Seeing the Lights

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Garbed in a fitting floral dress, Ellie Goulding saunters into a room full of eager reporters and gazes at them with a soft, dazed look. “Hello,” she whispers shyly with a girly British twang, and begins the press conference, held on the afternoon of June 13 right before her concert at the Star Theatre.

You can sense the collective meltdown experienced by all the male reporters, including this writer. Ellie had me at hello.

A Beating Heart

Elena Jane Goulding, or Ellie for short, released her debut studio album Lights in 2010 to much critical acclaim and commercial success. The English singer-songwriter clinched the “Critics’ Choice Award” at the Brit Awards and topped the prestigious BBC‘s “Sound of…” poll.. Lights also secured the number 1 spot on UK’s albums chart and sold nearly a million copies in the UK.

Known for her raspy vocals with a soothing texture, Goulding had the opportunity to sing in Buckingham Palace for the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  

Besides her unique blend of indie and electronic pop music, Goulding is also known for her great physique and dazzling appearance. The fair-skinned singer with blonde locks, however,  feels otherwise.

“I didn’t think becoming a musician came with having to look a certain way, or being pretty or wearing designer clothes,” the Brit award winner explains in a skeptical tone.

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And to dramatize her statement of intent, Goulding quickly hides her face under her perfectly gold curls. “I love having long hair because it covers my face and I find it easier to do photo shoots,” enthuses the quirky twentysomething from a small village in Herefordshire, England.

The 27-year-old singer had such major insecurity problems that she crawled underneath a table at a press conference 3 years ago and left instantly. In the same mock horrified tone, Goulding ironically describes press conferences and photo shoots as “daunting”.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine in January 2014, Goulding mentioned that she had once been tortured by the constant thought of being “fat”. Adding to her lack of confidence in her weight, she also lamented about her “big nose”. Such thoughts mangled her emotions to a detrimental effect.

Still Hanging On

Since her breakthrough in 2010, the singer who’s active on social media (@elliegoulding on Instagram) has had a change of attitude towards life and the vagaries of fame. She philosophizes: “I think people take for granted what attitude you have towards yourself and not caring what people think.”

But how did she get over her insecurities in a matter of years?

“Now I’ve finally got to a place where I don’t focus on those things. I feel like I’m not changing for anyone; I’m doing it all for myself,” revealed Goulding in Cosmopolitan.

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She went on to tell a story about her past relationship with an undisclosed name, and how she had fallen madly in love to the point where her entire lifestyle and physical appearance had been altered just to suit the other half’s needs. Thinking back several years later, Goulding realized the absurdity of the relationship and how she had been treated “horrendously” that she didn’t have the courage to help herself.

The singer, upon enlightenment, decided she needed an overhaul of her life, beliefs and esteem. She explained that beauty and physical appearance isn’t everything to a person’s worth, “I feel strong in more ways than one at the moment.”

The superstar pulls her head from the clouds and “humanizes” herself by admitting to be imperfect and having her vices as well. “I drink, smoke and do normal things too, which I’m not proud of,” says Goulding.

How To Be Good

In fact, the issue of beauty all of a sudden becomes trivial. Goulding emphasizes there are more important matters happening in the world, and her action clearly reflects her credo where she often volunteers in Kenya.

But somewhere closer to her native home in London, she describes how a recent case of spikes were placed in the streets to stop homeless people from sleeping. “It’s horrendous!” she gasps. The humanitarian side of the pop artist slowly starts to reveal itself. “I’ll go back to London and pull them out myself if I have to. It’s just the worst thing I’ve heard,” she said with a tinge of anger.

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Anything Could Happen

After touring the world in the past 2 years following the release of her sophomore album Halcyon Days in October 2012, Goulding has barely caught her breath and is already in the midst of planning and writing her next album.

“Musical experimentation is key to everything,” she explains, while talking about her songwriting process. It’s anyone’s guess how the electro-goddess’ next album might sound like. Will it have danceable vocal samples like the hit “Starry Eyed”, or a more emotional tone like “Burn”?

“Well, it might get weird,” Ellie grins and ends the press conference, leaving everyone in the room thinking that anything could happen.

Photos courtesy of Klix Photography

About Daniel Chan

Mesmerized by light, textures, and vast amount of colors found in the world, Dan’s eyes are usually glued to the viewfinder of his Minolta X-700, snapping away at everything he finds interesting. If he's caught glued to his MacBook screen, he's probably engrossed in another Derek Cianfrance film. After a long day, he relaxes to the soothing tunes of Bombay Bicycle Club. When he’s not on UrbanWire, he can be found deep in the industrial estates of Khaki Bukit in Snakeweed Studios recording Xingfoo&Roy’s latest single. This is the part where Dan wants you to sample his music at xfrmusic.bandcamp.com.

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