If there is one artist to watch out for the rest of the year it is Ellie Goulding. This British singer-songwriter has made a lasting impact on the British music scene with her highly acclaimed debut album “Lights.” Now, armed with a repertoire of heartfelt lyrics, alluring beats and unique vocals, Ellie is about to embark on her first American headlining tour this upcoming month. I got the chance to talk to Ellie this past week to learn more about this rising artist.
Cristina: First of all, introduce yourself.
Ellie: I am a singer-songwriter, I suppose. My music is a fusion of electro-pop music and folk.
CC: You’ve had a really interesting career so far. Although you haven’t been around that long you’ve made quite an impression on the British Music Industry. There was a lot of anticipation surrounding the release of “Lights” over there…
EG: I was kind of a bit ignorant. I didn’t bother that much. I just released it and hoped for the best. There was one review of my alum that said “Its not worth the hype” and it just killed me. Then everything else was so positive. I didn’t think about it that much and I’m glad that I didn’t. I would’ve just messed myself up if I got caught up in it. But everything just went really positively.
CC: I know you finished “Lights” before you started catching people’s eye. Now that you’re getting ready to work on a sophomore album, what can people expect from you?
EG: It’s going to be fine. I honestly don’t feel this enormous pressure. I feel like there is always room to improve, to grow and better yourself. All I want is to listen back to it and be completely proud of my work. Once that is achieved, I will be done with it. Nothing less will be put out. I’m not in a rush and I want to give it its time. I really want to spend some time with myself and write a lot. I want to immerse myself with music, because after all that’s how I get my ideas. That’s what I’ve been doing really.
CC: What are some of the
EG: I’ve been listening to a lot of things like Warpaint, Feist as always, Beach House, Noah and the Wall. I’m also listening to big bands like The National, just the stuff that comes around. I’m really drawn to dark stuff. I’m more drawn to melancholy.
CC: That’s really interesting, because your music is extremely positive and upbeat.
EG: I know!
CC: You’ve said in the past that you’re a huge fan of folk music. Not implying that you have to sound like your influences, of course, but where does your sound come from? It’s very unique.
EG: I honestly don’t know. I don’t think about it that much. I definitely don’t consciously think of fusing all these different genres. I just make it. If I like it I keep it, if I don’t then I forget about it. Everyone has a vision - if you are a writer, you have a vision. Everyone’s vision is a bit different. Mine is build up from songs fall in love with and albums I love. My voice is quite unusual than all the other big singers, like Beyonce for example. Then I also love Joni Mitchell and Feist and those types of singers. It’s varied.
CC: Your covers are also something that you are well known for. You take these songs and effortlessly turn them your own…
EG: I really enjoy playing covers during my gigs. I guess I became good at just singing and playing them. I found that people respond to songs they know really well. So my sets usually consisted of playing some of my own songs along with covers. I love covers because it is a way to translate a song and give it a different meaning. The Rihanna cover I just did, my band and I have been in love with the song for a while. I think it is one of the best pop songs in the last few years, actually. I just did my own thing with me and people either loved it or hated it.
CC: Have you though about collaborating at all?
EG: Oh, I definitely want to. But I just want to focus on my own stuff for now. I would love to see that happen though.
CC: On a different note, this is your first time coming over to America and doing a tour. What are some of your expectations for your tour here?
EG: I don’t know. I’m in Texas now and it’s been pretty straightforward so far. I think my first tour date will be a good decider or not and I’ll be able to asses a reaction from people here. It’ll be an indicator for what I can expect. But I haven’t though about it that much because I don’t want to freak myself out. I’m going to let everything just happen on its own. I really don’t want to expect something and not have it happen.
CC: Yeah. I guess in the UK you had hype since before your album was released, so it must be weird coming here where you are not that well known.
EG: Yeah, exactly. I’m definitely hoping to build a fan base. It’s hard for someone that is not too mainstream to crack it over here. Hopefully I can just keep building my fan base so I can come back. But I love it here so far so hopefully it won’t be the last time I get to come.
CC: In the past, you have talked a lot about how important your music is to you in making a connection with your listeners. People have mentioned that you are “a change in music” in the way you are getting your music across to your fans. What are some of the things you want people to take away from it?
EG: I want people to see something hopeful. I want people to feel good and relate to it on some level. I like feeling like I can help people in some way. I like having empathy. That’s what I hope to achieve.
CC: You’ve also mentioned that you are really interested in observing human behavior and trying to write those unspoken moments into songs.
EG: Yes, I suppose so. It’s easy enough writing about people’s emotions and stuff. But then there’s that chemical reaction between people, all that science in how we interact. I love mixing that with the fact that people fall in love. Whether it’s chemical or not, it has a real impact on you. I’m really interested in how people behave and I like picking up things that people usually dismiss. I like that.
CC: Well, thank you for talking to us Ellie. I’ll see you in Chicago!
EG: No, thank you. Absolutely!
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