This week I caught up with Ellie Goulding on her latest tour as she stopped off for a gig in Lincoln. It was a miserable sodding day and by the time I reached her tiny little dressing room, I was soaked through. Thankfully, Ellie was as charming as you might expect should you have even heard just one of her songs. Despite the incredible success she’s had throughout the last year Ellie simply invited me to sit on the sofa beside her, casually dressed and sporting no makeup at all. We both had a quick bitch about the weather before we caught up on what’s developed since Faux last spoke to her, just before her career sky-rocketed.
So Ellie, give me the lowdown on what’s been going on with the current tour?
Well I got here this morning, went to the gym for a bit but the air freshener was so over powering that I couldn’t breathe – I was like, what, why do people think this is helpful? I could see it up on the wall ever minute going TUSHHH. It was doing my nut in.
I didn’t mean that quite so literally! Obviously you seem to be pretty keen on your fitness – what exactly is the ‘Ellie runs’ thing all about?
It’s kind of turned into this thing. It started off as just me doing runs with people who liked my music because it was the easiest way for me to get through to people – to run with them. It’s proven to be really successful and people have just really enjoyed it and people have taken up running from it. I think it’s just a different thing to do and I was kind of attracted to the idea of doing running with people because it’s a first. It should be more rock and roll … but I really love running – I find it exhilarating.
I’m always talking about running, I’ve slacked off lately but I’ve done a couple of half marathons – apart from that I’ve just done little bits here and there. I just love the idea of being fit, having a really fit body. I find the idea of being overweight quite scary. I find it quite erm, no that’s not right I just like the idea of erm…
Looking after yourself?
Yeah yeah. I think that without us being able to help ourselves, there are conditions that we live in that we can’t really help as it is, so if we can be in control then we should be – that’s kind of why I do it really. I think what better than if I’ve got like 100,000 people on Twitter that I can influence then so be it and I can promote something that’s healthy. I kind of want to show that it is, and it can still be cool to run. Some people think I’m a nerd [laughs] … I am a nerd look [showing her new Nike ID trainers with ‘Ellie’ printed along the heel]. My old pair were absolutely battered, I will never go a week without training.
How long have you been on the road now?
We finish on the 30th so we’ve got till the end of the month. It’s going really well, on every tour I’ve been on and pretty much every European tour I’ve got cold but you just do, you just get one. You just have to get on with it. You’re just constantly open to lots of people and germs and stuff because you’re on a bus.
Is it all as fun as everyone thinks?
Yeah it’s fun. I’ll tell you why, because it’s like a weird little world. I don’t know what the band do, I think they kind of just geek out on their laptops and go around town. I mean Jo my drummer is such a hard worker, he’s straight here in the morning to start doing everything and same with the crew… seen as it’s what they’re paid to do [laughs]. I’ll be to the gym or pool or whatever, so I’ll do that and then may be go do a bit of shopping. Then I’ll be here and do the sound check. Then we have food; only healthy stuff so it doesn’t tempt us just to eat shit everyday – but we do have chocolates, that kind of keeps morale high. So yeah it is fun. The drinking is fun but I’m kind of very weary because my voice is so powerful, to take real care of it. It does take its toll. You have to balance out the drinking with the gym, or eating well or having nice smoothies and detoxing.
In terms of where you’ve played so far this tour, where’s been the best?
Er, Manchester [smiles widely].
You said that with a huge smile on your face.
They’re just brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Every time I’ve been they’ve been really up for it. They just really make you feel like you deserve to be there, you know, they make you feel like you’re special. I have to say, a gig somewhere else, that will remain nameless, was absolutely awful. Just nobody moved… I mean, especially if you’ve bought a ticket, they’re not that cheap. I was just looking at my band going [pulls face].
Can it be hard to get them going or are they normally all with you?
Yeah they are all with me in a certain way. It’s quite difficult with my shows because I’ve got a combination of me playing guitar and then I’ve got other bits that are just really heavy. I think if I was at that gig I would be fascinated with it as a whole. Most people are just like staring, so it’s not like they’re just bored or whatever they just don’t know what’s going to come next.
Maybe they’re just so in awe of you?
[laughs] Noooo, it’s a hard one to determine how to react I think. I also think that a lot of people who come to my shows aren’t necessarily, as a crowd, going to be vibing you know? It’s kind of just like young girls, quite influential. I don’t think it’s that kind of [rubbish Jamaican accent] “just vibe to whatever man”.
In terms of what’s coming next for you as an artist then, what’s after the tour?
Well, I’m releasing my album and some new tracks which I’m really excited about. [gets up from sofa] – This is an exclusive, because I’ve not played this to anyone. For example this is one of my new tracks [begins track] – this is more like heavy.
Ellie plays part of her new song which apparently hasn’t been played to anyone else. I must admit, I was a tad concerned that the new album might not live up to the first. Thankfully, I can say that the common sound of Ellie’s work remains and the track she played sounded absolutely brilliant. It was an excellent first glimpse at what promises to be another cracking album. I was impressed and I told her so. She was clearly very excited to be finally showing off her new song as she smiled from ear to ear.
It’s called Animal… so yeah, it’s pretty heavy. But then there’s stuff like, [plays another song] this is more like chill.
It was indeed quite chilled out… reminiscent almost of The Writer from her debut album.
Do you ever worry about anyone remixing your work?
I love it when they get remixed. I know pretty much all the main ones because I just love them. Some of the best songs are remixes. There are so many things that can affect your song writing. Sometimes you can get self indulgent, sometimes you can be thinking about the same thing too much, I don’t know, that just happens with every song writer but the fact that someone else just comes in, doesn’t know anything else about you as a person, doesn’t know anything about your life, they’ve just listened to the song for what it is and taken it into something – another level I think that’s fascinating so yeah I love remixes.
Do you feel like your new album has changed from your old sound?
Not necessarily from my old sound, but it’s definitely matured. I feel lucky because I was worried that my songs were going to be effected by this year, because it has been a fucking mental year. I was worried that everything was going to get a bit kind of… I’d start singing about this year, like what happens if you make it and stuff [laughs]. But it was just like old times and was just kind of like normal so I was really happy that happened.
But then I’m releasing a song that everyone thought was going to be Lights, but actually it’s a whole different thing… but you’ll weirdly find out during the middle of X-factor what the song is. Not in X-factor, not on X-factor.
So, an advert?
Yeah [laughs]. Actually I’m not really supposed to tell anyone about that, I’ll get told off… So erm… yeah. It’s been spreading around anyway. So yeah, that’s really exciting. That’s going to be my Christmas single.
Are you hoping for a Christmas number one?
[smiles with big sigh] Erm, I don’t even know if it’ll get in the charts but I was really happy with it because it’s back to my roots. It’s just me with guitar, piano and I recorded it with Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons and a couple of lovely people. We just went to a studio and recorded it and I’m really happy with it, really happy.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Oh god, usually from bad things. Like when I’m feeling really low but lots of things really. I’m always talking to people, I’m always listening to people like I’m so happy to have new people in my band to talk to that I can just ask new things about you know? I just find relationships and everything fascinating. I find people in different situations fascinating and I find the fact that my drummer Jo, who’s like amazing; he’s so clever and definitely one of the best drummers in the world and I’m really lucky to have him; the fact that he lives with his lovely wife who’s a teacher out in the middle of nowhere. He’s got this lovely little house that I went to the other day – that kind of life just fascinates me. Like country stuff I love. I’ve got a new song called Home which is about a farmer and I just dreamt it up this whole scenario of a lonely farmer living out in the country not having anyone to talk to or whatever. So yeah, the countryside is like a massive inspiration because in every song I end up mentioning something to do with running free or fields something.
Where does that love of the countryside come from?
Growing up in the country and not really appreciating it at the time because things were never really that great at home. But now that I can sit back in retrospect and think about that, because I’ve forgotten a lot of things because I’ve got such a bad memory. I think of things differently now. I think back to the country and think of good memories. I can easily separate now how much I appreciated living in the countryside with, I don’t know, bad things… you know, not really bad things, but things like living with a rubbish step dad and stuff like that, living in a tiny house and whatever. But I just loved growing up in the country and now more than I ever I just miss it so much. At any opportunity I say to my boyfriend, please can we go away to the country because he’s obsessed with it as me because he grew up in the country as well.
So speaking about Greg then?
How did you two meet – everyone always seems to want to know about the latest celebrity couple?
Well yeah, some. We met because he interviewed me at the Brit Awards and we just realised we got on really well and realised that we were like best mates so we were just mates for a bit [laughs] and then we just couldn’t [ flings arms wide open and laughs], no and then we just ended up kind of dating. He’s lovely.
How long has it been now?
Er, 6 months ish.
And should I go out and buy a hat?
Er, no don’t. I mean, you can buy a hat if you want. I’m a massive fan of hats but erm, noooooooo. We just, we have a lot of fun. He’s busy but he was up yesterday and he comes to shows and he’s pretty much always been a fan before we even met.
Were you a fan of his?
Erm, to be honest [laughs] I hadn’t really listened to his show that much. I’d heard about him and I’d heard that he made my song record of the week or something.
That probably helped then?
Going on from this tour then and the forthcoming album, what do you want to do long term?
Well I’m going to America sometime in March, April. I think I’ll go back out to Europe again and I kind of want to go back out to Australia because I’ve only been there for a week and I didn’t really get the chance to introduce myself properly so they still don’t really know who I am over there.
So are you hoping to make a big impact?
Well that and I just bloody love travelling. I get to travel around so I think whatever I’m doing at the minute is just the beginning. The live shows have got a lot bigger and everything’s just got more powerful. I mean my intentions aren’t to be a huge massive global star I just kind of, I feel like people are discovering me every day in little clumps. Some people have only just heard Starry Eyed [laughs]. I went to a hospital recently just to go and see some fans and stuff and there was one girl who was like “who’s that?” and then someone said “oh it’s Ellie Goulding” – she had my album and everything and she didn’t recognise me. When she found out she just screamed.
That must be quite a good thing though surely? Like could you walk down the High Street right now and get away with it?
Errrrrm. No [laughs]. I used to be able to; it’s kind of a bad thing. I mean don’t get me wrong I don’t get like hounded but I get people staring a lot. It’s a weird one. I used to be like, oh that’s quite exciting people know who I am but now I can’t go into like Topshop or anything like that because people know who I am. If I’ve got no makeup on it usually helps.
How does the fame affect you in normal day life, for example having your own personal Facebook page?
I got rid of Facebook and I’m so glad I did after watching The Social Network last night. I got rid of Facebook because it was just getting too stressful, I just realised I was wasting my life a little bit on it and I wasn’t doing enough reading or anything. The one thing I do get it someone saying “oh my friend knows your cousin really well” and I’m like “I don’t have any cousins” – I get that aaall the time. And I get a lot of people coming up to me, especially if I go with Greg to DJ, saying “I know your little sister” and I’m like “reeeeeally? I doubt it”.
So is that just an attempt to try and…?
I don’t know what it is, man that happens all the time. I get tweets like every day saying “oh my mate knows your sisters… dog”. I don’t get that. I bet there are some people who get it even worse than me. That annoys me for some reason.
How else has it affected you, relationship wise with old friends and family?
No family hasn’t changed; I don’t see them that often because we all live here there and everywhere but no nothing’s really changed. I see a few of my old friends, I don’t see a lot of my old friends any more but I’ve kind of found a nice friendship group with my band and they’ve got girlfriends and wives and are just really lovely to hang out with. I really trust them as well because they’re doing the same thing as me, so I trust them.
The tour manager then knocked on the door to tell me to wrap up the interview. I’d had the allocated 15 minutes. As I turned off my dictaphone Ellie was still clearly on a high having played someone her brand new track and wanted to know what I really thought of it. We talked about the tracks and she also questioned me about what I did for a living, where I was from and genuinely took an interest. I kept saying “I’d best go before your tour manager comes in and shouts at me” but she was adamant we talked. Despite her huge success in the past year Ellie remains as down to earth as ever and keeps true to her earlier words of the interview that she finds new people, relationships and experiences fascinating. If the exclusive hearing of some of her new tracks is anything to go by, then her new album will be as good, if not better than the first. I for one shall be buying it.
You can check out the video for her christmas single below, an excellent cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.