‘I’m just tired of being cynical’… As she embarks on a world tour, Marylebone local Ellie Goulding reflects on where she is in life right now
WORDS Ken Summit
So Ellie, you have called your new album Delirium. When was the last time you were in delirium?
I feel like I might be in it right now. It’s more of a regular thing for me. It’s just a word that seems fit for my life. My life is pretty crazy at the moment. So it can be surprised as a state of happiness, you know, deliriously happy, deliriously crazy, sad… I don’t know, it just kind of sums up the album.
The album sounds really huge, like almost every song on there could be a number one hit, like On My Mind. Was that the aim when you were making this?
I wanted to explore being a pop artist a bit more. I think my obsession with pop is those songs that you can imagine on a film or on a soundtrack. I think most people remember their films through music and through the soundtrack, and I loved the idea of making songs where each one has its own powerful meaning. Like even if I think of a song now, like Holding On For Life, it’s about being in that kind of final passionate fear of losing each other.
But then like Codes is about the early stages of a relationship where you just want that person to communicate with you properly because so many people go through that situation not knowing what the other person is thinking. You can’t read someone’s mind. And so it goes from everything from seemingly quite trivial human things to quite serious ones. I still managed to encapsulate all of that on this record but still be a pop artist and take it to the next level.
Do you think that guys usually do talk in codes?
I think people talk in codes – it’s a coping mechanism. Sometimes we all find it hard to be completely honest with ourselves and with other people and it’s kind of about that.
Is it sometimes hard to be genuine in the music industry, which can be quite superficial?
Yes I think so, but I’d say that there’s a superficiality to some of the songs on my album that is almost like I’m completely aware of it and it’s still a very clever type of pop music. There are so many songs that we all love and so many songs that have got us through our teenage years, have got us through being younger, the Spice Girls and boybands and girlbands and pop artists, those songs are the ones that stayed in my head and the ones that give me joy were often superficial and often didn’t have that deeper meaning – and that’s great. I am so grateful that those songs exist and I’d say there is a superficiality that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
So you were a Spice Girls fan?
Oh yes [laughs]! I adored the Spice Girls. I think I remember Posh Spice being my favourite.
Do you two know each other?
We are acquainted. She’s been very good to me. She’s let me wear some of her beautiful dresses and I think she’s an incredibly talented, lovely person. In terms of having family and a career she’s a perfect role model for that. I want to be able to have a family some day and she’s definitely one person to look up to.
Is Delirium your least cynical album when it comes to relationships?
I think so. I think that I’m just tired of being cynical, I’m tired of being apprehensive about things, about love. My last two albums show a lot of vulnerability. I wanted this album to show the stronger side of me and the happier side, and just my way of making pop songs, I guess, with a bigger sound.
Finally, do you get much time to have a normal life rather than Ellie the pop star?
Totally. There’s some stages in the promotion cycle or the album cycle where it just gets so crazy that it’s sometimes hard to feel like a human. But at the moment I do. There are certain things that happen in your life that remind you that you are like flesh and bones and, yes, I feel pretty grounded at the moment.