Year: 2011

British pop star Ellie Goulding was another act that used her time at SXSW wisely. Her No.1 debut album Lights was re-released in November 2010 with a new name—Bright Lights—and new singles, which got her a spot on Rolling Stone's "Hot List" a month before her SXSW debut.

Critics knew that her time in Austin would serve as a catapult in her career, so expectations were high and Goulding delivered. "Late in the night, I caught most of Ellie Goulding's set, and the British dance-pop star can easily win over a crowd," said Todd Martens of the LA Times. "The few studio songs I had heard hadn't totally wowed me, but live, with a pair of synths offering textures and a live drummer providing a kick, Goulding's likable personality seemed to be given more lift."

After SXSW, she performed at Coachella and had two back to back performances on Jimmy Kimmel and SNL respectively. Goulding also had another major milestone just weeks after SXSW, she performed at the Royal Wedding for Prince William and Kate Middleton. The couple's first dance was soundtracked by Goulding's cover of Elton John's "Your Song."