Born Elena Jane Goulding in Hereford on December 30th 1986, brought up in Kington, a small village on the Wales-England border a bright and shiny 25 year old singer-songwriter and is one of very few singer-songwriters, young or old, who can flip between dance-til-you-drop euphoria (“Starry Eyed”) and wistful, journeying space-folk (“Guns and Horses”).
“I like simplicity,” she says, “which is why I’m not afraid of pop, or dance music. I just look for the hook, the centre. And it can be the words or the melody, just the one thing that can relate to everyone. Even in alternative music, or classical, if it’s good, there will be something direct about it. But I also like to dig deep when it comes to lyrics. I’m aware of how I’m feeling all the time, so it’s impossible for me to write words that are contrived or meaningless.”
It was at Canterbury University where she studied performing arts that Ellie first found the confidence to sing on stage: on a whim, she entered the university talent competition and won first prize. But that was with cover versions: realising she needed to write her own songs, she sat down with her guitar and had a go. The songs came pouring out.
In a friend’s room, she heard Frankmusik (Vincent Frank) and got in touch with him, via his MySpace page. She sent him her acoustic version of Wish I Stayed and he swirled it into a thing of cool and classy beauty. Soon after, again using MySpace, Ellie hooked up with Fin Dow-Smith, aka the electro-don Starsmith, and something clicked. “Though I write on guitar, I hear the entire sound of songs in my head,” she says. “And Fin is someone who understands, who can really help me make that sound.” A talented musician in his own right (he’s about to release his own LP), Fin and Ellie have an amazing rapport: he sent her just a few la la la sounds and she was instantly inspired to write Starry-Eyed.