SCHOOL friends said her visage resembled a rhombus while Robbie Williams cruelly jibed that she looked like a satellite dish, but Sophie Ellis-Bextor has ignored all her detractors to have an enduring pop career.
Having started out doing her best to ignite drab indie group theaudience, she effortlessly came out as a clubber with Groovejet (If This Ain't Love), which won a chart-based pouting war with Posh Spice back in 2000, and kick-started her disco-pop solo stardom.
Like all the best pop stars, there's something faintly preposterous about her. In an industry obsessed with maintaining street cred, she smashed through pop's class ceiling, with her distinctive crisply enunciated RP vocals. We catch up with her as she's awaiting a flight to a gig in Barcelona.
"You get to the point where you feel you've done pretty much everything in Europe in the name of promotion," she admits.
"Though I think singing Murder On The Dancefloor in Holland on a podium in the middle of an ice rink with skaters going around me was a highlight. It was just me and Leo Sayer on that show."
Last year, she "fell in love" with Manchester, courtesy of a tour with Take That. "I had to do most of my Christmas shopping there," she admits. She scrapped her own headlining gigs to support the Manband.
"We had a couple of really good Christmas parties,'' she recalls. "My favourite was the one where we all had to do a 'turn'. Gary and his wife did magic tricks and we all did a pantomime.
"It was a version of Blind Date, and I played a cross between Cilla Black and the Fairy Godmother."
Currently, she's working on album number four - the follow-up to 2007's Trip The Light Fantastic - with a retinue of blue-chip hit-factory writers, including Cathy Dennis, Richard 'Biff' Stannard, Calvin Harris and The Freemasons, as well as more leftfield talent such as Devon electro-poppers Metronomy.
Married to Richard Jones, bassist in The Feeling - with whom she has a four-year-old son, Sonny - the 29-year-old is "delighted" to be headlining Manchester Pride.
"To be honest, I mostly go out to gay clubs," she comments. "I think most women prefer them because the atmosphere is much better and all the blokes dance with you."
In fact, she even runs her own gay club night in Soho, called Modern Love, alongside husband Richard, DJ-ing under the brilliant guise of Me & Mrs Jones.
"We're still ironing out arguments over what to play," she laughs. "I'm quite a good barometer because if we're in a disco, I'm more likely to dance than he is. He'll try and play a really cool Soulwax remix of You Can't Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones, and I'm more into classics like Toni Basil's Mickey."
Furthermore, she's made an appearance in a new John Waters-esque horror musical called The Town That Boars Me, alongside Kelly Osbourne, Sadie Frost, and drag queen scenester Jodie Harsh.
"It's a dark little fairytale about a boy who's made a pig and goes around this little town stealing women's' high-heeled shoes. It's quite fantastical."
As this is our Pride special, CityLife has to probe: Sophie, have you ever had a lesbian experience?
"Well, nothing serious. I think I can kind of relate to that Katy Perry thing, you know," she replies. "It's something most girls can relate to when you're 15 or 16. But I've never taken a girl home to meet my mum (famed Blue Peter MILF Janet Ellis), if that's what you mean."
What do you make of pseudo girl-kisser Perry, whose No.1 chart single, I Kissed A Girl, has uncorked the ire of both Christians and some homosexuals?
"It think it's good fun," she says. "And it's a great song. And it's by Cathy Dennis, who really can do no wrong."
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Sophie likes Katy Perry's song!! (At the end of the article)
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