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Ellie Goulding Eager to Begin 'Halcyon' Follow-up

'I don’t necessarily see myself writing about relationships again, or my personal life'

November 5, 2013 11:55 AM ET
Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding
Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Since the release of her second album, Halycon, in October 2012, British singer Ellie Goulding has toured with Bruno Mars, played major music festivals, contributed a track to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack and released an expanded version of that album, Halcyon Days, which spawned her first number one U.K. hit in "Burn." Later this month, a new track called "Mirrors" will appear on the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, and she's already starting to think about her next album. Rolling Stone recently spoke with Goulding backstage at the Hollywood Bowl, where she was preparing to take part in Katy Perry's We Can Survive benefit.

Listen to Ellie Goulding's Biggest Influences

Have you started working on new material?
I have songs I could easily put on a third album, but I want to start it completely fresh and new. I feel like I need to be in a very different place to start a new album, so they need to be all done together, the same way that I did Halcyon. I could easily put one together with songs I have, but that's definitely not what I'm going to do. There's a few people I want to work with around the world, so I don't know how that's going to work. I've got a few people in mind I'm going to experiment with.

Can you tell us a few people?
I love Greg Kurstin, who did "Goodness Gracious" and "Burn" and a few other things for me. There are so many people – I'm even going to get in the studio with Ben [Lovett], from Mumford & Sons. There are so many different things I want to do. When I met up with Jim [Eliot] and Halcyon happened, I knew it was right, so it's going to take a few experiments and I'll know what's going to be right for the third record then. I don't know what the next record's gonna be about, but when I'm there, I'm there. And obviously my voice is always the things that ties everything together, so when I put my voice over something, it all comes together. So I'm just waiting for the right person.

What are the issues and topics that are important to you as you begin work on the third album?
The mindset I'm in the moment is I don't necessarily see myself writing about relationships again, or my personal life. It's not something that's my priority anymore, and it's weird when that happens, because I've forever written about my personal life and forever written about relationships. But in terms of women in music being outspoken, having something to say, I realize I do more than I think. I have opinions, but I never want to go straight to Twitter or straight to a blog and write it all out. I keep a lot of stuff up here, because I did an interview a few days ago with the BBC at the Q Awards and I was being asked about Miley Cyrus and other things, and suddenly I found myself just having so much stuff to say. I was really passionate, almost angry. When people say negative things about people, that makes me angry. But I've stopped being very outspoken on Twitter. It doesn't help me, it doesn't help my mind, and I don't want to force my views on people. So I just post pictures of cats, that's my thing – keeping it trivial, keeping it simple. I still believe in mystery. People talk about my relationships and people talk about me a lot, especially at the moment in the press, and I don't acknowledge it. I don't need to. I don't feel like it's my responsibility. I don't feel like I'm supposed to respond to things, and that's how I want to keep it. If you ask me something specifically, I would answer you because you asked me, but I would never just come out with stuff.

Do you feel artists are criticized more for having opinions in public today?
If I'm asked about my opinions on things and what my stance on things is, I'll give an answer, but I don't always feel comfortable putting it out there. I have opinions on things, I read up on things a lot, but it doesn't benefit me as a musician to go and say all these things. I'm a vegetarian, but I don't go around being like, "You shouldn't eat meat." If I'm asked about it then I'll talk about it.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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