The name Ellie Goulding crept up on Indian music channels back in 2013 when Ellie released her debut album. But it was the track Love Me Like You Do from the soundtrack of the film Fifty Shades Of Grey that made her even more famous. The 29-year-old British singer has made her mark on the music circuit with some catchy songs including loads of balladic material. We take a look at her spiralling up the ladder to stardom.
Elena Jane Goulding was born on 30 December 1986 in Hereford to Jewish parents. She is the second of four children (she has a brother and two sisters). Her father, an undertaker, and mother who worked at a supermarket, separated when she was only five years old. Her mother later remarried a lorry driver who became a stepfather to her. At 9 years she began playing the clarinet, but dropped it for the guitar which she took up at 14. She attended Lady Hawkins High School in Kingston, a town close to where she lived. She was very involved in her school’s theatre, leading her to take drama, politics and English courses at the University of Kent. She won a lead part in a school production of The Wizard of Oz, playing the role of the scarecrow. At 15, she started songwriting and while at Hereford Sixth Form College, she entered a singing competition and won.
While at the University where she was exposed to electronic music, she was spotted by Jamie Lillywhite of Turn First Artists at a university talent contest. Lillywhite took her on and became her manager and introduced her to producer Starsmith who in the future would become her chief collaborator and the primary producer of her music.
After two years in university, she was advised to take a break to pursue her music career. She perfected the track Wish I Stayed with Starsmith and Frankmusik and moved to live in West London.
From Bjork, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill, to the big names of recent pop-dom, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, to rappers Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, all have played a part in influencing Ellie’s music.
In September 2009, Ellie bagged a recording contract with Polydor Records and released her debut single Under The Sheets later that year on the independent label Neon Gold Records, which appeared only on the digital market. For a beginner, she was doing well for herself; her song ran up the U.K. Singles charts peaking at No. 53. In the following months, she was busy touring and promoting her forthcoming debut album with the singles Guns And Horses and Wish I Stayed.
Ellie’s name was already in the critics’ consideration by 2010. She was on top of 2010 BBC Sound, an annual BBC poll of music critics and industry figures to find the most promising new music talent. Her popularity was further boosted with the victory of Critics’ Choice at the 2010 BRIT Awards. As a result, her debut album Lights released on Polydor landed at No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart upon its release in March 2010. This was followed by the EP Run Into The Light in August that year. It contained remixes of tracks in Lights.
Before the release of her debut album, Ellie did a lot of work for new artists who were making waves all over the world. She co-wrote Love Me ‘Cause You Want To for Gabriella Cilmi’s album, Ten, and three songs (Remake Me + You, Notice, Jumping into Rivers) for Diano Vickers 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. She was also featured on rapper Tinie Tempah’s single Wonderman from his debut album Disc-Overy (2010).
Ellie was nominated for Best British Female and Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2011 BRIT Awards but lost out to Laura Marling and Tinie Tempah. Around the same time she recorded an original song for the film Life In A Day, and was No. 5 on Rolling Stone magazine’s annual hot list in 2011. After her European tour, her team began thinking of ways to break the U.S. market. She managed to break in when she performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in April 2011 and on Saturday Night Live in March that year. But the biggest moment for Ellie came when she sang at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in April 2011. She performed about 14 songs, including the Elton John-Bernie Taupin 1970 mega hit Your Song for the couple’s first dance. She said, “It was an amazing honour to be asked by Kate and William to perform at their party. The atmosphere was incredible and it is a night I will never forget.”