The past several years have been huge for Ellie Goulding. The singer-songwriter has released two phenomenally successful albums, lent her highly distinctive vocals to Calvin Harris club bangers, and even performed at a royal wedding reception. Everything has changed for the young woman from Hertfordshire – and at the same time, she insists, very little has.
“I travel a lot these days, and I have a lot of busy, crazy, unpredictable days,” says Goulding, who is spending some rare time at home before setting off on another tour. “It’s very tense and high-energy, but I still have the same people around me, and I don’t think I’ve changed that much. I’m a bit more efficient these days, because I want to fit more stuff in, but I’d say I’m still much the same person as before.”
Goulding’s music strikes a fine balance between folky ballads and dramatic electronic sounds, a product of the rave scene that she immersed herself in from her late teens. “I was born in ’86 and I went through a lot of musical phases growing up,” she says. “I guess I started out listening to a lot of pop music from the early ’90s, before getting more into indie, and then starting to immerse myself in the electronic music scene a bit more. I don’t go out clubbing that much anymore, but where I grew up there was a very big rave scene – there were a lot of dubstep nights and drum’n’bass nights, so it was a big thing for me growing up, for sure. I was very lucky to grow up through all these different phases of great music.”
Since the success of her Calvin Harris track ‘I Need Your Love’, it’s natural to assume Goulding gets approached by a lot of producers keen to collaborate. Right now, however, she’s in the fortunate position of being able to choose her musical hook-ups very carefully. “Usually I reach out to people if I really want to collaborate,” she says. “At the moment, I’m very focused on my own stuff, but there are a few people I’d like to collaborate with. I’d like to collaborate with Disclosure; I’d really like to do a song with Drake.”
I put it to Goulding that, for most people, collaborating with an artist like Drake would be a pipe dream, but she could quite easily make it happen if she so chose. “Yeah, definitely, because he sampled my song on his record, so I’d be able to get through to him that way!”
Goulding’s ethereal vocals would certainly mesh well with a Disclosure beat as well, but she’s unsure how likely it is to happen on her next album. “I literally have no idea what direction my new music is going to take just yet,” she says. “I’d tell you, but I don’t know myself where it’s going. I’m just going to wait and see. I haven’t started working on the album.”
Before I let Goulding go, there’s one more question I have to ask. She has spoken before about her friendship with Taylor Swift, and I’m genuinely curious to know if the two of them ever get together to trade tips on writing the perfect pop song. “Not really, no!” she laughs. “When we see each other, we don’t really talk about music. We do sometimes, but making music is kind of our job, so when we’re together we just hang out, we don’t really share tips or anything like that. I mean, we’re big fans of each other’s songs, but generally we don’t talk about that.”