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Aldeburgh: Florence and the Machine writer set to release new music

PUBLISHED: 12:52 10 January 2011 | UPDATED: 14:29 10 January 2011

Isabella Summers, originally from Aldeburgh, who is a member of Florence and the Machine.

Isabella Summers, originally from Aldeburgh, who is a member of Florence and the Machine.


SHE has the nickname “Machine” and her talent for music has produced some outstanding results – including hit singles and a Brit Award-winning album.

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Isabella Summers, from Aldeburgh, is the songwriting partner of Florence Welch and plays keyboards in the band Florence and The Machine – the title of which was inspired by her nickname.

She co-wrote five of the songs on the million-selling Florence and The Machine album Lungs – including the hit Dog Days Are Over – and is working with the singer on its follow-up.

The 30-year-old is also preparing to release an EP with her new duo – Ivan Ink ‘N’ Isa.

Isabella, who moved to Aldeburgh with her family when she was nine, is fulfilling a dream by working on her music full-time and has two recording studios, both in Crystal Palace, south London.

She had taken piano lessons as a child, but only rediscovered her talent for playing music as an adult when she got hold of an electronic MPC player and mastered it.

“When I started making music with Flo, I was heavily into rap and hip-hop – making beats and mixing records,” she said.

“I knew that I had to expand my sound as I wasn’t getting very far. As soon as I got my studio, I really decided to make a go of it.”

The partnership with Florence, a long-time friend, began in 2006.

“I came up with some weird beats and she sang over it,” Isabella said.

“We made a whole album that was quite experimental, but when Florence started getting interest from labels, we decided to can it and start again.

“Even then, when we were making the album [Lungs], we were thinking, ‘Who’s going to listen to this?’ It doesn’t fit into any genre.”

That album has gone on to sell more than 1.2million copies and won a Brit Award in February for Best British Album.

It was Florence who nicknamed Isabella “Machine” for her electronic music skills and the original name of the band was Florence Robot Is A Machine. The former Woodbridge School pupil, whose parents Robin and Liz run Reed Books, in Aldeburgh, was not originally involved in Florence and The Machine live shows.

But she now plays keyboards with the band, and was part of this year’s headlining show at the Latitude Festival.

Isabella had moved to London after leaving school to do a string of jobs – including being a runner for Top of the Pops – and to study for a fine arts degree at St Martin’s College, before taking up music full-time.

Her last job was working for film director Alan Parker, transcribing and digitising film stills.

“By that time, I just couldn’t wait to get back to the studio and make music with Flo,” Isabella said.

“I made a conscious decision that this was forever, and that I just had to do music. I’m really excited about the new music we’re working on. This is what I love and it’s all I want to do.”

ISABELLA is also preparing to release new music as part of an exciting duo.

She has joined forces with eclectic singer-songwriter Ivan Ink ‘N’ Pen, aka Oliver Briggs, to form Ivan Ink ‘N’ Isa.

The pair have played some live dates and are due to release their debut four-song EP on February 7.

“We started working together a long time ago and had lots of ideas and bits of songs finished,” said Isabella.

“We managed to stick those things together and get them finished and I mixed and mastered it while I was on tour with Florence.

“We’re going to be doing some more shows and we’ll see where it takes us. We might go on to do an album.”

The self-titled EP will be available on iTunes.

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