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English pop singer Ellie Goulding has a new album--'Halcyon'--and is gaining more fan recognition.
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BY MIKAEL WOOD
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES--Tucking her pale-pink hair behind her ears, Ellie Goulding explained recently that her new record reflects a blur of experiences over the last two years--a period in which she became such a star in England that Prince William and Kate Middleton asked her to sing at their wedding reception.
"It's definitely opened me up," she said of the whirlwind stretch since she released her debut album, "Lights," in 2010.
The singer was curled up on a sofa in her dressing room at the site of Conan O'Brien's show, preparing to perform her current single, "Anything Could Happen." "It's given me more intensity and a keenness to be very, very honest."
That intensity resounds throughout Goulding's strong sophomore set, "Halcyon," which entered U.S. charts inside the top 10 after its recent release. It's a more daring, personal effort than "Lights," with a greater emphasis on her singing than on the blippy synthesizer tones that drove the debut's title track to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 this summer.
"Only you can see the emptiness I feel when you're with me," she sings in the soulful "Only You," one of several new tunes Goulding performs.
Yet early signs suggest the fresh approach is paying off: Next month she'll have a song on the final "Twilight Saga" soundtrack alongside Green Day and Feist. (Not coincidentally, perhaps, "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart was photographed enteringa recent California gig.)
'REALLY UNIQUE' SOUND
"Ellie's sound is really unique," said Michelle Boros, music director at L.A. pop radio station KAMP-FM. "And it's not just the music--it's the quality of her voice. That's what cuts through and makes you say, 'What is this?'"
As befits the album's intimate vibe, Goulding, 25, recorded much of "Halcyon" not in some state-of-the-art London studio, but at the family home of her co-producer, Jim Eliot, in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
"It's quite a rural place," the singer said of the bookish burg not far from where she grew up in Herefordshire. To demonstrate the atmosphere she picked up her phone and played a video of Eliot's young daughters jumping around their living room to the album's title track.
"There'd be times when she'd say, 'This has to be on my record,' and I'd almost go, 'Are you sure?'" recalled Eliot, who has also worked with Kylie Minogue. "She was so liberated creatively."