Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding is a British singer-songwriter. Born on December 30, 1986, she first started playing the clarinet at age 9, learned guitar at 14 and got into songwriting soon afterwards. After spending two years studying at the University of Kent, she took a gap year to focus on singing. Originally interested in making folk music, her meeting with electronic record producer Starsmith broadened her sonic horizons, and his influence was greatly left on her debut album Lights.
Her follow-up album, Halcyon, went farther away from the folktronica tag that was slapped on her first album, creating epic electronica soundscapes that were widely regarded as an improvement from her first album. It also contained a few forays into Dubstep, likely thanks to her then-boyfriend Skrillex.
Her latest album, Delirium combines all the elements that came before: Several songs have folk influence, some have electronica soundscape while some have element of mainstream pop music.
Ellie is a featured vocalist on:
- Tinie Tempah - "Wonderman" (2010)
- Skrillex - "Summit" (2011)
- Calvin Harris - "I Need Your Love" (2012), "Outside" (2014)
- Zedd - "Fall into the Sky" (2012)
- Major Lazer - "Powerful" (2015)
- Broken Record: At about 2:16 in, "Lights"' name is repeated in the background fourteen times. Also, "Anything Could Happen".
- Concept Album: Halcyon is filled with Breakup Songs; as Goulding herself has said:I didn't set out to write a break-up record, but I think it became one.
- Cover Version:
- Ellie's been known to do quite a few of these, the most well-known probably being her rendition of Elton John's classic "Your Song". Additional ones include: "High for This" by The Weeknd, "Hanging On" by Active Child, "Tessellate" by AltJ, "Midas Touch" by Midnight Star, and "Vincent" by Don McLean.
- Most of them don't deviate much from the original versions, but her take on "Midas Touch" is drastically different, turning the upbeat 1980s Funk song into a moody Dubstep-flavored one.
- Darker and Edgier: Halcyon is much darker, lyrically and sonically, than Lights and its re-release were.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Ellie's boyfriend in the music video of "Starry Eyed" is revealed to be a being with a Celestial Body. This certainly explained a lot of the Mind Screw elements of the video.
- Everyone Loves Blondes
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: All of her songs are notably devoid of swearing. The closest she gets to doing so is in "Burn" which features the use of the word "hell". Averted in Iggy Azalea's "Heavy Crown", where she uses the word "bitch" to the surprise of some listeners. Finally averted once and for all in Delirium, which features her using light swearing like "damn" in songs like "Codes", while "Army" drops the only use of the word "fuck" in her music.
- Gratuitous Spanish: "Burn" gives us this line:And what we see is everybody's on the floor acting crazy getting loco till the light's out
- Helium Speech: Implemented as electronic babble in "Only You".
- Hotter and Sexier/Three Minutes of Writhing: The "Lights" video. Ellie gyrating around in a short dress? Check.
- Intercourse with You: "Love Me Like You Do", fitting since it was made for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack.
- Light Is Good: The overarching theme of Lights and Bright Lights, as evidenced and most prominent in singles "Lights" and "Starry Eyed".
- Mind Screw: The "Anything Could Happen" video. It begins with her waking up with long flowing hair and gown on a beach with crashing waves. She parades around in the sand while cylindrical and pyramid-shaped mirrors spin the air around her. Then her nose starts bleeding profusely and she stumbles upon a bloody dead body. Then the scene cuts to her in a car with her boyfriend, which quickly collides with another car. She then stands on top of the crashed car with her dead boyfriend inside while the sun rises behind her. Hanging above her from a harness on her shoulders is a cloud made out of felt. She sings the last lines of the songs and smiles into the camera before it cuts to black.
- Ms. Fanservice: Has slowly been adopting this as part of her image, ever since Halcyon.
- Near-Death Experience: Had one of these where she almost drowned on a winter adventure trip in Norway after her and her photographer friend Conor's vehicle broke through the ice on a frozen lake.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Her music is a mix of Pop, Electronic and Folk. Later ditching the folk in favor of Alternative Dance and Dream Pop.
- New Sound Album: Halcyon ditches the folk sound from Lights and brings in elements of Gospel, Alternative Dance, Dream Pop, and even Dubstep, likely thanks to her then-boyfriend Skrillex.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Halcyon" and "Atlantis".
- Obsession Song: Figure 8, and much of Halycon.
- Older Than She Looks: She's 32, but looks like she's only barely in her twenties.
- Precision F-Strike: Not herself, but Tinie Tempah provides the only cursing on Halcyon during the song "Hanging On".
- She uses the word "fuck" once in "Army".
- Record Producer: Starsmith produced most of Lights, while Jim Eliot was the main driving force behind Halcyon.
- Refrain from Assuming: "Guns and Horses" isn't called "All for You" or "I Would".
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Double tracks her vocals often.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The attacking female soldiers in the "Guns and Horses" music video are wearing short shorts, wide-open jackets, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Ellie is clad in a buttoned blue flannel, black shirt, and jeans.
- Sexy Whatever Outfit: The "Guns and Horses" music video features dancers in sexy soldier costumes.
- Silly Love Songs: Most notable with "Still Falling For You". Not surprising considering it's featured in a "Bridget Jones" movie.And just like that, all I breathe, all I feel, you are all for me.I'm in.And just like that, all I breathe, all I feel, you are all for me.No one can lift me, catch me the way that you do.I'm still falling for you.
- Surreal Music Video: "Figure Eight" contains a chockload of symbolism and unclear imagery.
- Title Track: Subverted by "Lights", which was originally not featured on the standard edition of the album it named, but ended up on its re-release; it was subsequently released as a single and became a huge hit in the United States. Played straight on Halcyon, which is named after the track of the same name.
- To Become Human: "Human".
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Tinie Tempah on "Hanging On", a song that originally didn't have a rap verse.
- Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd on "Close to Me".
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: And she did for a good few months.
- Right now, it's currently pink.
- Burn, burn, burn