For a woman with only two albums to her name, Ellie Goulding has made the most of her time in the public eye. The 25-year-old British singer is making a name for herself by conquering radio with her brand of electropop that has won her fans across the globe.
The second of four children, Goulding started playing clarinet at 9 before picking up a guitar at 14 and finally began composing her own songs a year later. But it wasn’t until she was a college student at the University of Kent that she picked up on the electronic music that’s become the hallmark of her sound and made her a radio fixture. It was at Kent where she began working with producers Starsmith and Frankmusik, the first of which helped shape her sound.
In 2009, Goulding got her big break when she signed with Polydor Records in the UK. Her first single, “Under The Sheets,” was released later that year and began the singer’s ascent on the charts, eventually peaking at No. 53 on the UK Singles Charts, which proved to be promising for an unknown singer who only recently had moved to London. Her visibility increased by touring with Little Boots and appearing on programs such as Later…with Jools Holland.
When she 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 for her debut album Lights, that’s when people began to recognize that Goulding was going places. The album had hit songs “Starry Eyed", "Guns and Horses" and "The Writer" all of which eventually crossed over onto international formats and proved her worthy of the praise. Festival appearances became the norm, as she played at the biggest ones across the globe (quite literally all of the major ones, which is an accomplishment in itself ) and her songs were licensed to film and TV.
For Americans, in addition to her music, Goulding became known for dating dubstep superstar Skrillex. Though she’s become known for that, the singer slowly began crafting her follow-up to Lights. What makes Goulding’s sound different and allows for it to standout are her distinct soprano vocals. Though she’s able to hit the high notes, there’s a rough edge to it, which makes it sound like a rock or folk singer, yet retains a certain uniqueness that helps define her as a singer. Not a lot of musicians are fortunate enough to have a sound that that they can call their own, but she does and makes her tracks distinguishable.Last week Goulding released her sophomore album, Halycon, to acclaim. She retains the electronic sounds from her first album (which can be partially attributed to her boyfriend, though she claims not directly), yet she seems to evolve as a singer/songwriter, which is difficult to do in that particular genre. Dance music is the craze these days and judging by the reaction of many to the singer’s poppy version of it, it’s not surprising that both she and the genre aren’t going away anytime soon.