By Nicole Crosbie, CBS Minnesota
The past two years of British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding’s career have been life-changing. From playing at the Royal Wedding reception for Prince William and Duchess Catherine (Goulding is one of their favorite artists), to performing at Hammersmith Apollo (one of London’s most famous venues), to singing with John Mayer at Wembley Arena, Goulding has experienced a whirlwind of excitement.
The humble musician said that she has been very lucky and she is grateful for these opportunities. Singing at the Royal Wedding reception was a highlight for Goulding, who described the night as “unforgettable” and “one of the best nights of her life.” While performing was a great honor, she said that she was just happy to play for individuals who enjoy her music.
“They’re [Prince William and Duchess Catherine] amazing people and they happen to be fans,” Goulding said. “I think to a lot of people it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s a huge thing!’ But I just saw it as someone choosing some of their favorite music to play.”
Goulding’s debut album, Lights, shot to the top of the charts in the U.K. and she was awarded them2010 Critics’ Choice trophy at the BRIT Awards, an honor previously awarded to Adele and Florence + The Machine. Her fan base in the United States quickly grew and tickets for her 2011 North American tour sold out in minutes.
The Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis hosted Goulding’s ninth stop on her tour Thursday night and people were lined up outside the venue hours prior to the concert. Fans rushed inside to claim their spot near the stage, eager to be as close as possible to Goulding. The singer instantly won over the audience with her mix of emotional and upbeat tracks.
“I have a lot of fun performing and I really lose myself in the moment,” Goulding said. “I’m very energetic and I remember the emotion that I felt when I wrote each song as I sing. I just have a really good time.”
Performing for crowds of adoring fans and spending time with an elite music crowd (British rapper Tinie Tempah and Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons are two of many) may be everyday occurrences for Goulding now, but she grew up leading a very simple life. Growing up in Hereford, a city in England near the Welsh border, Goulding said that there was little to do to occupy her time.
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so it was more likely that we were either frolicking around in the countryside or we were watching videos or we were listening to music,” Goulding said. “I suppose that kind of limitation of what I could do in the countryside meant that things [like music] had more of an importance.”
Money was tight growing up and Goulding couldn’t afford music lessons, so she learned to sing by listening to the radio. She taught herself to play guitar and was soon writing her own songs. Goulding hopes that her modest upbringing will show others that they can accomplish great things.
“I’d like to think that it inspires people who are in the same position as me. I know it sounds cheesy, but follow your dreams because you can do it,” Goulding said. “It’s easy for me say because I’m here, but I know that at the time I was trying to succeed, I just had a positive attitude and I just worked, worked, worked, and wrote. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen and everything happens for a reason, but I just think it was meant to be with me and music. I just hope that I inspire other people to feel like they can do the same.”
Goulding’s candid talk about her life has allowed fans to relate to her. Her lyrics share the ups and downs of love, from the joy of finding that perfect someone to the heartache of breaking up. Writing has been therapeutic for Goulding, as her previous relationships have played a role in her songs.
“It’s one of those annoying things where I write better when I’m kind of a bit down-in-the-dumps anyway,” Goulding said. “It’s obviously a very emotional thing to get your heart broken. I feel like I used to experience it a lot more than I do now. I have a boyfriend now and things are kind of OK, but I think that when I was writing, boys didn’t like me.”
Her rise to fame has been rewarding and even with all of her success, Goulding remains grounded. A chart topping record, sold out shows and famous friends haven’t changed the singer.
“I’m just myself. I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone else because I’m not,” Goulding said. “I do the same things that I did before. I can’t bear the thought of people feeling like they have to behave a certain way-it’s just very bizarre. I just am very much myself and treat others the way I would want to be treated. I believe in karma, so I don’t want to do something very bad and have it come back around.”
With her successful American tour coming to an end this month, Goulding is eager to start working on her next record.
“I feel very lucky,” Goulding said. “The most exciting thing is that there’s so much more to come.”