“I got a lot of material from her!” she laughed. “Beauty, death, life … it was pushing all of my buttons.”) So you can imagine her surprise when, after submitting the song, she found herself sitting in London’s Abbey Road studio, watching it all come together under the care of famed composer James Newton Howard.
“We went in and demoed the track, these big, clattering drums, huge bass sounds and everything was very intense … and then we sent that to the guys in L.A. who composed it. And it was amazing to see the music we played being turned into this amazing orchestral thing,” Welch laughed. “You feel in a bit of a way like you’re kind of making it up as you go along, and then when you see it done, laid out before you in such a beautiful, orchestral fashion, it’s really incredible. And then we all went into Abbey Road and it was one of the best days of my life; I love choirs and I love choral music, and there was a 60-piece choir singing the vocal parts that I had written. When the baritones came in, I nearly wept, it was so emotional.”
And thanks to all that, in a still-growing career that’s seemingly one highlight after the next, Welch said that writing and recording “Breath” was perhaps her favorite moment to date. Even if the whole 60-member choir thing did give her management team palpitations.
“My manager was looking at me going ‘Do not get used to this. We cannot afford this 60-piece choir!’ ” she laughed. “It was just wonderful. Me and Isa [Summers, Welch's Machine partner, and co-writer of the track] were in there, these young women who made music for love, but with not much money or much reason. … It was a really proud day for us. And, musically, for the composers at Universal to have understood the song and see it played out so beautifully, it was an amazing day. We felt a bit proper.”
Who else do you hope to hear on the “Snow White and the Huntsman” soundtrack? Leave your pick in the comments section below!