Review: Ellie Goulding
It is difficult to know whether Ellie Goulding should feel blessed or faintly insulted at being booked as post-dinner entertainment at the recent royal wedding.
On the one hand, who wouldn't covet a ringside perch at the showbiz event of the year? Then again British Royals aren't exactly renowned for their exemplary taste in music. Princess Diana was close friends with Elton John when he was churning out rubbish Disney scores.
It isn't exactly the most august club in rock that she's joined.
The wedding came at the end of a remarkable 18 months for the Hereford singer. Lumbered with the crushing weight of expectation that flows from winning the BBC Sound Of award for best newcomer Goulding has shrugged off the hype and got on with her career, displaying streak of earthy straightforwardness at odds with her ethereal, Kate Bush-goes-alternative, music.
Small, with straggly blonde ringlets and leather jacket several sizes too large, she initially appears engulfed by the huge Olympia stage. Her songs, on the other hand, would be at home echoing out across a venue many times larger. Specifically, she has mastered the knack of taking traumatic events from her personal life and spinning them into epic indie ballads.
Sometimes, such as on opener 'Under The Sheets', there's a hint of Fleetwood Mac '70s slickness; at other moments she could be a toned-down Florence + the Machine with better writing chops. Between tunes, meanwhile, she is giggly and grounded.
Royal imprimatur or not, one thing is perfectly clear: the lady is a star.