Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding (born 30 December 1986)[1] is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In 2010, she became the second artist to both top the BBC's annualSound of... poll and win the Critics' Choice Award at the Brit Awards in the same year, following Adele's win of both in 2008. After signing to Polydor Records in 2009, she released her firstEP in 2009, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding.[2]

Goulding released her debut studio album, Lights, in 2010. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK. Her cover of Elton John's "Your Song" reached number two in the UK in December 2010, and on 29 April 2011 she performed the song at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Buckingham Palace. The album's title track, "Lights", was released in the US in March 2011, and reached its peak position of number one on the Billboard Pop Songs chart, number one on the BillboardOn-Demand chart, and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 nearly a year and a half later during its thirty-third week charting, completing one of the longest ever climbs into the top two positions on the chart. The single, which lasted over a year on the Billboard Hot 100, was also certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[3][4]

Goulding's second album Halcyon was released in October 2012 to generally positive reviews from critics.[5] "Anything Could Happen" preceded the album as the lead single, reaching the top five in the UK as well as the top twenty in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. Halcyon debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, and number nine on the Billboard 200 Chart, her first Top 10 debut in the United States. The album also reached the top five in New Zealand, top ten in Ireland and Canada, and top twenty in Australia.

Early life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[1][2]Lyonshall village in Kington, Herefordshire where Goulding grew up.

Ellie Goulding was born and raised in Lyonshall, a small village near Kington, Herefordshire, the second of four children (a brother and two sisters).[6][7][8] Her mother, Tracey (née Clark), used to work at a supermarket, and her father, Arthur Goulding, came from a "family of undertakers".[8] Her parents separated when she was five, and she had a stepfather who was a lorry driver.[9][10] She began playing the clarinet at the age of nine, and at 14 began learning guitar. She attended Lady Hawkins' School in Kington, where she won a main part in a school production, the Wizard of Oz, as the scarecrow. She started songwriting at the age of 15 and while in college she won a singing competition.[11]

After commencing drama, politics, and English courses at the University of Kent,[12] where she was exposed to electronic music, she developed her sound on the track "Wish I Stayed" with the help of Starsmith and Frankmusik. After two years at Kent, she was spotted by Jamie Lillywhite of Turn First Artists at a university talent contest.[13] After Goulding successfully showcased for Turn First Artists head Sarah Stennett, she was told to leave university and was set up in a flat in West London.[13][14]

Lillywhite became her manager and A&R, and introduced her to the producer Starsmith who would become her chief collaborator and the primary producer of Lights. She signed to Polydor Records in July 2009, but her first single, "Under the Sheets", was released through boutique label Neon Gold Records as a deliberately low-key debut, appearing digitally in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2009.[13][15][16] The single peaked at number fifty-three on the UK Singles Chart following a successful appearance on Later... with Jools Holland, performing "Under the Sheets" and "Guns and Horses",[17] and a UK tour supporting Little Boots.[18][19] In October 2009 "Wish I Stayed" was available as a free download as the Single of the Week on iTunes Store UK from 22–28 December 2009.[20]

Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

2009–11: Lights and Bright Lights[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Main article: Lights (Ellie Goulding album)[3][4]Goulding performing live, 2010

Before the release of her debut album, Goulding won the BBC Sound of 2010 poll, which showcases the critics, broadcasters and music industry insiders' top choices for rising stars and artists for the coming year.[21] She also won the Critics' Choice Award at the 2010 BRIT Awards, a prize that made her the second artist to win both in the same year.[22] Goulding co-wrote "Love Me 'Cause You Want To" for Gabriella Cilmi's second album, Ten, and three songs, "Remake Me + You", "Notice" and "Jumping Into Rivers", for Diana Vickers's debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree.[23] Her song "Not Following" was used by German singer Lena on her debut album My Cassette Player.[24] Goulding was featured on rapper Tinie Tempah's single "Wonderman" from his debut studio album Disc-Overy. Goulding's "Under the Sheets" was also remixed by American rap duo Chiddy Bang, featured on their 2010 mixtape Air Swell, and by DJ Frenzy (F^K Y3AH! Breaks Mix). Frankmusik, who produced Goulding's song "Wish I Stayed", told Digital Spy he hoped to collaborate with her on his second album, Do It in the AM.[25]"Lights" was remixed by Bassnectar, which appears on his 2011 album Divergent Spectrum.

Goulding's debut album Lights was released in March 2010, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart and number six on the Irish Albums Chart.[26][27][28] Its singles, "Starry Eyed", "Guns and Horses" and "The Writer" peaked at numbers 4, 26, and 19 respectively.[19] As of June 2012, the album has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK and 1.6 million copies worldwide.[29] In August 2010, Goulding released a second EP, Run Into the Light, containing remixes of songs from Lights. The album was supported by Nike and was released through Polydor as a running soundtrack in an effort to get Goulding's music taken up by the national running subculture.[30] In November 2010, Lights was re-released as Bright Lights, with six new tracks added. It was originally announced that the lead single from Bright Lights would be the new edit of the title track with a release scheduled for 1 November 2010.[31] This was ultimately scrapped to allow her cover of Elton John's "Your Song" to be released in conjunction with the John Lewis Christmas 2010 advertising campaign in the UK.[32] The single became Goulding's highest-charting single to date, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart.[19] The song also charted in some European countries in early 2011.[33]

Goulding toured in support of Lights and supported Passion Pit in March 2010 and John Mayall during his British tour in May 2010.[34] During the summer she performed at a number of festivals. On 29 May she performed at the Dot to Dot Festival in Bristol.[35] She performed a set on 25 June at the Glastonbury Festival 2010 on the John Peel Stage.[36] Her third EP was a live recording of part of her set at the iTunes Festival 2010.[37] The whole set was ultimately included as bonus content on the iTunes version of Bright Lights.[38] She made her T in the Park debut on 11 July.[39] She played on the Nissan Juke Arena at the 2010 V Festival in late August.[40] In September she was part of the line-up at Bestival 2010 on the Isle of Wight.[41] In support of the album in Europe she performed on the first day of Pukkelpop in Belgium, at the Open'er Festival in Poland and at Benicàssim in Spain.[42] A track from Lights, "Every Time You Go", was featured in the Vampire Diaries episode "Founder's Day", "Your Biggest Mistake" appeared in an episode of The Inbetweeners.[43] and "Believe Me" appeared in an episode of 90210. She began a tour of the United States and Canada in February 2011 to coincide with the release of the American edition of Lights.[44]

[5][6]Goulding being interviewed duringGlastonbury, 2010

In January 2011, it was announced that the title track from Lights would serve as the second single from Bright Lights.[45] In early 2011, she recorded an original song for the film Life in a Day. Goulding was placed at number five on Rolling Stone's annual hot list in February 2011.[46] In February 2011, she returned to the BRIT Awards where she was nominated for Best British Female and Best British Breakthrough Act, but lost out to Laura Marling and Tinie Tempah, respectively.[47] Previously she had performed at the BRITs launch party where the nominations were announced. In August/September 2010, was an opening act for U2 on the U2 360 Tour in Zurich (two nights), Munich and Vienna. She also played live at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2011.[8] Goulding made her American television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 7 April 2011 performing "Starry Eyed". She appeared as the musical guest on the 700th episode of the Saturday Night Live, broadcast 7 May 2011 and hosted by Tina Fey.[48][49] She performed at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 singing her rendition of "Your Song" for the couple's first dance as well as her hits "The Writer" and "Starry Eyed" and several of William and Kate's personal favourites.[50] She was introduced to Prince William by Tinie Tempah at Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2010.[51] She said, "It was an amazing honour to be asked by Kate and William to perform at their party. The atmosphere was incredible and it is a night I will never forget."[52] Goulding performed, for the second consecutive year, at Radio 1's Big Weekend on 14 May.[53]

Goulding collaborated with American electronic artist and producer Skrillex on a song titled "Summit", included on his 2011 EP Bangarang. She travelled with Skrillex on his South American tour and many other tours of his alike.[54] Goulding headlined the 2011 Wakestock Festival in Wales, performing on 8 July.[55] In August she performed at V Festival for her second year in a row.[56]

[7][8]Goulding performing live in Chicago.

Following the re-release of Lights and the American release of the album, Goulding said she would soon begin work on a second studio album with an expected release in September 2011.[57] On 6 August 2011, Goulding performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago.[58] Goulding performed at the annualNobel Peace Prize Concert on 11 December 2011 in Oslo, Norway, where she also served on a panel discussion with Amy Lee of Evanescence andJanelle Monáe.[59] On 1 December 2011, Goulding performed at the White House during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, alongside the likes of Big Time Rush and[60] She also was a musical guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[61] On 18 January 2012, Goulding performed "Lights" on Late Show with David Letterman.[62]

2011–present: Halcyon and Halcyon Days[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Main article: Halcyon (album)

In February 2011, Goulding told the Daily Star that she had plans to release a follow-up to Lights sometime in 2011, commenting, "I'm not going to go away for ages. It'll be out this year or the start of next."[63] The following month, when asked about the album's musical direction in an interview with gossip website Dean Piper's World, Goulding stated, "It's started to sound very dark and very weird. This album is going to be even more emotional [...] I wanted to make it so there is hope. I want to make an effect whether it's happy or sad."[64] In April 2012, Goulding stated that she hoped the album would be released in October 2012.[65] Halcyon has a wide variety of genres and shares so many messages through every song. Such as, Goulding's song Anything Could Happen "boasts spurting synths and a sky-kissing chorus – there's electro-ballad finery, too. Joy is a string-laden affair that showcases her helium-powered pipes, while I Know You Care sees her try to convince someone – us, her lover, herself – that they have something worth salvaging..."[66]

On 19 September 2011, it was announced that Goulding would open for Katy Perry's California Dreams tour, replacing Jessie J due to a foot injury.[67][68] In 2012, Goulding was featured on the song "Fall Into the Sky" from Zedd's album Clarity and on Calvin Harris's song "I Need Your Love" which is included on Halcyon and also Harris's album 18 Months. She will be featured in a song on Jessie J's second studio album.[69]

[9][10]Goulding performing at the Manchester Academy in December 2012

On 10 July 2012, Goulding released a cover of Active Child's song "Hanging On", featuring Tinie Tempah, as a free download on her SoundCloudpage.[70] In late July 2012, it was announced that Goulding's second album is titled Halcyon and it would be released on 8 October 2012. The album was preceded by the lead single "Anything Could Happen" on 21 August.[71] On 3 August 2012, Goulding released a trailer on YouTube containing snippets of tracks from Halcyon.[72] The lyric video for "Anything Could Happen" premiered on 9 August 2012, consisting of a series of fan-submitted Instagram pictures.[73] Goulding contributed a track titled "Bittersweet" (produced by Skrillex) to the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, released on 13 November 2012.[74] On 19 November 2012, the music video for Goulding's second single from Halcyon, titled "Figure 8" was released. The single was released digitally in the UK on 12 December 2012. The song charted before it was released, and made its way into the Top 40 in the UK, peaking at number 33.

It was announced on 12 February 2013 that when Goulding has and she concluded the Halcyon Days tour in May 2013 she will be supporting Bruno Mars on his Moonshine Jungle World Tour on selected dates.[75] The song "Hanging On" was used in the trailer for the PlayStation 3 game God of War: Ascension.[76] On 20 May 2013, Goulding announced she would embark on a 7-date tour in the UK during October that year. The tour would start in Sheffield and end at the Hammersmith Apollo in London.[77] On 25 May 2013, Goulding performed at the BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend 2013 in Derry/LondonderryNorthern Ireland. As part of the UK City of Culture 2013. On 27 May 2013, Goulding performed live on Britain's Got Talent 2013 Semi Finals, on ITV1,United Kingdom. 28 May 2013 saw Goulding's release of a new cover of Alt-J's song "Tessellate" via her Soundcloud page.[78] Goulding has also been reported to have filmed a video for this track in Paris earlier that month. She claimed to be 'Making a video for a song that isn't on my record.'[79] On 1 June 2013, Ellie performed at the Charity Concert Sound of Change, joining the likes of Beyoncé KnowlesJennifer LopezJessie JRita Ora, Timbaland, Florence and the Machine and John Legend in London's Twickenham Stadium. On the 7 June 2013 she performed at the Rockness Festival in Inverness, Scotland. On 9 June she appeared at the Capital FM Summertime Ball along with 21 other Acts. On 21 June 2013, Goulding announced that her new single, "Burn", would be released on 11 August, and is asking fans to create a six-second video of themselves showing what they mean to others via Vine to be put together in the music video for "Burn". On 21 June 2013, Goulding performed at Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware. Artists such as The Red Hot Chili PeppersTom Petty and the Heartbreakers,Kendrick LamarCalvin HarrisZedd, and Foster the People were featured in addition to Goulding.

On 2 July 2013, Goulding premiered a song titled "You My Everything" in the first episode of Skins Fire[80] and that same day Goulding spoke to ELLE Magazine and confirmed that Halcyon will be re-released later this year.[81] On 5 July 2013, Digital Spy confirmed the release of Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, which is due for release on 23 August 2013.[82] The re-release, featuring ten additional tracks, is to be preceded by the single "Burn", which was uploaded to Goulding's SoundCloud page the previous day.[83][84] On 7 July 2013, the official music video for "Burn" premiered on Goulding's VEVO channel on YouTube.

Artistry[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Voice and timbre[edit source | editbeta]Edit

"I think sometimes it sounds like my voice is like, out of control... I have to really control it because it just kind of goes everywhere. Like, sometimes stuff comes out that I don't expect. A lot, actually [...] It's so funny because my favorite thing to do is imitate opera singers, but I've never had a singing lesson. Oh, I had a lesson just to teach me how to breathe better, but I never really had a singing lesson."

—Goulding describing her voice in an interview with Carson Daly.[85]

Goulding possesses the vocal range of a soprano[86][87][88][89] and is noted for her high piercing vibrato, breathy tone and emotive delivery.[90][91] In a review for Halcyon, Neil McComick of The Daily Telegraph described her voice as "something special", continuing; "Her tremulous vibrato and slightly hoarse timbre have the feel of something primal and folky, her birdlike high notes conveying a childlike wonder while darker tones imply ancient depths of sorrow. She sings like she is strung out on the melody, warbling from a place of desperate emotion. It really is that rarest and perhaps most accidental of gifts: an original voice". He then continued in regards to her vocal layering stating, "producer Jim Eliot puts her voice front, back and centre, banking up choral walls of vibrato, fashioning hooks from cut up samples of chirrups and chants, and creating unusual textures from trills and warbles".[92] Will Hermes of Rolling Stone compared her voice to that of Dolly Parton, stating that her upper register was dazzling whilst also complimenting her skill in vocal multi layering.[93] Megan Farokhmanesh of Paste magazine stated "Goulding has a lovely voice, but occasionally her soprano-strung vocals hit a note that rubs the eardrums the wrong way" although she praised Goulding overall for her "talent for gorgeous high heart-tugging vocals".[89]

[11][12]Kanye West (left) and Björk (right) are both cited as Goulding's influences.===Musical style[edit source | editbeta]===

Goulding's debut album Lights (2010) experimented with genres including Indie popsynthpopfolktronicaindietronica. Lights contained "sparkling pop with a folky heart and an electronic edge" and being noted as infectious,[94] The album incorporated "acoustic guitar" and "retro-synthpop" compared to that of Little Boots and La Roux, while the production contained "folkie origins under a welter of busily cycling synths and programmed beats"."[95] Ellie's second album Halcyon followed in the same vein of her debut album including genres such as Indie popsynthpop and dream pop. Goulding revealed thatthe album's musical direction had took a "very dark and very weird" sound."[96] She also stepped away from the electronic sound of her previous album and moved to a more tribal and anthemic sound containing a bit more piano and vocal.[97]

Influences[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Goulding states that she is influenced by a wide range of genres from R&Belectronicaheavy metalfolkhip hoppop and classical. She listed BeyoncéAni DiFrancoImogen HeapBjörkJoni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill as influences, as well as contemporaries such as Florence + The MachineMarina and the DiamondsKaty PerryLana Del ReyLady GagaRihanna, and Owl City, stating that she is "blown away" by them. She also expressed admiration for rappers Kanye WestDrake and Nicki Minaj.[98] Goulding's musical style has been compared to that of Kate NashMeikoLykke Li and Tracey Thorn.[99]

Personal life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Goulding is a keen runner, aiming to run six miles every day and in 2010 announced plans to run a marathon.[8] In support of her second EP, Run Into the Light, she invited a small number of fans through her Facebook pages to run with her in seven different cities on her UK tour,[30] and has announced that she will be doing the same across Europe and the United States. Goulding ran the inaugural Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on 28 April 2013, earning a time of 1:41:35.[100][101]

Philanthropy[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 2010, Goulding participated in the Bupa Great North Run for the British Heart Foundation.[102] In 2011, Goulding ran the She Runs LA event for charity Students Run LA, which aims to increase access to sport for less privileged children across the Los Angeles Unified School District.[103] In 2012, she partnered with Pandora Radio; one dollar for each sale of her mixtape was donated to Free The Children charity.[104][105] On 1 June 2013, Goulding performed atGucci's global concert event in London whose campaign "Chime For Change" aims to raise awareness of women's issues in terms of education, health and justice.[106]

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Main article: Ellie Goulding discography*Lights (2010)

Tours[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • Ellie Goulding Tour (2010–11)
  • The Halcyon Days Tour (2012–13)

Awards and nominations[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
2010 BBC Sound of... Ellie Goulding Sound of 2010 Won
BRIT Awards Critics' Choice Won
Q Awards Best Female Artist Nominated
Best Breakthrough Artist Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
2010 MP3 Music Awards The BNC Award Nominated
BT Digital Music Awards Best Female Artist Nominated
UK Festival Awards Best Breakthrough Artist Nominated
Virgin Media Music Awards Best Newcomer Nominated
Lights Best Album Nominated
2011 BRIT Awards Ellie Goulding Best British Female Nominated
Best British Breakthrough Act Nominated
2011 Glamour Magazine Awards Pandora Newcomer of the Year 2011 Won
2012 Teen Choice Awards Choice Breakout Artist Nominated
2013 Video Music Awards "I Need Your Love" Best Collaboration Pending
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