THERE are two contrasting sides of Ellie Goulding represented on her new album Brightest Blue.
While the first half reflects her vulnerability, the second shows off her confidence.
Ellie Goulding unveils two contrasting sides to her personality in her new album
Goulding, 33, explains: “I am in a good place today but it could have easily gone the other way as I spent my entire 20s being in the spotlight, which was tough.
“I had to pretend to be confident when I was shy and feeling vulnerable and when the last thing I wanted to do was go on stage. I had to fake it.”
The album titled Brightest Blue reflects her vulnerability all while showing off her confidence
In the second part of our exclusive interview from her home in Oxford — where she has been isolating with art dealer husband Caspar Jopling, 28 — Goulding is reflecting on the time she spent writing Brightest Blue, her fourth studio album, and how it has helped her come to terms with a #MeToo incident that happened when she was starting out.
Goulding, who found fame after winning the Critics’ Choice award at the 2010 Brits, says: “A photographer started to say inappropriate things and was focused on my body and face and I thought it didn’t seem right to me.
“I was upset with the way he was acting towards me. I was too scared to say anything but on the way home to Hereford I knew it was wrong.
“I didn’t know if I could do another photoshoot and deal with men saying s**t to me like that.”
Ellie, who has been isolating with art dealer husband Caspar Jopling, says ‘I am in a good place today but it could have easily gone the other way’
‘I’m so grateful for #MeToo movement’
“That was when my anxiety began. I had anxiety attacks where I couldn’t leave the house and I didn’t feel I fitted in anywhere. I guess it goes back to school where you just want to be part of that cool gang and you are not.
“Getting to where I am now is something I’ve thought about a lot in the past two years. I’ve gained confidence through all my experiences and I’ve come out of it with a new respect for myself and strength in my independence and the fact I’ve gone through a lot.”
That incident is something that has played on Goulding’s mind for years, and it is only now she has been able to process it. In lockdown, just a few days before our chat, she wrote an essay about her experience and how it affected her for a long time.
She says: “I’ve thought about it a lot. Because I feel like when I first asked if I was affected, I said no because I was too scared even then to admit that I definitely had been.
Goulding says the #MeToo incident that happened when she was starting out shaped her strength despite only being able to start processing it now
“There are definitely things at the beginning of my career that would absolutely be no way acceptable right now. I think the #MeToo movement has been a huge part of that and I am so grateful for it.
“The movement drew a lot of attention to the fact that there were a lot of things happening in the acting industry and also in the music industry.”
Describing her album, Goulding says Brightest Blue “is my observations of relationships, heartbreak, love and human behaviour”. She adds that songwriting has been her therapy and helped her cope with her anxieties.
She says: “I think I just have to realise that anxiety will still be there but I can deal with it in certain ways.
Ellie says she has the chance to turn ‘to music in difficult times’ and to have a place where she can express her thoughts
“I am lucky that I can go to music in difficult times and have that place where I can write down my thoughts. It’s the same with listening to music. When I listen to pop music or to my favourite playlists, I feel uplifted.
“That is the power of music and that is what has got me through all the ups and downs. And I have a new confidence and respect for myself and a strength in my independence — the fact that I’ve gone through a lot and still come out the other side OK.
“I am in a good place now but it could have easily gone the other way. It’s a lot for one young person to take on. It’s really important for me to keep talking about it because of the world of Instagram and people creating these false realities.”
Releasing her first album in five years, Brit and Grammy-winner Goulding says she has had time to reflect on what she has achieved both musically and as a person.
‘I have a side of me that relies on control’
The gorgeous blonde’s new album features a stunning ballad ‘Woman’ where she writes about becoming a woman
One standout track is the stunning ballad Woman. She says of it: “I wanted to write about becoming a woman and the fact that I’d finally come to terms with it and I am not in my 20s any more.
“I felt like I was stuck in this chaos of not really knowing who I was. I wanted to write a song to explain how I got to where I was.” The lyrics include the line, “I faced my fears ’til I made it here”.
And Goulding adds: “It has taken years of unravelling that and having the time to really reflect on things, confront them and then let them go, which is a mindful practice I’ve managed to get into.
“I have this side of me that relies on control, that makes sure I exercise every day or do yoga, jog, dance or go for a long walk — as long as I am moving my body. That to me is the controlling part of my life or where I am super healthy and I eat well and take supplements.
The singer explains she has a side of her ‘that relies on control’ , but she has to lose it when songwriting in order to ‘let it all pour out’
“Then, because I have to lose that control when I’m songwriting, I’m constantly having to toggle between the two and I have to be loose and let it all pour out, then going back to being in control, focused, out on a run where I am in a completely different mindset.”
Brightest Blue, which she also executively produced, alongside Joe Kearns, is a dynamic album that shows off the many sides to Goulding’s music. There are 18 tracks of emotive songs and pop delights that demonstrate why she has been at the top of her game since she topped the album charts with her debut Lights a decade ago.
Highlights include the title track, power ballad Power, the anthemic Love I’m Given and Flux, “a track about how your life could have been different if you had ended up with the wrong person and you had been living as liars”.
She says: “I didn’t want my album to sound like anything else and there’s a lot more soul to this album and I think that is a combination of personal growth and always evolving. Pop music is very different here and in the US, and I fit into both.
The second side of Brightest Blue, titled EG.0 contains more upbeat pop bangers.
It also sees Goulding collaborate with blackbear on Worry About Me; Diplo and Swae Lee on Close To Me; Lauv on Slow Grenade; and the late Juice WRLD on Hate Me.
“It was so sad,” she says about the passing of American rapper Juice WRLD, who died after an accidental overdose of powerful painkillers in December.
“It was just something no one expected and was so out of the blue and heartbreaking.
‘It was a period of real self-discovery’
Ellie’s new album is titled after an art exhibition by ‘Doug Wheeler and it was this bright blue room’
“But I’d been a fan of his since I first heard him on the radio singing Lucid Dreams. I thought he had something really special and he did have something really special and had a lot more to give.”
Album title Brightest Blue came from Goulding’s time in New York where she became immersed in the art world there.
She says: “I’d visited an exhibition by this guy called Doug Wheeler and it was this bright blue room.
“I was homesick at the time and my identity was tied up with touring and music but I wasn’t on the road and in one place. So it was a period of real self-discovery, so when I saw this blue, I had this feeling of happiness.”
Goulding says putting this album out now comes with a lot of nerves but that is the right time for it. She says: “Any earlier wouldn’t have been right and any later would have been completely ridiculous.
“The past five years have been really crucial for my mental health and have got me to where I am now.
“I am in a pretty chilled place and I’m ready to enjoy it.”
- Brightest Blue is out today