Taking a mini-break to focus on herself in 2016, our folktronica queen is back.
After tying the knot with her fiancé Caspar Jopling in August 2019, Ellie Goulding is back and ready to reclaim her place as a frontrunner of the pop scene.
To celebrate the release of her latest album “Brightest Blue”, the team at IndustryMe has decided to refresh your mind on the decade long career of Miss Goulding; so sit back and enjoy the drive down the memory lane.
Lights and Bright Lights – Promising Debut
After being spotted at a talent contest, Goulding decided to drop out of Kent University to focus solely on her music career. Signed to Polydor Records, the Hereford-born singer worked extensively with Finlay Dow-Smith aka Starsmith on crafting the album and recorded a majority of it in Starsmith’s bedroom in Bromley.
“Lights” is synth folky pop perfection. Both Goulding and Starsmith successfully managed to find a perfect balance between modern electro-pop and a well-crafted indie-folk style.
Though Under the Sheets and Starry Eyed were great first singles, Lights and Your Song (the latter being a cover of Elton John’s 1970 classic), was really what put the Hertfordshire native on the map. Released as the lead single from “Lights” re-release, “Bright Lights”, “Your Song” became Goulding’s second highest-peaking single to date on the UK chart, reaching number two whilst “Lights” a sleeper hit, reached number two on Billboard 100.
Winner of 2010’s Brits Critics’ Choice Award and an invitation at Buckingham Palace to sing at the evening reception for the wedding of Kate and William, not bad for a debut album!
Halcyon and Halcyon Days – A Darker Era
Recorded in breaks between the heavy promotion for “Lights”, The “Halcyon” album introduced us to a different side of Goulding. Indicating her next project will be more emotional, the album was darker in tone compared to its predecessor- “and God knows I’m not dying but I bleed now/And God knows it’s the only way to heal now/With all the blood I lost with you” – (My Blood by Ellie Goulding).
Rumoured to be inspired by her breakup with Radio One DJ Greg James and her troubled relationship with her father, the lyrical content of “Halcyon” has found comparisons to Adele’s ‘21’.
Goulding’s best suit is no doubt her pen game and she makes sure to illuminate this on the album. Whilst her debut was largely co-written with Starsmith, the singer furthers her creative control on “Halcyon” contributing five songs solely written by her and producing the majority of the album.
Concerned with their fave possibly sacrificing her artistic credibility, various fans and critics alike were not too keen on Goulding expanding on her unique folktronica sounds from the previous album. Despite earning her first number one with Burn, fans were not so happy with how radio-friendly the single was in comparison to previous releases.
Every artist comes to this crossroad, torn between pursuing their creativity yet desiring to please their fans. Thankfully, the singer did not allow the criticism to deter her from continuing to elevate her sound.
Peaking at number one in the UK and top 10 in various countries including the US, “Halcyon” bagged Goulding the 2014 Best British Female Solo Artist Brit Award.
Delirium – The new Dance Pop Queen
If fans were anxious about Goulding’s exploration of sound on Halcyon then I’m sure they almost had a heart attack when hearing the singer’s latest offering.
It is a toxic cycle, fans often like to keep their favourite artists in a tight limiting box and artists often are scared of breaking out of the said box in fear of disappointing the very people who support them.
Goulding refreshingly rejects such a notion and unapologetically continues on her creative journey. Forewarning that the album will be an experiment and mark a turning point for her, Goulding clarifies her stance on artistic exploration in an interview with VICE – “I’m not the kind of person that’s a musician or an artist that will stay the same. I’m always doing something new…”
“Delirium” marks her ascension into Dance-Pop royalty. If you were to compile a list of songs that remind you of 2015, “Love Me Like You Do” will most likely be in your top 5.
A monster hit, the song earned Goulding her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song (Fifty Shades of – Grey). Her most successful single to date, “Love Me Like You Do” has become one of her signature songs.
Goulding’s change in musical direction is akin to Taylor Swift’s country to pop transformation. Both ladies have studied the game, to remain relevant in the music world you must stay current with the trends by continuing to update your sound.
That said, Goulding’s folktronica origins can still be heard on Delirium, the most overt being Devotion which straddles the line between a techno anthem and a folk lullaby.
Earned Ellie Goulding her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
“ ‘I need time off for my own head”
Astronomical success is a blessing and a curse. You rejoice on having reached yet another level in your career but that very level can become disruptive to your personal life. Following a high profile breakup and exhaustion from a very demanding profession, it was no surprise to anyone when the singer announced that she would be taking a long break back in 2016. Though releasing a collaboration with Kygo in 2017, Goulding quietly dipped from the scene to catch some air.
Brightest Blue – Self Discovery?
So where is Ellie Goulding now? Newly married and signed to new management, life is looking very exciting for the 33-year-old.
Featuring collaborations with Diplo, Swae Lee, and Juice Wrld, Brightest Blue is gearing up to be her most boundary-pushing project to date. Comprising two parts, Part 1 exploring self-discovery whilst Part 2, experiments with a newly introduced unnamed alter ego. In an interview with EW, Goulding discusses the nature of her alter ego – “I get to play this super confident girl who leaves parties because she doesn’t like anyone, and deals with egotistical guys who think they’re the one,”.
“Close to me” featuring Diplo and Swae Lee, is still folktronica but has cleverly been updated on a pop-r&b beat for the Gen x folks, whilst the 80’s ode Power fits in perfectly with the current throwback sound sought after by a number of her peers.
Any worry of whether Goulding will be able to maintain her spot in the new era of pop after her hiatus has greatly diminished.
The secret ingredient to a long-lasting career is remaining current within an evolving scene. Goulding knows this and has put great effort into constantly renewing her sound whilst remaining true to her origins.