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Having caught the public's attention in 2010 with her singles "Starry Eyed" and "Guns and Horses," British vocalist Ellie Goulding quickly rose to the top of the charts with her infectious electronic pop sound. Although she started out writing songs in a folk-inflected style, she eventually grew into a more electronic-influenced artist, touching upon dance music and ambient synth pop. With her unique soprano warble and knack for writing catchy yet emotionally earnest songs, Goulding, much like her predecessors Kate Bush and Imogen Heap, stands at the forefront of contemporary mainstream music and arty, independent-minded pop.
Born in Hereford, England, she later moved to the country's east coast to study drama at the University of Kent. Goulding had developed a love for folk music as a teenager, and her time at university also exposed her to electronica. After two years, she took a break from her studies and moved to West London, where she pursued a career as an alternative singer/songwriter and befriended producers like Starsmith and Frankmusik, who gave her songs an electro-pop twist. In 2009, Goulding began building an audience via the Internet, where early tracks like "Starry Eyed" and a cover of Sam Sparro's "Black & Gold" were posted on tastemaking MP3 blogs such as Discodust. Goulding soon graduated from the blogosphere to print media, gaining praise from mainstream publications like The Guardian and fielding offers from record labels. She ultimately signed a major-label deal with Polydor Records and began making preparations to release her debut album. In the meantime, she penned songs for Diana Vickers, Gabriella Climi, and others.
During the final weeks of 2009, Goulding topped the BBC's Sound of 2010, a poll conducted by British music critics and industry insiders to identify new talent. Building on that momentum, she released Lights -- a sparkling debut album that splashed Goulding's vocal flutter across a landscape of acoustic and synthesized instruments -- in March 2010. Lights topped the U.K. charts during its first week and spun off "Starry Eyed" as a Top Five single (it also charted well in Ireland and New Zealand). Later that year, the album was re-released as Bright Lights, featuring seven new recordings (including a cover of Elton John's "Your Song," which peaked at number two). In 2012, Goulding returned with her sophomore album, Halcyon, which showcased an even more sonically adventurous, electro-pop-infused sound. In 2013, a deluxe reissue featuring ten extra songs was released; entitled Halcyon Days, it acted as a supplement to the original release.
Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding (born 30 December 1986) is an English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Lyonshall, Herefordshire. Her career began when she met record producer Starsmith and Frankmusik, and she was later spotted by Jamie Lillywhite, who later became her manager and A&R. After signing to Polydor Records in July 2009, Goulding released her debut extended play, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, later that year.
In 2010, she became the second artist to both top the BBC's annual Sound of... poll and win the Critics' Choice Award at the Brit Awards in the same year. Goulding released her debut studio album, Lights, in 2010. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK. Her cover of Elton John's "Your Song" reached number two in the UK in December 2010 and on 29 April 2011 she performed the song at the wedding reception of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Buckingham Palace. The album's title track, "Lights", was released in the US in March 2011, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Goulding's second album Halcyon was released in October 2012, "Anything Could Happen" preceded the album as the lead single. Halcyon debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, and, after 65 weeks, reached number one. Halcyon debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 Chart, her first top ten debut in the United States. Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, was released on 23 August 2013, it included new singles including "Burn", which became her first UK number-one single in the same month. At the 2014 BRIT Awards she received the award for Best British Female. By the end of 2013, she has sold an estimated 4 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide."Holy concert countdown, Batman! Over 20 Vancouver shows go on sale tomorrow". The Georgia Straight. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. Aguila, Justino (24 October 2013). "Katy Perry Hosts Famous Friends, Previews Next Tour at Hollywood Bowl: Live Review". Billboard. Retrieved 22 December 2013. "Folktronica singer Ellie Goulding tops BBC's Sound of 2010". BBC. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2013. "Ellie Goulding". BBC Music. 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2011. "The BRIT Awards 2013". Retrieved 19 February 2013. "Carly Rae Jepsen Claims Longest Hot 100 No. 1 Run of 2012". Billboard. Retrieved 8 August 2012 "Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry Scale Airplay Chart Summits". Billboard. Retrieved 26 November 2012 "Brit Awards 2014: David Bowie wins best British male award". BBC News. Retrieved 19 February 2014 "Ellie Goulding tickets, tour and event information – Ticketek Australia". Ticketek Australia. Retrieved 8 March 2014
Early lifeLyonshall village near Kington, Herefordshire, where Goulding grew up
Elena Jane Goulding was born and raised in Lyonshall, a small village near Kington, Herefordshire, the second of four children (she has a brother and two sisters). Her mother, Tracey (née Clark), used to work at a supermarket, and her father, Arthur Goulding, came from a "family of undertakers". Her parents separated when she was five, and she had a stepfather who was a lorry driver. She began playing the clarinet at the age of nine, and at fourteen began learning guitar. She attended Lady Hawkins' High School in Kington, where she won a main part in a school production, the Wizard of Oz, as the scarecrow. She started songwriting at the age of 15 and while in college she entered a singing competition and won.
After commencing drama, politics and English courses at the University of Kent, where she was exposed to electronic music, she developed her sound on the track "Wish I Stayed" with the help of Starsmith and Frankmusik. After two years at Kent, she was spotted by Jamie Lillywhite of Turn First Artists at a university talent contest. After Goulding successfully showcased for Turn First Artists head Sarah Stennett, she was told to leave university and was set up in a house in West London.
Lillywhite became her manager and A&R, and introduced her to the producer Starsmith who would become her chief collaborator and the primary producer of Lights.Ellie Goulding's "Lights" music video. 1.32 – 1.35 in. "About " Ellie Goulding". elliegoulding.com. Retrieved 20 January 2012. Harrod, Horatia (21 February 2011). "'He was Obsessed with Murder': Ellie Goulding interview". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 February 2011. "Mother's pride over Brit winner Ellie". Herefordshire Journals. 4 February 2010. "Ellie Goulding – EPK". YouTube. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011. Smart, Gordon (12 August 2010). "Ellie: My stepdad was horrible. He had no brains. If I saw him again I'd punch him in the face". The Sun (London). Retrieved 23 February 2011. "Interview with Sarah Stennett". HitQuarters. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013. "University drop-out Ellie Goulding named as top breakthrough music act for 2010". Daily Record. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
ContentsCareer1.1 2009–10: Early releases1.2 2010–11: Lights and Bright Lights1.3 2012–present: Halcyon and Halcyon Days
2009–10: Early releases
Although Goulding signed to Polydor Records in July 2009, her debut single, "Under the Sheets", was released through the independent label Neon Gold Records as a deliberately low-key debut, appearing digitally in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2009. The single peaked at number fifty-three on the UK Singles Chart following a successful appearance on Later... with Jools Holland, performing "Under the Sheets" and "Guns and Horses", and a UK tour supporting Little Boots. In October 2009, "Wish I Stayed" was available as a free download as the Single of the Week on iTunes Store UK from 22–28 December 2009.
Before the release of her debut album, Goulding won the BBC Sound of 2010 poll, which showcases the critics, broadcasters and music industry insiders' top choices for rising stars and artists for the coming year. She also won the Critics' Choice Award at the 2010 BRIT Awards, a prize that made her the second artist to win both in the same year. Goulding co-wrote "Love Me 'Cause You Want To" for Gabriella Cilmi's second album, Ten, and three songs, "Remake Me + You", "Notice" and "Jumping into Rivers", for Diana Vickers's 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. Goulding was featured on rapper Tinie Tempah's single "Wonderman" from his debut studio album Disc-Overy (2010).
2010–11: Lights and Bright LightsMain article: Lights (Ellie Goulding album)
Goulding's debut album Lights was released in March 2010, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart and number six on the Irish Albums Chart. Its singles, "Starry Eyed", "Guns and Horses" and "The Writer" peaked at numbers 4, 26 and 19 respectively. As of June 2012, the album has sold over 850,000 copies in the UK and 1.6 million copies worldwide. In August 2010, Goulding released a second EP, Run into the Light, containing remixes of songs from Lights. The album was supported by Nike and was released through Polydor as a running soundtrack in an effort to get Goulding's music taken up by the national running subculture. In November 2010, Lights was re-released as Bright Lights, with six new tracks added. It was originally announced that the lead single from Bright Lights would be the new edit of the title track with a release scheduled for 1 November 2010. This was ultimately scrapped to allow her cover of Elton John's "Your Song" to be released in conjunction with the John Lewis Christmas 2010 advertising campaign in the UK. The single became Goulding's second highest-charting single to date, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song also charted in some European countries in early 2011. In January 2011, it was announced that the title track from Lights would serve as the second single from Bright Lights.
Goulding toured in support of Lights and supported Passion Pit in March 2010 and Dave Matthews Band during his British tour in May 2010. During the summer she performed at a number of festivals. On 29 May she performed at the Dot to Dot Festival in Bristol. She performed a set on 25 June at the Glastonbury Festival 2010 on the John Peel Stage. Her third EP was a live recording of part of her set at the iTunes Festival 2010. The whole set was ultimately included as bonus content on the iTunes version of Bright Lights. She made her T in the Park debut on 11 July. In early 2011, she recorded an original song for the film Life in a Day. Goulding was placed at number five on Rolling Stone 's annual hot list in February 2011. In February 2011, she returned to the BRIT Awards where she was nominated for Best British Female and Best British Breakthrough Act, but lost out to Laura Marling and Tinie Tempah, respectively. Previously she had performed at the BRITs launch party where the nominations were announced. In August/September 2010, was an opening act for U2 on the U2 360 Tour in Zurich (two nights), Munich and Vienna. She also played live at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2011. Goulding made her American television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 7 April 2011 performing "Starry Eyed". She appeared as the musical guest on the 700th episode of the Saturday Night Live, broadcast 7 May 2011 and hosted by Tina Fey. She performed at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 singing her rendition of "Your Song" for the couple's first dance as well as her hits "The Writer" and "Starry Eyed" and several of William and Kate's personal favourites. She was introduced to Prince William by Tinie Tempah at Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2010.
Goulding collaborated with American electronic artist and producer Skrillex on a song titled "Summit", included on his 2011 EP Bangarang. She travelled with Skrillex on his South American tour and many other tours of his alike. Goulding headlined the 2011 Wakestock Festival in Wales, performing on 8 July. In August, she performed at V Festival for her second year in a row. Following the re-release of Lights and the American release of the album, Goulding said she would soon begin work on a second studio album with an expected release in September 2011. On 6 August 2011, Goulding performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Goulding performed at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert on 11 December 2011 in Oslo, Norway, where she also served on a panel discussion with Amy Lee of Evanescence and Janelle Monáe. On 1 December 2011, Goulding performed at the White House during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, alongside the likes of Big Time Rush and will.i.am. In February 2011, Goulding told the Daily Star that she had plans to release a follow-up to Lights sometime in 2011. On 19 September 2011, it was announced that Goulding would open for Katy Perry's California Dreams Tour, replacing Jessie J due to a foot injury.
2012–present: Halcyon and Halcyon DaysMain articles: Halcyon (album) and Halcyon Days (Ellie Goulding album)
In 2012, Goulding was featured on the song "Fall into the Sky" from Zedd's debut album Clarity and on Calvin Harris's song "I Need Your Love" which is included on Halcyon and also Harris's album 18 Months. On 10 July 2012, Goulding released a cover of Active Child's song "Hanging On", featuring Tinie Tempah, as a free download on her SoundCloud page. In late July 2012, it was announced that Goulding's second album is titled Halcyon and it would be released on 8 October 2012. The album was preceded by the lead single "Anything Could Happen" on 21 August. The lyric video for "Anything Could Happen" premiered on 9 August 2012, consisting of a series of fan-submitted Instagram pictures. On 19 November 2012, the music video for Goulding's second single from Halcyon, titled "Figure 8" was released. The single was released digitally in the UK on 12 December 2012. The song charted before it was released, and made its way into the Top 40 in the UK, peaking at number 33.
Goulding contributed a track titled "Bittersweet" (produced by Skrillex) to the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, released on 13 November 2012. It was announced on 12 February 2013 that in May 2013 she would be supporting Bruno Mars on his Moonshine Jungle World Tour on selected dates. On 20 May 2013, Goulding announced she would embark on a seven-date tour in the UK during October that year On 28 May 2013, Goulding's cover of Alt-J's song "Tessellate" was released via her SoundCloud page. Goulding has also been reported to have filmed a video for this track in Paris earlier that month. She claimed to be "making a video for a song that isn't on my record." In June 2013 Goulding performed at previous festivals and concerts including RockNess festival in Inverness, Capital FM Summertime Ball and Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware. On 2 July 2013, Goulding premiered a song titled "You My Everything" in the first episode of Skins Fire and that same day Goulding confirmed to Elle magazine that Halcyon would be re-released later that year.
On 5 July 2013, Digital Spy confirmed the release of Halcyon Days, a repackaged edition of Halcyon, which was released on 23 August 2013. The re-release, featuring ten additional tracks, was preceded by the single "Burn", which had been uploaded to Goulding's SoundCloud page the previous day. On 7 July 2013, the official music video for "Burn" premiered on Goulding's Vevo channel on YouTube. "Burn" became Goulding's first single to top the UK's Official Singles Chart. Ellie was performing at V Festival Chelmsford when news of her first UK number one broke; Rita Ora surprised Ellie with her Official Number 1 Award. On 9 September 2013, Goulding released a music video for "How Long Will I Love You" for the film About Time. Goulding appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with the track "Mirror". On 15 October 2013, Goulding confirmed on Fearne Cotton's radio show that "How Long Will I Love You" would be the next single for BBC's Children in Need. On the same day, the Active Child song "Silhouette", on which Goulding features, was also released. On 28 October 2013, Goulding posted an alternative video of "How Long Will I Love You" on her Vevo channel for the short film Tom & Issy, in which she also stars. On the final episode of The X Factor on 14 December, Goulding performed a duet with finalist Luke Friend.
On 5 January 2014, Goulding premiered the music video for her song "Goodness Gracious" on her Vevo channel, later confirming that it would be her sixth single released from Halcyon Days. On 22 January 2014, Goulding confirmed through her Facebook page that she had contributed the song "Beating Heart" to the soundtrack for the film Divergent, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. On 3 February 2014, Goulding released a cover of the James Blake song "Life Round Here" featuring rapper Angel Haze through her SoundCloud page. On 19 February 2014, Goulding won Best British Female Solo Artist at the Brit Awards.
On October 20th 2014, she stated via Facebook that she will appear in the new Calvin Harris album, Motion, with a new song called "Outside". The song was released as the album's fifth single on 20 October, 2014Cite error: The named reference hitquarters was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Ferguson, Paul (4 September 2009). "Herefordshire singer, Ellie Goulding, signs recording deal with Polydor". Hereford Times. Newsquest. Retrieved 8 January 2010. "Under the Sheets – EP by Ellie Goulding". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2 January 2010. "Later... with Jools Holland, Series 35, Episode 7". BBC. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2009. Leanne (28 September 2009). "Little Boots To Release New Single 'Earthquake'". Glasswerk National. Retrieved 1 October 2009. "Ellie Goulding". Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Retrieved 20 August 2010. "Wish I Stayed – Single of the Week by Ellie Goulding". iTunes Store. Retrieved 26 December 2009. Youngs, Ian (8 January 2010). "Ellie Goulding tops BBC Sound of 2010 music list". BBC News. Retrieved 8 January 2008. "Newcomer Ellie Goulding scoops Critics' Choice". The Independent (London). Press Association. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009. Smyth, David (15 January 2010). "Diana Vickers: proper bow". Popjustice. Retrieved 4 February 2010. "Lena Meyer-Landrut kriegt von Ellie Goulding Song geschenkt" (in German). Klatsch-Tratsch. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2011. "Ellie Goulding debut tops album chart". BBC News. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. "Ellie Goulding reveals debut album details – exclusive". NME. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2010. "Top 75 Artist Album, Week Ending 4 March 2010". Irish Recorded Music Association. Chart-Track. Retrieved 5 March 2010. Williams, Paul (15 June 2012). "Polydor celebrates as Goulding goes global". Music Week: 3. Retrieved 16 June 2012. (subscription required) Sabbagh, Dan (20 February 2011). "Music is thriving, but the business is dying. Who can make it pay again?". The Observer. Retrieved 23 February 2011. Goulding, Ellie (8 September 2010). "Excited to announce that m ...". Twitter. Retrieved 21 January 2011. "Ellie Goulding – Your Song". Swedish Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2011. "First Cherrytree Blog!". Cherrytree Records. 12 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011. "John Mayer Invites Ellie Goulding To Support Him on UK Tour". Gigwise. 12 April 2010. Youngs, Ian (7 January 2010). "BBC Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding". BBC News. Retrieved 6 March 2011. Sabbagh, Dan (29 May 2010). "Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol (29/05/10)". SouthSonic. Retrieved 23 February 2011. "BBC – Glastonbury Festival – Ellie Goulding". BBC. Retrieved 23 February 2011. "iTunes Festival: London 2010 – EP by Ellie Goulding". iTunes Store. Retrieved 22 January 2011. "Bright Lights by Ellie Goulding". iTunes Store. Retrieved 22 January 2011. "BBC – T in the Park Festival – Ellie Goulding". BBC Music. Retrieved 23 February 2011. "Ellie Featured in Rolling Stone Hot List". Facebook. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011. "Brit Awards 2011: Winners". BBC News. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012. Cite error: The named reference TelegraphObsessed was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Seidman, Robert (25 April 2011). ""Saturday Night Live (SNL)" Closes Out Season with Tina Fey/Ellie Goulding, Ed Helms/Paul Simon and Justin Timberlake/Lady Gaga". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved 25 April 2011. Cline, Georgette. "Ellie Goulding Shines 'Lights' on 'Saturday Night Live'". Spinner. Retrieved 9 January 2012. "Ellie Goulding Sang at Royal Wedding". MTV. 30 April 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011. "Ellie Goulding: 'Tinie Tempah hooked me up with Prince William'". NME. Retrieved 6 November 2012. "Skrillex is Dating Ellie Goulding | Music News". Rolling Stone. 15 February 2012. "Biffy Clyro, Wombats, Ellie Goulding to headline Wakestock festival". NME. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011. "Ellie To Play V Festival". elliegoulding.com. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. "Ellie Goulding interview with T4". YouTube. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011. Kaufman, Gil (7 August 2011). "Lollapalooza Day Two: Skylar Grey, Patrick Stump, Ellie Goulding Mix It Up". MTV News. Retrieved 9 January 2012. "Edgy Ellie: Starry Eyed singer Goulding trades her long blonde locks for a trendy half-shaved 'do". Daily Mail (London). 12 December 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2012. Roberts, Steven (29 November 2011). "Ellie Goulding Brings Lights To National Christmas Tree". MTV News. Retrieved 9 January 2012. Dawson, Kim (11 February 2011). "Ellie Goulding faces hell of a title fight". Daily Star. Retrieved 7 February 2012. Bain, Becky (19 September 2011). "Katy Perry Replaces Jessie J. With Ellie Goulding on California Dreams Tour". Idolator. Retrieved 7 February 2012. "Ellie Goulding to Join the California Dreams Tour in November". katyperry.com. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012. Bain, Becky (10 July 2012). "Ellie Goulding Covers Active Child's "Hanging On": Listen". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved 18 July 2012. "New Album HALCYON Out Oct 9". Interscope Records. 30 July 2012. Daw, Robbie (9 August 2012). "Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen": Watch The Lyric Video For Her New Single". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved 9 August 2012. Schillaci, Sophie A. (8 October 2012). "'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' Soundtrack to Feature Green Day, Ellie Goulding". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 November 2012. Carl Williott. "Bruno Mars Announces The Moonshine Jungle World Tour With Ellie Goulding | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on". Idolator.com. http://www.prettygooddigital.com (20 May 2013). "New Uk Dates". Ellie Goulding. (03:56) (28 May 2013). "Ellie Goulding – "Tessellate" (Alt-J Cover) [Premiere]". Earmilk.Com. 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McGrath, Rachel (28 October 2013). "Ellie Goulding Releases 'How Long Will I Love You' as BBC Children in Need Single". Entertainment Wise. Charalambous, Sophia (14 December 2013). "X Factor Final: Luke Friend leaves the show as Sam Bailey and Nicholas McDonald are left to battle it out to be crowned winner". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 15 December 2013. "Ellie Goulding Reveals Making Of Her Music Video For New Song 'Goodness Gracious' - Video". Capital FM. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. "Zedd and Ellie Goulding to appear on Divergent soundtrack". Mixmag. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Breihan, Tom (3 February 2014). "Ellie Goulding – “Life Round Here” (Feat. Angel Haze) (James Blake Cover)". Stereogum. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Mokoena, Tshepo (19 February 2014). "Ellie Goulding wins British female solo artist award at 2014 Brits". The Guardian. 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Artistry and Influences
"I think sometimes it sounds like my voice is like, out of control... I have to really control it because it just kind of goes everywhere. Like, sometimes stuff comes out that I don't expect. A lot, actually [...]. It's so funny because my favorite thing to do is imitate opera singers, but I've never had a singing lesson. Oh, I had a lesson just to teach me how to breathe better, but I never really had a singing lesson."—Goulding describing her voice in an interview with Carson Daly.
Goulding possesses the vocal range of a soprano and is noted for her high piercing vibrato, breathy tone and emotive delivery. In a review for Halcyon, Neil McComick of The Daily Telegraph described her voice as "something special", continuing; "Her tremulous vibrato and slightly hoarse timbre have the feel of something primal and folky, her birdlike high notes conveying a childlike wonder while darker tones imply ancient depths of sorrow. She sings like she is strung out on the melody, warbling from a place of desperate emotion. It really is that rarest and perhaps most accidental of gifts: an original voice". He then continued in regards to her vocal layering stating, "producer Jim Eliot puts her voice front, back and centre, banking up choral walls of vibrato, fashioning hooks from cut up samples of chirrups and chants, and creating unusual textures from trills and warbles". Will Hermes of Rolling Stone compared her voice to that of Dolly Parton, stating that her upper register was dazzling whilst also complimenting her skill in vocal multi layering. Megan Farokhmanesh of Paste magazine stated "Goulding has a lovely voice, but occasionally her soprano-strung vocals hit a note that rubs the eardrums the wrong way" although she praised Goulding overall for her "talent for gorgeous high heart-tugging vocals".Kanye West (left) and Björk (right) are both cited as some of Goulding's influences
Goulding's debut album Lights (2010) experimented with genres including indie pop, synthpop, folktronica and indietronica. The album contained "sparkling pop with a folky heart and an electronic edge" and was noted as being infectious. The album incorporated "acoustic guitar" and "retro-synthpop" compared to that of Little Boots and La Roux, while the production contained "folkie origins under a welter of busily cycling synths and programmed beats". Goulding's second album Halcyon followed in the same vein, including genres such as indie pop, synthpop and dream pop. She stepped away from the electronic sound of her previous album and moved to a more tribal and anthemic sound containing a bit more piano and vocal.
Goulding states that she is influenced by a wide range of genres from R&B, electronica, heavy metal, folk, hip hop, pop and classical. She listed Björk, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill as influences, as well as contemporaries such as Florence and the Machine, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, stating that she is "blown away" by them. She also expressed admiration for rappers Kanye West, Drake and Nicki Minaj. Goulding's musical style has been compared to that of Kate Nash, Lykke Li and Tracey Thorn.Carroll, Sarah (6 August 2012). "Ellie Goulding Talks Halcyon, Skrillex, & Success in the U.S. With Carson Daly". 97.1 AMP Radio. Retrieved 6 November 2012. Rosen, Jody (8 March 2011). "Lights". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 March 2011. Gage, Simon (5 October 2012). "CD Review: Ellie Goulding, Halcyon". Daily Express. Retrieved 13 October 2012. Jupp, Emily (27 September 2012). "Ellie Goulding, Roundhouse, London". The Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2012. Farokhmanesh, Megan (9 October 2012). "Ellie Goulding: Halcyon". Paste. Retrieved 13 October 2012. McCormick, Neil (26 February 2010). "Ellie Goulding: Lights, CD review". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 12 October 2012. Shriver, Jerry (9 October 2012). "Album of the week: Ellie Goulding's 'Halcyon'". USA Today. Retrieved 9 October 2012. McComick, Neil (5 October 2012). "Ellie Goulding, Halcyon, Pop CD review". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 12 October 2012. Hermes, Will (9 October 2012). "Halcyon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 October 2012. Pia, Camilla (26 February 2010). "Ellie Goulding – 'Lights' (Polydor)". The Fly. MAMA Group. Retrieved 3 March 2010. Gill, Andy (26 February 2010). "Album: Ellie Goulding, Lights (Polydor)". The Independent (London). Retrieved 26 February 2010. Montgomery, James (27 August 2012). "Ellie Goulding's 'Anything Could Happen' Video: Go Behind The Scenes Now!". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 5 September 2012. "Meet Brit Pop Star Ellie Goulding". Us Weekly. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2012. Lester, Paul (16 February 2009). "New band of the day – No 486: Ellie Goulding". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
Goulding is a keen runner, aiming to run six miles every day and in 2010 announced plans to run a marathon. In support of her second EP, Run into the Light, she invited a small number of fans through her Facebook pages to run with her in seven different cities on her UK tour, and has announced that she will be doing the same across Europe and the United States. Goulding ran the inaugural Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on 28 April 2013, earning a time of 1:41:35.
Goulding is close friends with American folk singer Lissie. The two toured the United Kingdom together in 2010. She is also good friends with New Zealand indie pop singer Lorde and American pop singer Katy Perry. Goulding dated Greg James from 2009 to 2011, and has admitted that the relationship inspired several songs on her second album Halcyon. She dated Skrillex in 2012, and in September 2013, Ed Sheeran stated that he briefly dated Goulding that summer. In May 2014, she confirmed that she is in a relationship with Dougie Poynter from the band McFly.Cite error: The named reference TelegraphObsessed was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference Running was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Hartzog, Deenie (28 April 2013). "Ellie Goulding Runs Nike Half Marathon, We All Want To Be Her". Styleite Media. Retrieved 10 May 2013. Interview, Uncensored (1 December 2011). "Ellie Goulding: Running with Nike". Uncensored Interview. Retrieved 1 October 2012. "Lissie Interview". PopCultureMadness. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Maddux, Rachael (5 January 2010). "Best of What's Next: Lissie". Paste. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Bronner, Sasha. "What Ellie Goulding Thinks of Lorde". Huffington Post. Flitsch, Byron (20 March 2014). "Katy Perry And Ellie Goulding Are Literally The Worst At Disguises". MTV. Retrieved 21 November 2014. "Ellie Goulding Splits With Radio 1 DJ Greg James". The Huffington Post. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Johnson, Zach (11 September 2013). "Ed Sheeran Says He Was Dating Ellie Goulding During the VMAs". E!. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Kaufman, Gil (30 October 2012). "Ellie Goulding And Skrillex Split". MTV. Retrieved 21 November 2014. "Ellie Goulding confirms Dougie Poynter romance". RTÉ.ie. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
In 2010, Goulding participated in the Bupa Great North Run for the British Heart Foundation. In 2011, Goulding ran the She Runs LA event for charity Students Run LA, which aims to increase access to sport for less privileged children across the Los Angeles Unified School District.
In 2012, she partnered with Pandora Radio; one dollar for each sale of her mixtape was donated to the Free the Children charity.
On 1 June 2013, Goulding performed at Gucci's global concert event in London whose campaign "Chime for Change" aims to raise awareness of women's issues in terms of education, health and justice."Ellie Goulding puts heart into Great North Run". British Heart Foundation. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2013. Smith, Sarah (21 April 2011). "SEE PICS: Ellie Goulding jogs for charity in LA". InStyle. Retrieved 22 April 2013. Goulding, Ellie (29 November 2012). "Add my mixtape to your playlist". Twitter. Retrieved 22 April 2013. "Ellie Partners with Pandora for Free The Children". 30 November 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013. Talarico, Brittany (17 April 2013). "Katy Perry, Blake Lively Join Beyoncé and Gucci to Empower Women". People. Retrieved 22 April 2013.