Elena Jane Goulding was raised in a council house in small village called Lyonshall in Herefordshire, England near the Welsh border. She was raised mostly by her mother Tracey (Clark) as her father Arthur Goulding left the home when Ellie was only five. "Your Biggest Mistake" is about her father leaving the family home. "I don't really speak to him, and I think I got everything into that song that I could," Ellie told Spinner UK. Ellie's later songs about her absent father such as "I Know You Care," and "Explosions" are less bitter and angry.
Ellie started playing the clarinet at the age of 9, followed by the guitar five years later. When she was 15, she began writing her own songs, winning a singing competition during her college years.
Ellie moved from her rural home to Canterbury to study drama at the University of Kent. She recounted the experience on "Wish I Stayed," one of the first tunes she ever wrote. Ellie told NME it is "a song about leaving the countryside, which still pains me."
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