What a difference a few years make.

It was just about two years ago when Florence Welch -- of Florence and the Machine -- practically stole the MTV Video Music Awards with the red-hot performance of the song "Dog Days Are Over." But as remote as this U.K.-based, internationally loved music and fashion icon might seem as she stares out from the cover of countless magazines, the reality is that she is incredibly down to earth.

"I think songs, they develop from strange poetic things that are in me," she said in an interview soon after those awards. "I think literature has played a huge part in my music. It gives me faith. My mom took me to a lot of church things when I was younger, and she is very into art history and the romantic gothic thing, so I had that going for me from a young age."

Arguably, that's what sets Welch's music apart from that of Kate Nash, Lily Allen and other artists who create music such as hers that blends pop and soul. Since the release of her 2009 debut "Lungs," which won her a 2010 Brit Award and got the band nominated for a Grammy Award, Welch has been on a fast track.

Florence and the Machine
When: Doors 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia
Info: $40 to $55; 877-4FLY-TIX (435-9849); ticketfly.com

Some might wonder if the track has been a bit too fast, especially since the 2011 release of "Ceremonials."

A strained voice forced Welch to cancel some appearances. To protect her voice, she has greatly limited her interview schedule and cut alcohol and caffeine out of her diet, she told Melody Lau, of Spinner. But the diet restrictions have wreaked havoc in other ways, she said.

"I feel so tired, it's awful," Welch told Spinner. "I don't drink so much on tour anyway so that's okay, but it's the caffeine that's addicting and not having Diet Coke is getting to me!"

She also said touring has taken its toll on her health and life.

"Touring takes over everything and it's [awful]," admits Welch. "I mean, it's really organized in every way possible, but you can't deal with anything; nothing gets dealt with in your real life and you only get to be home for two weeks at a time."

Still, don't look for Welch to abandon music. She is already plotting her next album.

"I've been thinking about it a lot," she said. "I think I've written a whole album in my head."