After a substantial win against a really bad telephone connection in my quest to speak to Ellie Goulding, I'm surprised at how down to earth the acclaimed singer is. I'm hilariously astounded when mid-conversation, she pauses for a second followed by a disappointed sigh. "I just dropped my favourite make-up brush down the toilet, it's gone," she says.
We laugh about this mini-crisis and I realise that Goulding's been multi-tasking while we've been chatting, the scene I imagine, probably resembles something out of a famous rom-com, but it puts us both at ease. It's hard to believe that in a space of two years, she's achieved a number one single in the UK, broken through the American market and performed at the high profile wedding reception of Kate Middleton and Prince William. Goulding seems to be on a roll since bursting onto the scene in 2009 with her EP, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding.
"Around that time I was way too busy to even notice it, because I was completely immersed in touring and it was just one of those things that just happened at the same time," she says modestly. But Goudling's achievement is hardly modest, many UK artists dream of breaking through the US market and she did it with her debut album.
Her single Lights has sold over 2.5 million copies there and reached the top five on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 40 charts. Relentless touring has seen her play gigs of over 30 000 fans Stateside, as well as festival appearances and a sold-out Katy Perry Tour.
"When America happened, things started changing and I was there a lot, doing a lot of promotion over there and I had such a big following in America that I ended up spending a lot of my time over there and I think people thought I had actually moved to America," she says.
Goulding was invited to sing at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House in December 2011, joining Barack Obama onstage for a round of carols. She also performed on a number of high profile American TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live.
"It was incredible how all of that panned out, it was very unexpected. I honestly didn't think that would happen in a million years, it's just one of those anomalies I think" she says.
Three years later, the singer/songwriter has released her eagerly awaited new album Halcyon featuring lead single Anything Could Happen. Goulding was quoted describing the album as "a journey from dark into light from confusion to understanding." The singer had said that she did not intend to write a "break-up" album, but it became that in the process.
"It was literally after I had written the first song that I knew where this was going, it started going into a very specific direction. It sort of happened and I didn't know how. I did go through a break-up and couldn't think about anything else so that's why it came out that way," she says.
The album was written and co-produced by Goulding and the majority of the songs were recorded in a converted barn in Ellie Goulding's hometown in the Hay Valley with producer Jim Elliot. It is laced with sonic, space age beats with ethereal vocals and soundscapes mirroring the dark and moody lyrics sung in songs like My Blood. Goulding's voice shines, accompanied by a very smooth production, as she embraces an eclectic mix of genres and sounds from dubstep to dream pop.
"It was very difficult for me to get all the songs on the album, because the process happened very slowly and over a period of time I literally wrote all my lyrics in Ireland and did the production in Hereford so it ended up being a really long journey," she says.
Goulding also faced another break-up with dubstep DJ, Skrillex this year. The former couple had collaborated on a song called Bittersweet for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 soundtrack.
The singer says she would love to work with Skrillex again. "He is such a clever producer and I seriously adore him and was always fascinated by what he does. He is incredible not only with dubstep, but all kinds of music. I'm still very impressed by what he does," she says.
She hopes they will be able to collaborate in the future. "If we like get to meet up somewhere in the future, I hope we can do another collaboration, because we are still really big fans of each other," says Goulding.