With the recent explosion of the female, British, singer/songwriter on the scene, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you could find yourself wading through a sea of young girls practicing their vocal exercises and brandishing guitars, or at least a hefty set of lungs, immediately on leaving the house. Seriously, where are they all coming from?
The latest one to be making her bid for queen bee is undeniably 23-year-old, Hereford born, Ellie Goulding. Chances are, unless you have taken a drastic sabbatical from the modern world and are currently residing in a dark room somewhere with headphones on, humming to yourself, you will be assailed with her electro-pop anthem Starry Eyed on a regular basis. Let’s face it: it’s fairly inescapable. Plus there’s the fact that she’s won a Brit, had her debut album go straight to number one in the charts and is busy collaborating with other artists, including Frankmusik and Diana Vickers (that girl from the X Factor with the claw for a hand). Rest assured, she doesn’t let it faze her.
“It makes me laugh because people are like ‘oh, all I hear is Ellie Goulding, Ellie Goulding’, and it’s funny because it hasn’t stopped and people are just continuing to talk about it and people are still blogging even though I’m not the underdog anymore: I’m the main stream”. Meeting her today, she is stretched out on the sofa in the bar area of the Park Inn Hotel in Brighton, dressed in her running gear (having jogged to and from her sound checks at Digital where she will be playing tonight) examining the bruises on her legs and quietly observing that the green tea she has requested is in fact green tea and lemon, which is not technically the same. (I wasn’t impressed either.)
Ms Goulding’s own opinion of her fellow songstresses? “I was always a little bit cynical about girls because I thought I knew what their game was and what they were up to; writing their lyrics and stuff, I know what that’s like so I knew their secret a little bit. But out of all the girls that I have the most respect for it’s probably Florence. She’s amazing.”
It is in the footsteps of Florence Welch that Ellie is following, with her win of the critics’ choice award at the Brits. So, what is it that sets Ms Goulding apart from the likes of Pixie Lott, co critics’ choice nominee Marina and the Diamonds and all those other talented young ones splashed over our MTV screens? This one’s got something special.
“I have a weird obsession with William Wallace. I bet none of the other ones do.” I think that’s probably a safe assumption. What’s up with that anyway, Ellie? “Don’t ask. That’s a weird one. Why, are you?” Can’t say that I am. My ex boyfriend was, though. “Really? Why is that? I’ve never found anyone else with the same interest.” I’ll pass you on his number and you guys can chat, I joke. “Well not numbers, that’s a bit weird, but definitely give me his email. [Oh, you’re being serious? Okay.] Oh my god we’ll have to email. I won’t chat him up, don’t worry.”
(A somewhat bemused phone call a few hours later from him and a “blimey, she’s keen” showed she wasn’t joking). How about some William Wallace inspired song writing? “I’ll have to think about that. Maybe. I’m not sure. It might be a bit too weird for people.” So what does inspire you, Ellie? “I’m an observer. I’m highly observant of lots of things all of the time. I think too much. I’m pretty emotional when it comes to love and I’m really fascinated when it comes to obsession and infatuation with people and how people work: I’m fascinated with the way people work.” And speaking of crazy obsessives, ever encountered any Ellie Goulding ones? “No not really. Not yet anyway. Some girl jumped on stage and sort of grabbed me. That was weird. But I haven’t had anything super weird yet. Not yet.”
Something to look forward to. It’s not as if she doesn’t open herself up to that possibility, either, constantly mingling with her admirers with the Nike sponsored ‘Ellie’s Runs’. Always athletic (note afore-mentioned attire) Ellie has found a way of staying in touch with her fans by donning her trainers and sweats and taking them on a sprint around the city in which she’s playing. “I needed a way to communicate with fans and also passing on what I do really and do something positive. It was nice to do something that would put them on the same level as me.” If all that wasn’t enough, May will see the starlet rub shoulders with the likes of John Mayer as she joins him as the support act on his UK tour dates. “Everyone says ‘oh, he’s going to try it on with you’ blah, blah, but I’m absolutely honoured to be supporting him because he’s amazing.”
No Ellie, you’re amazing. Then there are her plans to go international, with intentions to fly to Australia next week (the prospect of which makes her grimace and pray that the volcanic ash will still be lingering) and conquer America next year. Shiny new talent take note: this one is stamping her mark. As she promises, “the album’s just the beginning”.
Photo: Paul Spencer
A version of this article appeared way back in Issue One.