Elena Jane Goulding a.k.a. Ellie Goulding was born December 30, 1986 in Lyonshall, a small town near Hereford. She was the second of four children from Arthur and Tracey Goulding who separated when she was only five. Tracey would later remarry to a lorry driver. Ellie began writing music and learning how to play guitar at the age of 14. She was also very involved in her school's theater, leading her to take drama course, politics course and English course at the University of Kent.
Ellie's music began taking shape during college where she got acquainted to electronic music. After two years in university, she was advised to take a break to pursue her music career. She perfected "Wish I Stayed" with Starsmith and Frankmusik and moved to West London.
In September 2009, Ellie snatched a recording contract with Polydor Records that released her debut single "Under the Sheets" later that year. For a beginner, Ellie was doing moderately well with the song peaking at number 53 on U.K. Singles chart. In the following months, she was busy touring and promoting her forthcoming debut album with the release of singles "Guns and Horses" as well as "Wish I Stayed".
Ellie's name was already in the critics' consideration by 2010. She was on top of 2010 BBC Sound, an annual BBC poll of music critics and industry figures to find the most promising new music talent. Her popularity was further boosted with the victory of Critics' Choice at the 2010 BRIT Awards. As a result, her debut album "Lights" landed at number one on the U.K. Albums chart upon its March 2010 release. The album was followed by an EP titled "Run Into the Light" in August that year. It contained remixes of tracks in "Lights".
Furthermore, "Lights" was also re-released in November 2010 with six new tracks added. Now called "Bright Lights", it included a cover of Elton John's "Your Song", which after the release became her highest charting single to date, peaking at number two. Her live performance at iTunes Festival in 2010 was recorded for a live EP and later was included as bonus content on the iTunes version of "Bright Lights".
Ellie was nominated for Best British Female and Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2011 BRIT Awards but did not go home with either of them. When her European tour completed, Ellie's team began thinking of ways to break the U.S. market. The title track from "Lights" was released as a single, she performed on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in April 2011 and on "Saturday Night Live" the next month. "Lights" was also re-released in the American version.
Ellie got a coveted spot of singing for Prince William and his bride Kate Middleton on the royal couple's wedding in April 2011. She sang "Your Song" for the couple's first dance. "It was an amazing honour to be asked by Kate and William to perform at their party. The atmosphere was incredible and it is a night I will never forget," she said.
In addition to performing at festivals, Ellie spent the whole year of 2011 crafting her second album, "Halcyon". The album was slated to be released in September that year but was pushed back to October 8, 2012. In an interview Ellie admitted that the album was inspired by her break-up from Radio 1 DJ Greg James. "I was determined to make it not about love, because the last one was so much about that," she told BBC. "But when I did start writing it, I went through a break up and it was really difficult, and so the record ended up being about that."
"Anything Could Happen" was released as the lead single in August 2012 along with snippets of the other tracks. "Halcyon" debuted at number two on the U.K. Albums Chart, and, after 65 weeks, reached number one. The album debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart, giving the singer her first top ten debut in the United States. "Halcyon Days", a repackaged edition of Halcyon, was released on 23 August 2013. It included new singles including "Burn", which became her first U.K. number-one single in the same month.
In November 2014, Goulding announced that she was focusing on a third studio album. While details on the album were still kept under wraps, she contributed to the soundtrack of the controversial movie "Fifty Shades of Grey". She wrote "Love Me Like You Do" which was later released in January 2015.
The single was a commercial success, spending multiple weeks atop U.K.'s singles chart. It's currently peaking at No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100.