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Ellie Goulding Dishes on Skrillex, Anxiety + the Ex Who Inspired ‘Halcyon’

Ellie Goulding
Francois Durand, Getty Images

“There were times when I felt like I was having a heart attack.”

Gearing up for the heavily anticipated ‘Halcyon,’ Ellie Goulding is making the press rounds and dropping some truth bombs about fame and how her life has been affected by it. The ‘Lights’ singer, who is usually pretty private, opened up quite a bit in a new interview with The Sun — revealing everything from her anxiety issues to her relationships with Skrillex and the ex who inspired the breakup record.Goulding explained that her anxiety problems were emphasized once she shot to stardom, but that she thinks fame only exacerbated — not created — her issues. “There was too much adrenaline and my heart was pounding,” she said. “It’s just such a horrible, horrible thing to go through. I hadn’t even released my first proper single when I started to feel the strain of attention. But I don’t believe that it was the attention that was giving me panic attacks,” she explained. “I think it was everything in my life colliding at the same time.”

Goulding’s pain wasn’t just in her head, either. Her anxiety attacks began to effect her physically, to the point where she sought medication just to deal with everyday things — but it didn’t work well for her. “It really did get to a serious point where I couldn’t even walk down the street without getting the pain,” she lamented. “I’d have a numb arm, a very strange lump in my throat and a really hot chest, like my heart was on fire. I had to take Diazepam but I found it debilitating. I couldn’t do anything so I had cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) instead and that actually really worked.”

She still feels the effects of her anxiety from time to time, but she’s learned to deal. “The other day I was in Germany and it was a really hectic day and I thought, ‘Oh God, here we go!’” she said. “But I laid down, started breathing, closed my eyes and told people not to talk to me, and then I was fine.”

‘Halcyon’ is essentially a breakup album, one that Goulding described as a “journey from dark to light. It’s personal to me, very personal.”

It’s also personal to her ex who inspired the album, Radio 1 DJ Greg James, who she dated for about two years. Though he knows the songs are about his relationship with Goulding, he doesn’t mind them at all — and is actually a fan of one in particular. “My songs are always about things I experience, and my ex knows that, and my guy now knows that and even my friends know that — everyone knows that,” she assured. “Greg and I are still friends. Yes, I was worried about what he’d think about these songs but he’s heard them and is fine. He’s always been a fan of my music, that’s how we met,” she said. “I don’t think he takes it too seriously. That period in our lives has passed now. We’ve moved on. He texted me the other day to say that he really liked ‘Figure 8.’”

Speaking of “her guy now,” was Goulding’s heavier new sound inspired by Skrillex? Not necessarily, she says. “People ask me that but no,” Goulding said. “They ask if I’ve copied his hair too but I had mine first!” she laughed. “I just met someone, fell in love with them and that’s it. He’s my guy and he influences me but only in the way that any boyfriend would influence a girl.”

What about the other way around? “As for me influencing him, I read somewhere that I made him feel more secure,” she said. “That was really nice. I felt a little bit like, ‘Ah!’ because he’s never said that to me. I think we’ve just been really good for each other and we motivate each other,” she gushed. “His lifestyle in general is pretty mental. He’s in a different place every day and at parties, but I’m very happy.” Too cute, these two!

The duo met and became smitten when Skrillex emailed Goulding to work on a track with him. She then sang ‘Summit’ on the EDM master’s ‘Bangarang’ EP, but they’ve continued to collaborate both personally and professionally.

“We also worked together on the soundtrack of ‘Spring Breakers,’ a Harmony Korine film starring James Franco. Then there’s another song which I think is going to be on another film. We’ll see,” she teased. (PopCrush fans know all about ‘Spring Breakers’ — and about Selena Gomez‘s role in the edgy film!)

We can’t wait to hear it — once, you know, we finally get ‘Lights’ stuck out of our heads.

Next: Vote for the Best Female Pop Star of 2012!

Watch the Ellie Goulding ‘Anything Could Happen’ Video

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