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Interview: Ellie Goulding on her upcoming 2014 New Zealand 'Halcyon Days' arena tour!

Interview: Ellie Goulding on her upcoming 2014 New Zealand 'Halcyon Days' arena tour!

It's 10:30pm New Zealand time, which means it's 9:30am in London. Ellie Goulding is chilling at home in her pajamas - "I'm sitting on my special old man leather armchair in my PJs, I just bought them yesterday and they're so cozy, I found the most comfiest comforting material so I've put them on because I've got a day of interviews in my flat..." - and likewise, I'm tucked up in bed surrounded by pillows. "We're having a slumber party over the phone!" I declare excitedly. Ellie, is equally as thrilled.

The occasion is special, you see. When you've spent the last five years observing from afar the career of one of your favourite artists, to suddenly find yourself on the phone discussing with them the fact that they'll be returning to New Zealand next year to headline not one, but three, arena shows across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, it can be nothing else but a celebratory get-together.

Coup De Main caught up with Ellie Goulding recently to discuss her upcoming 2014 New Zealand arena tour...

"The most powerful thing that I feel, is that I have control over what I do. I think the only thing that compromises the empowerment that I have is when people talk about what I wear and my makeup and the way I look - I don't think you get that kind of scrutiny if you're a guy."

COUP DE MAIN: You're returning to New Zealand in June next year to play arena shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch! Are you stoked to have gone from playing two club shows last year, onto what is going to be one of the biggest arena tours of next year for NZ?!
ELLIE GOULDING: Isn't that mad? Isn't that crazy?! It's something that I still can't compute. It's so weird! It's an amazing feeling. I wondered when I was going to get back and get to do arenas; it's been a long time coming so I'm just excited for my show to be bigger and for the fans to actually see what a full, big show, can be of mine. I'm really excited.

CDM: It might have taken you until last year to get to New Zealand, but now you can't stay away! It makes me really happy that you're visiting us once every year.
ELLIE: Yeah, me too. It makes me happy to be there. In Australia and New Zealand, and New Zealand especially, I always find everyone is so nice and friendly. It's one of the few places that I remember visually, like I remember where I stayed and my surroundings - and that's a good sign, because I've got a terrible memory. I'm looking forward to it!

CDM: The shows in June will be the first chance for your fans here who are under eighteen, to get to see you live. Do you have a message for them, ahead of the tour?
ELLIE: Just that, I'm so happy that they're able to see a show and I'm really excited to see them. It's an amazing feeling for me that I have my fans that age that are for the first time going be able to see me perform, because I know there's been an issue a lot with younger people [and R18 shows]. I have a real mix of young and older fans, so it's important to me that everyone gets to see the show. I'm really happy about that.

CDM: After having toured the songs on your 'Halcyon' album for over a year now, have any of them changed in meaning for you in retrospect?
ELLIE: I think 'retrospect' is the word, really - because I'm able to perform the songs with a difference now, in that when I wrote them obviously there was a lot of emotional stuff going on. When I wrote 'Halcyon' I'd come out of a weird break-up and I was feeling there was all kinds of shit going on, like loneliness and feeling a bit lost, and now when I sing them I'm with the comfort of my fans and my band and people around me, and I can sing them with a bit more of an air of positivity and hopefulness than I ever did. Even when I sing songs about my Dad and songs about my family and that kind of stuff, it's more re-enactments than anything, because obviously to keep having the same emotion is too intense. So I perform those sings as a re-enactment now; it's a better feeling, it's happier.

CDM: Do you feel any closer to reaching your Halcyon Days now - like calmness and peacefulness somewhere, someday - than you did when you were first writing and recording the songs?
ELLIE: Yeah, I'm starting to feel it now. Like the last few months I've gone through quite a few changes and have been getting more and more peaceful within myself. I don't ever know if the Halcyon Days really come - it's one of those things that you're always moving towards but even if you don't get there, you strive to get there. I feel like I'm in a good place at the moment. Even the smallest changes, like I stopped eating meat four months ago and I've been doing different kinds of exercise like Yoga and stuff like that, little changes have made me feel a bit more at peace I think.

CDM: Are the new songs on 'Halcyon Days' representative of the sound you want for your next album?
ELLIE: No, I think the next album is going to be different again. I don't know... I have so many things in mind. Weirdly, things like Drake's new record is having a really big influence on me, and I don't know what that means right now but I've been listening to some really different stuff. Kind of a combination between house and garage and hip-hop, so I'm not really sure... I think I'm starting to understand and form an idea of what my album is going to sound like... I think I'm getting there.

CDM: You must be pleased that so many rappers have been sampling your songs!
ELLIE: I know, it's great. I think it's a sign! <laughs> Maybe I'm meant to be in a different world.

CDM: What was it like co-writing 'Goodness Gracious' with Nate Ruess from fun.?
ELLIE: It was good! I love Nate, he's just so much fun, I love hanging out with him. In Australia we first met and we hung out loads, and it turned out we were big fans of each other's writing. Sadly, we didn't get to write the song in the same room which was a shame, but he wrote his bit and I wrote my bit and I sent it back to him to see what he thought and thank goodness he liked it, because that would have been embarrassing if he didn't.

CDM: Excluding your cover of 'Your Song', 'Burn' was your very first single to be released that wasn't a song that was specifically written for you originally. What was it about the song that made you really want it to be a single for you?
ELLIE: I just loved it. He [Ryan Tedder] sent me a bunch of stuff and then he sent me this song, and as you know I never usually do songs that aren't mine, but I knew that I could work with that song, I knew that it was special. I don't know whether it's instinctive or whatever, but that song I just connected with even though I hadn't initially written it. I changed it up and sang it and it just became my song! It was sweet.

CDM: And then it went Number One! Congrats!!
ELLIE: Thank you!

CDM: You joined Katy Perry on-stage last week to sing 'Roar' live with Tegan and Sara, Bonnie McKee, Sara Bareilles and Kacey Musgraves, when Katy brought you all together to showcase girl-power. It was really interesting seeing you all standing in a line on-stage together, all dressed really differently and from different musical backgrounds. Ignoring superficial things, what do you think are the most important fundamental principles of female empowerment, that universally apply to any female?
ELLIE: The most powerful thing that I feel, is that I have control over what I do. I think the only thing that compromises the empowerment that I have is when people talk about what I wear and my makeup and the way I look - I don't think you get that kind of scrutiny if you're a guy. I dunno, maybe you do? But that's the only thing I think, is the challenge - getting people to see through that and getting critics or whoever to see past what you wear and just concentrate on the music. When I played at iTunes a couple of years ago I felt like my performance of my new songs... it's a bold move to play entirely new songs at an iTunes festival, which I did, but then the majority talked about what I wore and the way my hair looked and stuff like that. I think that Katy is a real role-model, she's coped with some really difficult situations in her career, but she's kept a smile on her face. You only have to watch her film to realise how strong she is and how professional she is. She makes big pop songs but she's such a down to earth and funny person. She's got a real grasp on everything; she's clever. I think making pop music is a real art and she kind of nails it in my opinion, why is why I was so proud to do that concert with her.  

CDM: Last time I talked to you, you mentioned that while working on your 'Halcyon' album, you wrote a lot of poetry that was based on stories of the sea. Could you ever see yourself releasing a poetry book or short stories?
ELLIE: Yeah definitely! I'll definitely think about doing that. That's a really good idea, nice one! <laughs> I've written a lot of stuff that isn't going to be made into a song; I don't want to force things into a song. That is actually a good idea, I'd love to do a little poetry book.

CDM: I know you're a big fan of Haruki Murakami, but what other authors do you love?
ELLIE: At the moment, the only other person that is on par with him for me - that fills my imagination with so many things - is Sebastian Faulks. I love his stuff, I don't know why. I read things like poetry by Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney, I like funny stuff that gives me inspiration to write my songs, but Sebastian Faulks' 'Human Traces' and 'Birdsong' and 'Engleby'... he is just an amazing writer. His writing is a very different style to Murakami's, I think most people's is, but he has an incredible imagination like Murakami.

CDM: It's funny, I actually just finished reading Sebastian Faulks' new book this morning.
ELLIE: Which one?

CDM: He's done a homage to P. G. Wodehouse. It's called 'Jeeves And The Wedding Bells'.
ELLIE: Oh my gosh, I haven't read that one yet! The latest one I read was the short stories one, but not that one I don't think... 'A Possible Life' is what it was called.

CDM: Do you have any tips on how to deal with Writer's Block?
ELLIE: It's just one of those things that I overcome. It's quite hard to explain, but it generally means that if I've got Writer's Block I don't have that much to say or something's not quite connecting. I feel like every time I've overcome Writer's Block, it's been at a time... it's really hard to explain. I have had Writer's Block a bunch of times and it's generally because I'm not able to write down what I'm feeling basically. Mostly, I just need to be alone really, or be with someone who can bring that out of me.

CDM: And lastly, [so that people can gift you sweet treats next year] what are your favourite sweets?
ELLIE: I like Veggie Percy - they're the vegetarian version of Percy Pigs - they're at the top of my list. I like... I don't even know what they're called in different countries! I like Liquorice Allsorts, the less Liquorice-y ones that are more coconut and the white stuff. <laughs> Bonbons I guess, the strawberry ones. Oh god, I don't even know what my favourite sweets are called! Pencils?!

Ellie Goulding will return to New Zealand next year in June with her 'Halcyon Days' tour, to headline all ages arena shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch! Click HERE to read the full tour announcement.

Watch Ellie Goulding performing 'Burn' live below...

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