Page last updated at 23:59 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

BBC Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding


Ellie takes us to her favourite park to discuss music and jogging

Singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding has come out on top of the BBC Sound of 2010 list, which aims to highlight the most exciting emerging artists for the coming 12 months.

Goulding was studying drama at university when she struck upon the style that has made her the most hotly-tipped new artist on the music scene.

Armed only with an acoustic guitar, she was struggling to find her voice. But after being introduced to a futuristic dance scene by a flatmate, she combined the two styles to create songs that are delicate and personal while also being cutting-edge and club-friendly.

If Kate Bush, Bjork and Stevie Nicks shared a flat in trendy Shoreditch in 2010, this noise would emerge.

Ellie Goulding
Goulding is managed by the son of Kirsty MacColl and producer Steve Lilywhite

But she is no wild and eccentric pop star. Raised in Herefordshire, she is as down-to-earth as they come. Rather than drink or drugs, her addiction of choice is jogging and she says the worst thing about becoming popular is that she cannot go for a run every day.

She also talks with deep concern about dogs fouling in the park, cars failing to stop at zebra crossings and people pushing on the Tube. She is a very nice girl.

Goulding dropped out of university to move to London and pursue music, but not before winning an award for "person most likely to have their name in lights".

"Nobody really knew I was a singer at that point so I don't really know why I was given that," she says. "But it is interesting."

What was the eureka moment when you went from acoustic singer-songwriter to electro queen?

I'd got back from lectures and had probably been to the gym and would instantly play the guitar in my bedroom. All of a sudden I heard this drum 'n' bass coming from my friend's room and it sounded amazing and so new. I'd heard nothing like it.

Watch the music video for Ellie Goulding's single Under the Sheets

It was Frankmusik and I immediately looked up his MySpace and asked him to work on one of my songs, not expecting him to answer. But he replied within about five minutes. The next week, I went round to his house and ended up staying for a week and recorded a couple of songs.

It was like my songs had come alive. He made me realise that they could be something much more exciting and much more sparkly and pretty.

Was the album really recorded in your producer's bedroom in his mum's house? [The producer is Ellie's friend Fin Dow-Smith, aka Starsmith.]

Yes. His windows are painted shut so in the summer it's horrendous. His mum's got about eight cats and they do tend to wee a lot in the house.

I sit on Fin's bed while he's at the computer. I'll have my guitar and come up with a few ideas, and he'll come up with a few ideas, and by the end of the day we'll end up with quite a good song. And if we're not happy with it we'll scrap it.

What are your songs about?

Everything - I sing often about love and heartbreak, not just my own but other peoples' stories. I'm fascinated by tales. Also, like in Guns & Horses, I talk about something modern which is someone being at a computer all the time. So I take on traditional subjects and also dark things like how technology can ruin things and the emptiness of some relationships.

Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding is supporting dream-pop band Passion Pit in the UK in March

What's your first musical memory?

I used to go to this clarinet band camp once a year. We drove back across the Malverns and listened to pure dance tunes the whole way. I remember singing along in the back to every single song. I've kept those songs because they're my earliest memories of listening to amazing dance music.

Which songs?

There was one that was called Hideaway or something. [Ellie sings De'Lacy's 1995 hit Hideaway.] Then there's Simply Red's Fairground as well. [She then sings Keep on Jumpin' by the Lisa Marie Experience.] I played in an orchestra at the band camp so it was a complete contrast but it was good fun.

So you were a little raver?

Yes, I was and I was singing along to every single one. I was maybe 10.

I've also read that you're friends with artists like Burial and Laura Marling…

There's quite a big group of us actually and we often socialise at my manager's house in Ealing. So I know Marina [and the Diamonds] and Laura and Mumford & Sons. There's a lot of musical people in our group.

Marina came second on the Sound of 2010 list - are you good friends?

We're pretty good friends. We often get grouped together because we're doing the same kind of thing at the same time but we're very different. We go out for dinner every so often. It's nice to talk to someone who's in a similar position to you because it can be quite lonely.

I sing a lot about missing home and I think I'm much more of a martyr - I'm much more apologetic or something, and Marina is a lot more brash and bolshy, but in a good way.

Did you ever consider a career in athletics?

Definitely. I did consider quitting my course and becoming a fitness instructor because it would give me an excuse to do training every day. I used to compete in cross country. It wasn't a big deal but I was quite competitive. I always remember coming second or third, never first.

Ellie Goulding was talking to BBC News music reporter Ian Youngs.

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