Ellie Goulding released her first single in 2009, but what did she do before she became a popular synth-pop artist?
Ellie Goulding was signed to a record label and released her first single when she was 22 years old. Before this, she attended school and university and lived an ordinary life.
Let’s explore how Ellie Goulding established herself as a professional popstar and what her life was like before being thrust into the public eye.
Ellie Goulding’s Childhood
Ellie Goulding, whose full name is Elena Jane Goulding, was born on December 30, 1986. She grew up in Lyonshall, England, which is a small village in the English countryside.
Goulding’s family home was on a “council estate,” meaning the government subsidised her home due to the family’s low income.
When she was 5 years old, Ellie’s father left the family. She had contact with him until she was 19, when she cut ties because his “heart wasn’t in it.”
Clearly affected by her absent father, Ellie wrote a song about the abandonment titled, “I Know You Care.”
She said of the song, “If someone had written a song like that about me, where I had abandoned someone in some way, I would instantly want to rectify it. But he hasn’t.”
Ellie had to share her bedroom with two sisters from her mother’s second marriage.
She didn’t get on with her step-father, saying, “I didn’t like my stepfather because he just wasn’t very nice to any of us. He wasn’t horrible, he just wasn’t interested.” Ellie’s mother and ex-stepfather ended up divorcing.
Goulding has talked about how she felt embarrassed by her family’s humble roots and how in order to get into a good school and fit in, she would change the way she spoke and dressed.
She said on the matter, “I became fixated on speaking well. I felt like people just knew I was from a council house, and that I was poor, because of the way I spoke.”
Ellie would listen to the way newsreaders spoke on TV and try to emulate their accent, as well as copy the way her more middle-class friends dressed.
The star has commented, “I felt different to everyone else. I’d separate everything. I’d have friends from my council estate and then these middle-class friends from school who I’d never let come back to my house.”
During her teenage years, Ellie felt anger and resentment towards her not-so-perfect life. During an interview the star said, “I was a classic angsty teenager. I was unhappy.”
Despite being tempted by a life of alcohol and drugs by her teenage friends, Ellie managed to stay on the straight and narrow by keeping her eyes on the prize of working as a professional singer.
Ellie is known to enjoy partying with friends
How did Ellie Goulding become a popstar?
Ellie Goulding was interested in music from a young age. She began playing the clarinet aged 9 and learning the guitar when she was 14.
During her teenage years, Ellie would perform in bars and other small venues. She also began writing songs at the age of 15.
Ellie took A-levels (British school qualifications) at Lady Hawkins’ High School and did well, achieving A grades in English, Politics, and Drama. However, she failed in Music.
“I failed my music A-level because I just wanted to sing and play guitar. Technology, at the time… I wasn’t interested in it. And now it’s everything,” Ellie said.
After school, Goulding went to college at the University of Kent to study Drama and Theatre Studies. While at university, Ellie sang at an open mic talent contest and was heard by music manager Jamie Lillywhite.
He encouraged her to drop out of university and pursue a pop career. Thankfully, the daring venture worked out for Ellie, who reached number 53 on the UK charts with her first single.
After gaining recognition with her single, Ellie’s career continued to go from strength to strength and reached unprecedented heights when her debut album reached number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.