Singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding has stepped into the #MeToo spotlight, admitting that previous encounters with unnamed male producers who would ask her out for a drink after a recording session had her questioning situations early in her career, "experiences which, in my head, I sort of normalized and thought, ‘Oh, maybe this is just a thing.'"
As she spoke on BBC's Radio 4 Today program, she explained that she didn't like "disappointing people" and accepted those sorts of invitations only to have it turn into "a romantic thing when it shouldn't." Aware that she was "stumbling" into a male-dominated industry and more often than not, recording at studios that were all-male-run, she felt "vulnerable" and would wear baggy clothes "because I wanted to be there to work and to not have any distractions for myself or anyone else."
The #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017, with allegations involving sexual misdeeds placing multiple entertainment figureheads in the harsh spotlight — Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Matt Lauer most prominently. Those in the music industry have not been immune to either accusations or charges leveled at them — Sean Combs, Ryan Adams and Russell Simmons, for example — as more people call out behavior that is often still tolerated as an open secret.
Goulding added that with the environment turning tide, and recognizing the need for better protections, her record label Polydor provides chaperones and opportunities where young artists can "speak to a counselor or speak to someone about their experience as an up-and-coming musician."
"I think that was really, really important for people to keep speaking out about their individual stories, because I know a lot was happening and just wasn't being talked about," she said, referring to #MeToo and its impactful message since the phrase entered the public lexicon in 2006.
The 2024 Grammy nominee (for "Miracle" with Calvin Harris) has won numerous awards and accolades spanning her 13-year career, including a 2013 Q Award for Best Solo Artist. In 2017 she received the Global Leadership Award from the United Nations and is a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Environment. Her 2023 album Higher Than Heaven and "Miracle" were both at Number 1 in April on the UK Official Charts.