“I could write, literally, an essay on this,” Ellie Goulding proclaims in the midst of a discussion about pop singers versus Pop Stars.
“What used to happen was there was a rivalry between pop artists, but I’ve spoken to so many female singers now, and everyone seems to be rooting for each other,” Goulding tells Billboard.com. “Adele is the biggest singer in the world right now, yet she’s a wonderfully down-to-earth person. I think you need a combination of those, and well, proper pop stars — people like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga, who aren’t necessarily accessible [personality-wise].”
If you had any doubts which camp the lithe, electronic-tinged British singer-songwriter falls into: “That’s not me — I just kind of… kind of sing songs. But the diversity is something that needs to always happen.”
Goulding’s name seems to be in the air lately, known to some as the world’s most famous wedding singer. Last Friday, at the Royal Wedding, Goulding performed almost a full gig of “about 14 songs,” including her chill-inducing cover of Elton John’s “Your Song,” she says. The experience was both “a real night to remember” and “a pleasant surprise” — and it would not have happened without fellow U.K. music export, rapper Tinie Tempah.
Video: “Your Song,” Ellie Goulding
“He [Tinie] introduced me to Prince William last year at a festival because they were both watching my set from the side of the stage,” Goulding says. “William enjoyed the set so much that he kept me in mind for, obviously, last week.”
If last week cemented Goulding’s full-on fame in her native country (even after her 2010 debut, “Lights,” reached No. 1 on the UK charts, fueled by the massive single “Starry Eyed”), this weekend will be her big stateside coming out. Without much warning (“a week or so,” she says), Goulding will perform on “Saturday Night Live” May 7, alongside a powerhouse host — Tina Fey — that is bound to bring in big ratings. For the sake of Goulding’s nerves, it’s probably best that the prestige of an “SNL” performance is partially lost on the songstress.
Video: “Starry Eyed,” Ellie Goulding
“It’s hard for me to process how much of a big deal ‘SNL’ is — a real institution — because we don’t have it in the U.K.” Goulding says, adding that host Fey is her “favorite lady ever — I’m a big ’30 Rock’ fan.”
“I had to do some [promos] with her [Tina Fey] yesterday, and everyone said I just turned into this weird shy girl around her,” Goulding says.
After “Saturday Night Live,” Goulding will find herself back in front of American audiences at Lollapalooza, following breakout performances at both Coachella and South By Southwest earlier this spring. “It involved rising to the incredible task of whittling my band down to next to nothing,” Goulding said of her intimate SXSW gigs.
While Goulding’s debut finally saw a U.S. release back in March of this year (one year after its original release date across the pond), new material that recalls the singer’s acoustic beginnings is in the works.
“I’m been doing writing here and there — whatever comes out of my weird head,” she says. “I know what I want in a non-diva way.”