July 10, 2020
Knocked off course by anxiety and an album she didn’t believe in, the singer is back after five years away with a bold new sound – and an urge to speak out
Ellie Goulding has spent the coronavirus lockdown holed up in what is essentially the world’s nicest student house. Her art dealer husband Caspar Jopling is studying an MBA at Oxford University – he is on the boat race team, Clark Kentishly nerd-handsome and ripped – and she has been at his lovely old cottage in the surrounding countryside. You get the feeling the only noodles to have crossed the threshold are wholewheat udon rather than Super or Pot.
When I arrive, she ushers me back out, desperate for a constitutional. As we turn off the road on to a deserted footpath, she pulls her hood down perhaps unconsciously: the celebrity leaving incognito mode. We tramp up and down a lane of brambles and bushes, chatting about TikTok.