Ellie Goulding's Herefordshire life

PUBLISHED: 11:37 14 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:09 20 February 2013

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

The new face of British pop music in 2010 belonged to Herefordshire's Ellie Goulding. Debbie Graham spoke to her and to two rising stars of the county who are hoping to make it in 2011

Goulding girl

The new face of British pop music in 2010 belonged to Herefordshires Ellie Goulding. Debbie Graham spoke to her and to two rising stars of the county who are hoping to make it in 2011

2010 has been the Year of Ellie Goulding. Pop star, song writer, guitarist, and touted as the next big thing, she won the 2010 Critics' Choice Award at the BRITS and expectations for her work in 2011 are huge.

But to the people of Herefordshire, and Hereford in particular, the star who celebrates her 24th birthday at the end of December is, foremost, a local lass done good.

Despite chart hitting records, playing at major festivals and endless plaudits she is under no illusions. Ellie Goulding knows exactly who she is: a country girl, without a doubt, 100 per cent. I will never be a city girl, ever.

She grew up in Lyonshall, went Lady Hawkins' School in Kington and Hereford Sixth Form College and despite a turbulent childhood when her father left home and she lived with a stepfather she clashed with, her happier memories are of time in the countryside playing, walking, running and just taking time out.

Ellie, one of four children, says: I loved it. I have always said that none of us had a particularly easy childhood but the fact that we were living in the countryside made it a lot better as there was always stuff to do and somewhere to go and play.

Music was a big part of this, including playing the clarinet which gave way to the guitar when she was about 11 and going to secondary school. She began to explore her musical potential, through playing and experimenting with friends as quite a few people were into playing the guitar and playing bongos. But essentially, she says, it was her own curiosity that drove her.

Her Herefordshire upbringing allowed her to develop her talents at her own pace and develop her own tastes and style At the time I dont think I nearly appreciate it that much, but now I am in London and am such a world away from it I realise how important it was to me. It was important to me to live somewhere that was unpretentious. People were not necessarily massively into fashion or a certain trend. It was all about having fun and there was nothing to stop me from liking a certain kind of music. Its good to have the best of both worlds; to be able to live in London now is obviously amazing but I am glad I grew up where I did.
And this is how she has remained despite all the hype and pressure, quietly and reassuringly a normal girl on the brink of an extraordinary life.

It is really dependent on how you as a person. Its not on how big you are or how many records you have sold or how many magazines you have been in. Its about how you are deep down. It is the one thing I am proud of. I have never taken anything too seriously.

I think you can fall into the wrong hands. When you see your name around all the time you cant help feel ooh that is a bit weird, but I have never got caught up in it.

People have tried and tried to make out that I am this wreck of a person because of the pressure but thats not the way.

Her panic attacks have been the subject of media speculation but, she says matter-of-factly, she has always suffered from them, way before I ever got into music.

A big influence in her life, in fact one of the biggest is her ex-boyfriend Matt from Pembridge, who she still regards as a one of my very, very best friends, one of my soul mates.

He taught me a lot. I went through a bad time and he taught me a lot about patience, surviving and about exercise and keeping fit. He taught me about being a good person, really. We used to go running around the woods and used to go for walks constantly around Herefordshire.

So what do her family think of her rise to fame this year? They think its great. My mum came to the V Festival. They think its really cool. Its nice to have quite a down to earth family. And it is with her mother, brother and two sisters she hopes to spend Christmas.

It is this simple life that she appreciates all the more as her life becomes increasingly manic and admits she misses nights down the pub with her friends.

I still think of it as home and I do go back as often as I can, she says.
But nothing can really beat what I do now and festivals are definitely a highlight, whether it playing or watching other bands.

I have been to every festival this summer and not many people can say that they have been to every one. I get to do what I love to do every single day, or something related to it, which is pretty cool.

Ellie Goulding
My Herefordshire life

The music I associate with Herefordshire
is Fionn Regans album The End of History.
His songs are about countryside and he sings about rabbits and foxes and country lanes. When I used to go running around Lyonshall he was on my iPod, so I guess when I listen to him now it reminds me of Herefordshire.

My perfect weekend in Herefordshire would be going out running and just chilling out with my auntie and uncle Carol and Phil in Belmont who I lived with for a while when I was younger.

My favourite Herefordshire view is from the top of Aylestone Hill as its really beautiful and you can see over the top of Hereford.

My favourite shop has to be Berry Red on Church Street in Hereford because it is quintessentially Hereford. My friend Emma works there.

My favourite pub is the Spread Eagle in Hereford.

The next big thing

Herefordshire musical talent to watch are 15-year-olds Henry McPherson and Saska Ingham whose band Y-Tonal release an album on iTunes on January 1.

Henry and Saska from Aylton near Ledbury (Y-Tonal is an anagram of Aylton) have known each other since the age of four.

It started about a year ago when Saska and I thought we should try out a different style of music. It was originally to perform for our friends and maybe do a couple of concerts, says Henry. Then someone came up with a bright idea of putting it on iTunes and since we have been on the internet there has been an explosion of interest. We got played on BBC Hereford and Worcester Friday nights introducing session, where they try and discover new talent and it started to kick off.

Henry describes their style as New Mode, slightly odd, slightly quirky, its not like what you hear day to day on Radio One; in that sense its alternative, he says.

Henry has high musical credentials. He is on a music and drama scholarship at Radley College, in Oxfordshire, was a BBC Young Composer last year and an Oundle Young Organists (POTS) bursary winner the year before. He plays organ at two local churches when at home and the pair played at last years Ayton Carol Service, Saskas voice stopping the congregation says Henrys mother Elspeth, herself a musician.

Saska, one of three children whose mother Alina runs a dressage business, is on a sporting scholarship to Malvern St James. Elspeth McPherson describes Saska as having an exceptional voice and talent. It has a folk quality and purity which is unique.

Y-Tonal fans who download their album Second Chances will be asked to donate 1 to the Multiple Sclerosis Societys Ross-on-Wye group. Henrys mother has the condition and he acts as her carer when at home. Thats integral to it. One of the reasons we started was to raise funds for it, says Henry.


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