New band of the day – No 486: Ellie Goulding

This currently unsigned Welsh lass is a cross between a singer-songwriter and a synth-pop starlet. Is she another Kate Nash? A kooky British Lykke Li? A technoid Cerys Matthews?

Hometown: Powys, Wales.

The lineup: Ellie Goulding.

The background: Ellie Goulding is a singer-songwriter who has been performing and writing for about a year, and is generating quite a buzz, not just here but in the States – one American musician has already covered her song Wish I Stayed. She's currently unsigned (although she has a publishing deal with Global), was born in Hereford and grew up in Wales, and is currently drawing a lot of A&R attention, not just for her songs and quavery I'm-in-turmoil-me voice, but for the adaptability of her approach: she can do the introspective acoustic troubadour thing, but she's also working increasingly with electronics, and with electronic musicians. There is a collaboration with Frankmusik on her MySpace (Wish I Stayed, again) that sounds like a more dour and downbeat take on the synth-girl pop purveyed by La Roux, she's been recording with talented young remixers Goldsmith and Starsmith as well as Basement Jaxx, and rumour has it she's going to do some recording with Burial – not for nothing has she has been described as "Kate Nash meets Hot Chip".

In a way, her mournful voice is like a lighter, airier version of Tracy Thorn's, that quintessential 80s bedsit miserabilist, and you can imagine Goulding's pained trills combining as well with modern electronica as Thorn's did with Portishead's trip-hop noir in the 90s. "I grew up listening to folk and pop music but electronic music won't leave my brain alone and I have a gravitational pull towards electronic producers," she says. "I'm into finding different ways of expressing my songs. That's why in the coming months I'm going to be working with dubstep people, electro people and folk people." She adds, "I also, truly, truly love a good pop song," which perhaps explains why, thus far, she and her remix pals have given Sam Sparro's Black and Gold and Björk's Hyperballad the quirky electro-dub treatment. "I think it's good to have fun with songs and experiment with them," she says. "I like playing with sounds and synths, mainly because I get bored easily."

This divide between Goulding's mainly acoustic guitar-based songs and her synthesised ones is possibly going to make it difficult to market her in the short-term, before she establishes herself and is given the freedom and space to maximise the potential of this everything-at-once iPod age. Is she another Kate Nash? A kooky British Lykke Li? A technoid Cerys Matthews? The new Björk? She certainly has ambitions towards the latter, and she's even joked about wanting to achieve "world domination". "I'm getting a band together so that by this summer I can play some awesome gigs with a huge, hopefully Björk-style set-up rather than just me and my guitar," she writes on her MySpace. "I can dream, can't I?"

The buzz: "She sang exquisitely, leaving everybody with goosebumps who listened to her amazing voice!"

The truth: The synth-pop and minstrel markets are both crowded, but maybe Goulding could succeed by straddling both.

Most likely to: Be the first new lady of folk-dubstep.

Least likely to: Go out with Marc Bannermen.

What to buy: Ellie Goulding is unsigned.

File next to: Kate Nash, Lykke Li, Tracy Thorn, Björk.


Tomorrow's new band: Terry Lynn.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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