Ellie Goulding Talks New Record & "Just How Close I Was To Losing It All"

Photo: Roger Goodgroves/Rex/REX USA.
There are still a few months to go, but we're calling it: 2015 has been a very good year for Ellie Goulding. The British singer kicked things off with the January release of "Love Me Like You Do" for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, which wasted no time in climbing the charts. She also made a cameo in Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" video, ensuring her role in Hollywood's hottest squad, and sang on the Band Aid 30 charity track. Through it all, she's been hard at work on her third studio album, due out by the end of the year. In a phone interview with Refinery29, Goulding spilled some important details about the sound of her next record, how her boyfriend has inspired her, and why she's tired of so-called catfights.

Your next album is out later this year. What can we expect?
"It's summery. It's pop-y and it's got a summer feeling, but it's more of an end-of-summer feeling. It's kind of heartbreaking at times, but it's also uplifting."

It's interesting that you say heartbreaking, considering you've been vocal about your great relationship with your boyfriend [singer Dougie Poynter].
"I have a song on the album that is called 'Two Years.' It's about two years ago, which is before I met my boyfriend. I'm really curious about him. He's my boyfriend, so I'll write about him and his past and the things he's been through. It's pretty amazing stuff and he's a pretty incredible person. It's so easy to write about because there's so many interesting things about him. But then, before that, you know, I went through a phase of being on tour and having a really hard time and not being home, and even just struggling with having a number one song. That was a time when I couldn't deal with anything. I was drinking, and I was not really myself. It's only when you come out of that phase you realize you were in trouble. Now that I'm not in trouble, it makes it more obvious just how close I was to losing it all. Luckily I never got to that point."

Women are really ruling the music industry right now. Does it feel like female musicians are enjoying more power at the moment?
"I feel a lot safer to call guys out now. I don't like misogyny in music at all. I'd never felt comfortable to say that before, because I would just get absolutely annihilated by male artists. When a guy writes a song about a girl, they're kind of praised and high-fived for it, but when it's the other way round, it's almost like this diss, like the girl's being a bitch. I absolutely hate that. So [it's great] that it just so happens that female artists are making brilliant songs. But, it's not like it's just women up there. The Weeknd is killing it, and you've got Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith."

On the flip side, female singers always seem to be pitted against one another, which is something that rarely happens with their male counterparts.
"The media does try to pit singers against each other, and I don't know what the obsession with that is. Most of us, we're all pretty friendly, and we like each other, and we respect each other's work. I don't think people like the fact that we're not rivals. I don't have any rivals. That's just weird. If someone makes a great record, then you should celebrate it. It doesn't matter who they are or if they're doing the same thing as you. It's not just the media's fault — it's what people want. People want a conflict. People always want to hear about something that's gone wrong, not something that's gone right. That's just how some people are. The media just wants to give people a fight but because it's not happening, they just twist the truth and make things more dramatic and I think that's a bit weird."

How have you grown musically since your last album?
"I've realized what it is to translate a song to live [performances]. I've performed so many times at festivals and live shows. I feel like that's been a big step in my journey as a musician. I'm also constantly listening to things. I've been listening to electronic music for such a long time, but I like a specific [kind of] electronic music. I've been trying to fine-tune my pace a little bit in electronic music. That's always been the main thing."

You've mentioned that there are no collaborations in this album, but who would be your dream duet partner if you had the option?
"I'd love to do something with Björk; I'd love to do something with Drake. They're my main contenders."

You've been known to do the occasional cover song. What song would be at the top of your cover wish list?
"I really, really love that Rihanna song, 'American Oxygen.' Everything about it — the production, the vibe... it's just really good."

What song sums up your life right now?
"I was so obsessed with that 'Cheerleader' song when it first came out, even before it was in the charts. For a while that's all I listened to. I used to joke that that was my anthem, but obviously it just makes no sense for it to be my anthem."


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