Ellie Goulding’s 20s are a blur. ET’s Denny Directo spoke to the 33-year-old British singer via Zoom, and she discussed the decade that led her to take five years off of music.
“The past five years have been really poignant in my life. I spent my 20s pretty much in mad chaos. I don’t remember much of it. I think I blurred a lot of it out,” she admitted. “I’ve been around the world a few times. I played so many shows. I’ve been to cities I can’t even remember. I can’t even think of all the countries I’ve been to at this point. I was on a constant roll. I was taking it for granted because I assumed it would just be my cycle forever, touring.”
After her Delirium World Tour ended in 2017, though, the “Lights” singer “went through quite a few changes” that led her to take “a bunch of time off.”
“I parted ways with my management, I moved to New York. I went through quite a few changes,” she recalled. “So I really decided to take a bunch of time off. I needed it. I needed to reflect on everything. I needed to figure out who I was without all that stuff in the background, touring and madness and celebrity-ness and all that stuff. I had to become a human that wasn’t just a touring robot.”
Those changes included spending a lot of time on her own, which led her to reflect on herself and her life.
“I spent a bunch of time by myself in New York. I would go for lots of walks. I got to know a few people, but not really. I just spent a lot of time by myself,” she said. “That really made me question things and question my independence and how little I had of it. I wanted to become this strong, empowered female.”
That time alone ended up preparing her for quarantine, which she’s been spending with her husband, Casper Jopling. The pair tied the last year, and, though Goulding admitted that lock down was a “slightly unusual” way to spend their first year of marriage, she noted that they learned a lot about each other.
“It showed me that we’re a good team. We’ve got on really well together. We’re a good partnership. We’re both really into nature and we both grew up in the countryside, so that definitely helped,” she said. “But he really appreciates this newfound aloneness that I like. It’s not being lonely, it’s just being alone and having solitude. I really enjoy it.”
“I spend so much time alone that actually it’s scary. It stops me from having any social skills whatsoever… I’m spending too much time by myself, but I feel like it’s pushing me towards the next creative well that I’m going to put myself in,” she continued. “… I’m working on myself quite a lot and I’m enjoying it.”
“… Now I’m feeling very creative, I’m feeling ready to move on to… new music all the time. I think it’ll be in the same kind of world, I haven’t moved on too much with sound, but there’s definitely more things I want to explore,” Goulding added. “There’s definitely songs I’ve written in the past few years that I want to keep working on. So we’ll see. I’m just gonna keep making stuff. Why not?”
Before she moves on to other creative pursuits, though, Goulding is focused on her latest album, Brightest Blue, which she released last month.
“Obviously the world has gone through quite extreme changes the past few years in so many ways, and it feels like this album was kind of well timed because I think that feeling of not needing someone is really powerful,” she said. “It’s like a revelation. I thought that’s why Brightest Blue was so important to release… Everyone said, ‘It’s lock down, it’s a weird time, let’s not release music right now. Let’s wait until fall.’ I was like, ‘I just want to put it out there.'”
While Goulding said that the experience of releasing an album amid COVID-19 has been “kind of underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time,” she’s glad it’s finally out in the world.
“Usually around the album I’ll be touring and I’ll be doing shows and it’ll be non-stop. But obviously I’m not doing that at the moment… But also obviously it was nice to have the reaction I’ve had considering everything,” she said. “Everyone’s mind is elsewhere rightfully so, and there’s so much going on in people’s lives. So it’s nice that people have still been able to take the time to listen to the album and focus on other things. It’s been a strange time.”
“… I am getting lots of messages of support and people liking individual tracks,” she added. “I’m just lucky that I got to release an album. I’m just so glad I got to put it out.”
Since touring isn’t an option right now, Goulding has come up with a new way to promote her latest album. On Thursday, Aug. 26, the singer, with the help of LiveNow, will put on a one-off performance from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
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ENTER THE BRIGHTEST BLUE 💙 Join me for THE BRIGHTEST BLUE EXPERIENCE streamed LIVE from London's V&A Museum with a full live band & special guests to be announced next week. Don't forget, this is a ONE-OFF LIVE EVENT that will not be repeated. Tickets are available from the link in my bio x
“It’s a very new thing. My whole team has worked so hard to make it work and to try and work with as little people as possible. That’s kind of the rules at the V&A Museum,” she said. “It’s so beautiful there, but some of the stuff can be filmed, some of it can’t. And then we’re trying to do as much trickery as we can with lighting and set design. There’s only so much we can do.”
While Goulding said that it’s not “going to be as great as a live performance,” she also acknowledged that this type of performing may be something artists have to get used to.
“If touring doesn’t happen next year it will be the only chance to see the songs being performed live,” she said. “I think I’m just anxious because I genuinely don’t know what it’s going to be like. I’ve never done a timed performance knowing that people are watching live, but they’re in their room.”
“It might be something that I have to get used to. It might be what we have to do in the future,” she continued. “I think I’ve got a good team in that we’re open to change, we’re open to having to be innovative and adaptive in the times. But I really hope touring resumes next year. I really do. Because I miss live music myself. If it doesn’t for whatever reason move ahead, then we’re going to have to start thinking of new ways for people to watch music.”
You can purchase tickets to LiveNow’s Ellie Goulding: The Brightest Blue Experiencehere.
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