British chanteuse Ellie Goulding is riding high. She’s had a No. 1 album in her native Britain and is set to make her biggest U.S. television appearance ever this weekend on “Saturday Night Live.” But even with “SNL” host Tina Fey on board, it might be a little tough to top AccessHollywood.com’s newest Rising Star’s rather Royal gig last week.
“We did like quite a big set… and it was just like a kind of a gig really — forgetting who it was for,” the powerfully-piped Ellie told Access Hollywood of performing for Prince William and his bride, Catherine, the new Duchess of Cambridge, at the Royal Wedding reception, last Friday night. “We did some covers and we did some original material and just had a really amazing time. Me and my band just keep sort of talking, going, ‘Did we really do that? Really?’ I kind of feel like there are so many singers out there, so I’m in a happy place because of it.”
Plenty of singers, yes, but not many of them with Ellie’s diversity and crossover power.
“When I was younger, I was really just into pop music… [I was] obsessed with [the] Spice Girls, Take That, so I got a real pop sensibility… And as I was getting older, through my teenage years, I became a bit kind of angst-y and I started listening to grunge bands. So, my voice can be quite scratchy and sort of powerful and that kind of comes from listening to those kinds of bands, like Pearl Jam,” Ellie explained of her trademark voice. “Then I discovered kind of female vocalists – Imogen Heap, Bjork, Ani DeFranco… Then, when I got to [college], I discovered electronic music. … that’s when I really started writing and when I really found who I was.”
Who the Midlands, England, bred-singer is, can be found on her debut album, “Lights,” which was released stateside in March. The effort is as diverse as her influences. The title-track is a bass-led pop driver; “Guns and Horses,” which features her soulful vocals atop sparkling production; “Starry Eyed,” a hit single in her native UK, features a heavy dance influence; and “Your Song” is her delicate and touching take on the Elton John classic, which she performed for Wills and Kate.
“Your Song” actually became a No. 1 hit in the UK after Ellie and Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons recorded it for a Christmas commercial for the British department store John Lewis.
“When it began, I did it for an advert so it wasn’t a big deal,” Ellie explained. “We just went into a studio and just kind of recorded it and hoped for the best and we didn’t expect it to even chart, so the success it had in the UK was just really remarkable. We didn’t expect it at all.”
Ellie’s UK success has already helped give her a leg up in America, where she is currently touring “Lights.”
“Over here, fans have been amazing. I couldn’t be more grateful,” she told Access. “I didn’t know what to expect… It was a sold out tour, but they’re so passionate and dedicated and they bring me stuff. I’ve been meeting fans afterward and signing things and they’re always so lovely.”
Things these days are on a high for Ellie, and while her days of being a struggling artist are behind her, she has her memories of the day her album hit the top spot in her native Britain.
“I was driving back from a gig in Glasgow and we were driving through the Lake District… We didn’t party or anything. I should’ve done, I realized,” she laughed. “When I found out, I was kind of reflective and just staring out the window and kind of thinking about everything and it was a really great moment for me. Like something I could just have forever.”