Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding (born 30 December 1986) is an English actress, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Lyonshall, a village near Kington, Herefordshire, her career began when she met record producer Starsmith and Frankmusik. She was later spotted by Jamie Lillywhite, who became her manager and A&R. Goulding signed to Polydor Records in 2009, in which she released her first EP in 2009, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding.
In 2010, she became the second artist to both top the BBC's annual Sound of... poll and win the Critics' Choice Award at the 2010 BRIT Awards in the same year, following Adele's win of both in 2008. 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 Catherine Middleton at Buckingham Palace. The album's title track, "Lights", was released in the US in March 2011, and peaked at 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).
Goulding's second album Halcyon was released in October 2012 to generally positive reviews from critics. "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, after 65 weeks, reached number one. Halcyon debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 Chart, her first top ten 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.
Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, was released on 23 August 2013, it included new singles including "Burn", which became her first UK number-one single in the same month, as well as "I Need Your Love" with Calvin Harris and "How Long Will I Love You". At the 2014 BRIT Awards she received the award for Best British Female.
Influenced by Björk, Imogen Heap, Lauryn Hill and Kanye West, Goulding is recognised for her high piercing vibrato, breathy tone and emotive delivery. She has sold an estimated four million albums and five million singles worldwide.
In 2012, Goulding was featured on the song "Fall into the Sky" from Zedd's debut album Clarity and on Calvin Harris's song "I Need Your Love", the latter of which is included on Halcyon and also on Harris's album 18 Months. On 10 July 2012, Goulding released a cover of Active Child's song "Hanging On", featuring Tinie Tempah, as a free download on her SoundCloud page. 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. The lyric video for "Anything Could Happen" premiered on 9 August 2012, consisting of a series of fan-submitted Instagram pictures.
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.
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.
It was announced on 12 February 2013 that in May 2013 she would be supporting Bruno Mars on his Moonshine Jungle World Tour on selected dates.
On 20 May 2013, Goulding announced she would embark on a seven-date tour in the UK during October that year On
28 May 2013, Goulding's cover of Alt-J's song "Tessellate" was released via her SoundCloud page. 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.'
In June 2013 Goulding performed at previous festivals and concerts including Rockness Festival in Inverness, Capital FM Summertime Ball and Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware.
On 2 July 2013, Goulding premiered a song titled "You My Everything" in the first episode of Skins Fire and that same day Goulding confirmed to Elle magazine that Halcyon would be re-released later that year.
On 5 July 2013, Digital Spy confirmed the release of Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, which was released on 23 August 2013. 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. On 7 July 2013, the official music video for "Burn" premiered on Goulding's VEVO channel on YouTube. "Burn" became Goulding's first single to top the UK's Official Singles Chart.
Ellie was performing at V Festival Chelmsford when news of her first UK Number one broke, Rita Ora surprised Ellie with her Official Number 1 Award
On 9 September 2013, Goulding released a music video for "How Long Will I Love You" for the film About Time. Goulding appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, of which the track is called "Mirror".
On 15 October 2013, Goulding confirmed on Fearne Cottons radio show that "How Long Will I Love You?" is the next BBC's Children in Need single. On the same day, the Active Child's song "Silhouette", on which Goulding features, was also released. On 28 October 2013, Goulding posted an alternative video of "How Long Will I Love You?" on her Vevo channel for the forthcoming short film Tom & Issy, in which she also stars in. In the final of the The X Factor on 14 December, Goulding performed a duet with finalist Luke Friend.
Ellie at Appeal Night for BBC Children in Need.
On 5 January 2014, Goulding premiered the music video for her song 'Goodness Gracious' on her VEVO channel, later confirming that this will be her sixth single released from her album 'Halcyon Days'. On 22 January, Goulding confirmed through her Facebook page that she would be featured on the soundtrack for the film Divergent, and which would feature a new song called 'Beating Heart'. On 10 February 2014, DJ Fresh confirmed that he will be releasing a new version of the song 'Flashlight', which Goulding features on, later this year. On 3 February 2014, Goulding released a cover of the James Blake song "Life Round Here" through her SoundCloud page; the song features rapper Angel Haze. On 19 February 2014, Goulding won best British Female Solo Artist at the Brit Awards.
Ellie at the 2014 BRIT Awards.
American DJ, Seven Lions confirmed that Ellie will feature on his World's Apart EP, on the track "Don't Leave".
In early 2015, Goulding released the song "Love Me Like You Do" which was featured in the soundtrack to the movie adaptation of the hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The video was released to YouTube on 22 January, to precede an official release date of 15 February. The single has been a commercial success, spending three weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart, topping the charts in many other nations including Australia and Germany, and reaching number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single holds the record for the most-streamed track in a single week in the United Kingdom (streamed 2.58 million times), and worldwide (streamed 15.5 million times).
On 25 February 2015, she was one of the presenters at the 2015 Brit Awards, presenting for the International Female Solo Artist alongside Lewis Hamilton to announce the winner being Taylor Swift.
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. Its singles, "Starry Eyed", "Guns and Horses" and "The Writer" peaked at numbers 4, 26 and 19 respectively. As of June 2012, the album has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK and 1.6 million copies worldwide. 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.
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. 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. The single became Goulding's second highest-charting single to date, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song also charted in some European countries in early 2011. In January 2011, it was announced that the title track from Lights would serve as the second single from Bright Lights.
Goulding toured in support of Lights and supported Passion Pit in March 2010 and Dave Matthews Band during his British tour in May 2010. During the summer she performed at a number of festivals. On 29 May she performed at the Dot to Dot Festival in Bristol. She performed a set on 25 June at the Glastonbury Festival 2010 on the John Peel Stage. Her third EP was a live recording of part of her set at the iTunes Festival 2010. The whole set was ultimately included as bonus content on the iTunes version of Bright Lights. She made her T in the Park debut on 11 July.
Goulding performing at the Glastonbury Festival 2010 on the John Peel Stage.
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. 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.
Previously she had performed at the BRITs launch party where the nominations were announced.
Goulding at the BRIT Awards 2011.
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. 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. 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. She was introduced to Prince William by Tinie Tempah at Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2010.
Ellie Goulding back-stage at Lollapalooza 2011.
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.
Goulding headlined the 2011 Wakestock Festival in Wales, performing on 8 July. In August she performed at V Festival for her second year in a row.
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.
On 6 August 2011, Goulding performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Goulding performed at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert on 11 December 2011 in Oslo, Norway, where she also served on a panel discussion with Amy Lee of Evanescence and Janelle Monáe. 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 will.i.am.
In February 2011, Goulding told the Daily Star that she had plans to release a follow-up to Lights sometime in 2011.
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.
Although Goulding signed to Polydor Records in July 2009, her debut 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. 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", and a UK tour supporting Little Boots. 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.
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. 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.
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. Her song "Not Following" was used by German singer Lena on her debut album My Cassette Player. Goulding was featured on rapper Tinie Tempah's single "Wonderman" from his debut studio album Disc-Overy (2010).
Ellie at the 2010 BRIT Awards.
1986–10: Early life
Elena Jane Goulding was born and raised in Lyonshall, a small village near Kington, Herefordshire, the second of four children (a brother and two sisters). Her mother Tracey (née Clark) used to work at a supermarket, and her father, Arthur Goulding, came from a "family of undertakers". Her parents separated when she was five, and she had a stepfather who was a lorry driver. 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 entered a singing competition and won.
Ellie Goulding when she was young
She commenced drama, politics and English courses at the University of Kent, 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, she was spotted by Jamie Lillywhite of Turn First Artists at a university talent contest at Kent. After Goulding successfully showcased for Turn First Artists head Sarah Stennett, she was told to leave university and was set up in a house in West London. 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.
"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.
Goulding possesses the vocal range of a soprano and is noted for her high piercing vibrato, breathy tone and emotive delivery. 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". 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. 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".
Goulding's debut album Lights (2010) experimented with genres including indie pop, synthpop, folktronica and indietronica. The album contained "sparkling pop with a folky heart and an electronic edge" and was noted as being infectious.
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". Goulding's second album Halcyon followed in the same vein, including genres such as indie pop, synthpop and dream pop. She 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.
Goulding states that she is influenced by a wide range of genres from R&B, electronica, heavy metal, folk, hip hop, pop and classical. She listed Beyoncé, Ani DiFranco, Imogen Heap, Björk, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill as influences, as well as contemporaries such as Florence and the Machine, Marina Diamandis, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Owl City, stating that she is "blown away" by them. She also expressed admiration for rappers Kanye West, Drake and Nicki Minaj. Goulding's musical style has been compared to that of Kate Nash, Meiko, Lykke Li and Tracey Thorn.
Goulding is a keen runner, aiming to run six miles every day and in 2010 announced plans to run a marathon. 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, 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.
Goulding is close friends with American folk singer Lissie. The two toured the United Kingdom together in 2010. She is also good friends with New Zealand indie pop singer Lorde, American pop singer Katy Perry and British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. Goulding dated Greg James from 2009 to 2011, and has admitted that the relationship inspired several songs on her second album Halcyon. She dated Skrillex in 2012, and in September 2013, Ed Sheeran stated that he briefly dated Goulding that summer. In May 2014, she confirmed that she is in a relationship with Dougie Poynter from the band McFly.
She has also dated Niall Horan
Ellie running the inaugural Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on 28 April 2013.
In 2010, Goulding participated in the Bupa Great North Run for the British Heart Foundation. 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.
In 2012, she partnered with Pandora Radio; one dollar for each sale of her mixtape was donated to Free the Children charity.
On 1 June 2013, Goulding performed at Gucci'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.
On 15 November 2014, Goulding joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa.