dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ellie Goulding: The Chart Rigger Interview

After racking up four hit singles in the UK last year—including the smashes "Starry Eyed" and "Your Song"—24-year-old Ellie Goulding, recipient of the 2010 BRITs Critics' Choice Award, finally saw her debut LP Lights get a U.S. release this week. I nabbed a copy of the dreamy set of pop jams on import last spring and its been in heavy rotation on the stereo D'luv ever since.

And so the London chanteuse set aside her guns and horses long enough to chat with me about her upcoming North American tour and her early ideas for her follow-up album to Lights. Head below to read the Chart Rigger interview with Ellie Goulding!

Lights is finally out in the States. Are you excited?
ELLIE GOULDING: I really am!

When you were recording the album, did you ever imagine it would at some point be released all over the world?
EG: I didn't really think about it that much. When the album came out [in the UK], the only thing I could about was that I'd made an album and it was really amazing that I managed to achieve something like that. It really didn't cross my mind until my manager said, we're going to do some shows over in the States. And then it kind of became more of a possibility. The reaction from [last year's] L.A. show and New York show was so immense that I feel like I can come over there and do some more shows.

Did you have any nervousness about doing those initial shows in the States?
EG: I was actually feeling okay about them because I had been told that American audiences are just so different—like, so much more enthusiastic and positive and smiley and cheery. And actually it was true. It's just different [in the UK]. People don't really express their emotions much, unfortunately. I went to see a band recently, and they're quite big, and they kept having to get people to cheer. I don't know, it's just not like that in the States. So I'm really just hoping that—even to boost my own confidence—if people end up liking it, they'll cheer. That will be good enough for me. [Laughs]

Will there be a supporting act on your upcoming spring tour across North America?
EG: I don't know. I think there are going to be different support acts. I know that I'm playing with The Knocks in New York, but that's about it, actually.

Two noticeable differences on the U.S. version of Lights—the absence of "I'll Hold Your Breath" and "Wish I'd Stayed." Was it tough to lose those?
EG: It was kind of tough, but it was my decision. I feel like I've grown out of them slightly because I wrote them so long ago. "Wish I'd Stayed" will always be very special to me because that was one of the very first songs I wrote, when I was just really free-writing. I just prefer "Animal" and "Human." They're an example of how I've progressed. And the reason I kept them for the repackage and not the [next] album is because I think I'm going to progress even more. But those other two songs, I kind of felt like they were holding me back a bit and I wanted to have a fresh start in America, and be happy with the tracks.

"The Writer" is probably my favorite song of yours. What was the inspiration for that song?
EG: "The Writer" was particularly emotional because I was feeling really down about someone. I really liked this person, who's a musician, and he just basically told me one day out of the blue that he didn't want to see me anymore. I was like, Noooo! I was paralyzed with being heartbroken, and I wrote that song.

Did Elton John's wig fly up and hit the ceiling fan when he heard your cover of "Your Song"?
EG: He said that it's good to see such a calibre of artists coming through at the moment, and that I was one of them. So he was just really complimentary. Really good vibes from Sir Elton John. [Laughs]

You recently spent time in the Irish countryside working on your next album. How did that go?
EG: Oh, it was so good! I just spent a lot of time reflecting and being by myself. It actually sounds funny, but I just haven't done that much lately. I took time to read books and watch films. I read poetry and played my guitar—did stuff that I would do if I wasn't surrounded by distraction in London. And I ran every day, too, so I was really energized.

Will you be enlisting Starsmith again to produce the next record?
EG: I don't know. Maybe. I haven't really decided yet. It's possible, but I think I want to expand and go to other people and see what happens.

Who would you love to work with?
EG: I'd quite like to work with Paul Epworth. I mean, he's kind of an obvious choice but he's done so much good stuff it would be ridiculous to not just try something out if he wants to. There are also these people I want to collaborate with like Kanye and Drake—really, really talented producers and rappers. I don't know why! I'm really drawn to Drake and I love his record. But also, Patti Smith, randomly, because I read her book recently and kind of fell in love with her a bit.

Ellie's album Lights is on sale for $7.99 at both the iTunes and Amazon MP3 stores.

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