Ellie Goulding musical style has been compared to that of Kate Nash, Lykke Li, Tracey Thorn and Björk. Ellie Goulding was born and brought up in Hereford, England, the second of four children. She began playing the clarinet and writing songs at the age of nine, and at fourteen began learning guitar. She started songwriting at the age of fifteen and while in college she won a singing competition.
After commencing a drama course at the University of Kent, where she was exposed to electronic music, she developed her sound with the help of Frankmusik on the track "Wish I Stayed", and Starsmith, who went on to become her chief collaborator and primary producer of Lights. After two years at Kent, she was advised to take a gap year to pursue singing, and moved to West London.
She is a keen runner, running six miles every day, and in 2010 admitted plans to run a marathon. In support of her second EP, Run Into the Light, she invited a small number of fans through her Facebook pages, to run with her in seven different cities on her UK tour, and has announced that she will be doing the same across Europe and the United States. A website, EllieRuns.com, was launched in support. Goulding's keenness for exercise has given her what is considered to be an impressively athletic physique.