Getting accolades 12 years after debut album means everything – Ellie Goulding

Singer Ellie Goulding said it “means the world” to continue a career she “truly loves” as she was honoured with the president’s gong at this year’s BMI London Awards.

The 35-year-old, who was recognised for her contributions to music and song-writing, said getting to release music with a team who believe in her as an artist “will always be an inexplicable honour”.

Goulding follows in the footsteps of music stars such as Noel Gallagher, Jay Kay, Kenny Chesney, Pink, Willie Nelson, Adam Levine and Gloria and Emilio Estefan in receiving the award.

BMI London Awards 2019 – London
Noel Gallagher receives an award during the BMI London Awards 2019 at the Savoy Hotel in London (Isabel Infantes/PA)

During her speech at The Savoy hotel in London, she said: “It means the world to me that I continue to have a career that I truly, truly love.

“It’s been 12 years since my debut album, so to have continued success, and to get to release new music with a team of people who believe in me as an artist, will always be an inexplicable honour.

“To reach new milestones and be respected with incredible accolades like the president’s award tonight means everything and I couldn’t do it without you.”

In her speech, she singled out singer Tom Mann, whose fiance died on what was meant to be the couple’s wedding day, as an artist she had been “lucky enough to work with” and who did not get “nearly enough credit”.

Goulding, who topped the charts in 2010 with her debut album Lights, said that in the UK “particularly as a woman” ambition is engrained as a “bad, uncool thing”.

Sharing a message to aspiring musicians, she said: “Ambition is an essential ingredient, along with talent and a little bit of luck, for any hopes of a long-lasting career in our tough industry.

UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Draw – O2 Victoria Warehouse
Ellie Goulding performs during the Uefa women’s Euro 2022 draw at O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester (Nick Potts/PA)

“So, to anyone who’s on their way, it’s so important to just not listen to anyone who ever has a negative comment about you wanting the biggest and the best.

“I know what it is to burn yourself out, to surrender everything in a world which has been built against you. I’ve felt the bias, I’ve felt the compromise, I’ve felt inequity.

“Whenever I see my peers breaking boundaries, and pushing the boundaries of creativity – in art, science, and business – I rejoice to see how far we continue to chip at the glass ceiling.

“I know that whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, the most important thing is to begin.”

The British singer-songwriter’s credentials include 2012 release Halcyon, which reached the top spot in the UK charts alongside her 2020 release Brightest Blue.

Reception to celebrate young people
The Queen meets Ellie Goulding at a reception to celebrate young people in the performing arts at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sharing her experience of the music industry from a young age, she said: “I was probably around 16 when I began to imagine making a career in music as a small possibility.

“In singing and playing cover songs at open mic nights, in the words of others I felt the power of channelling meaning when I didn’t always have to confidence to sing my own.

“I felt a lot of vulnerability putting feelings and experiences into words, of taking a stage and performing them to others for the first time.

“There was no-one to show me the path to a career, and all too often it felt like I had so much to lose by trying to make a living out of something that everyone tells you is impossible.

“I would seize every opportunity when I came across them – every gig, every introduction, every meeting – all on the off-chance that it would bring something bigger and better.”

The singer added that she hoped music played its part in empowering others “in a world which needs urgent action” and a “country which demands empathy”.

During the ceremony, hosted by BMI president and chief executive Mike O’Neill and BMI Europe vice president of creative Shirin Foroutan, awards for song of the year and pop, dance, film, television and cable television music were presented.

Singer-songwriter and producer Tems received the BMI impact award, which recognises ground-breaking artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music.