Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sophie Update '09

FINALLY!!!!! AN UPDATE!!! YAY!! (Leon was right!!)

Hello Sophie. How are you?
I'm really good actually.

The big news since we last caught up is that you now have a baby inside you.
I do! Quite a big one too. I'm at 28 weeks, so I've got 12 weeks left.

How's it been?
It's been really fine, luckily, touch wood. I didn't have as easy a time with Sonny, so I've been really appreciative of it this time, and enjoying it a lot more. I've had loads of energy and I haven't got swollen ankles! It feels like this whole pregnancy has been so much smoother and easier.

Do you know the sex of the baby?
We don't, no. It's going to be a surprise. But we honestly don't mind either way, and neither does Sonny. It really doesn't matter.

Are you all geared up for the arrival?
Um, I think so. I'm not sure. Every once in a while it dawns on us exactly what we're letting ourselves in for again. It's been five years since we had a tiny baby in the house, which is quite a big gap.
Every once in a while I'll have a flashback to like when Richard does the night feed and has to heat up the bottles, or just having to have all that stuff with you all the time, or the way they throw up a lot!
Plus, Sonny's got lots of little toys, which means there's loads of choking hazards around. So we've got all that kind of stuff to think about. But we'll be OK. I'm looking forward to it.

And Sonny's old enough to help out.
I hope so! He's certainly excited. I think he'll be a good big brother. He's started school last week actually. It feels like quite a big step, but he's been skipping out of school looking really happy and full of beans.

So, how was 2008 for you?
It was one of the best years I've had in a while, just doing lots of gigs and DJing and that sort of thing. It was really, really busy.
Plus, I was doing lots of songwriting and the album is now two-thirds written. The final third I'm reserving judgement on, because I want to keep writing for now. The plan is to get the album finished just before I have the baby, then take off three months, and then come back to work and bring out a new single and do another Rimmel campaign.
That'll be late summer sort of time. That's the plan anyway.

What was the highlight of last year's gigs?
The trip to Lithuania was unexpectedly lovely. I was asking loads of people beforehand and I couldn't find a single soul who'd been there.
But Vilnius is a really pretty little place. Very quaint and well kept, with lots of little cobbled streets. And the gig was great. It was part of this Nokia Trends Lab thing, with a full stage production and it was all just really well put together. Andy Cato from Groove Armada DJ'd after us and he was really good too. It ended up being a really fun night.

Did you party hard?
I was pregnant by then, so not really. But I managed to stay up quite late. Actually, I went to a wedding in Ireland recently where I stayed up until 5am! It's quite a different experience having to go to a wedding sober. At the start of the evening, you feel like you're missing out, even though I'm not a massive drinker. But then there's the bit where people cross over from having had 2-3 drinks to having 4-5. That's when you start feeling really glad that you won't be waking up with a hangover in the morning!

What's your non-alcoholic tipple of choice?
The choice is so boring! I like elderflower cordial if that's on offer. Otherwise it's just a bit of fizzy water or a cup of tea. I've definitely re-discovered the joys of tea recently.

Did you have a nice Christmas?
It was great, yeah. Very social, but very lovely. We managed to see loads of different friends and family. We had Christmas Day at home in London and I cooked for about 12 of us. Then we went down to Sussex to see family down there.

What did you do for new year?
Well, some friends of ours host a New Year's Eve party with about four other couples who live in the same area. We didn't really know what to expect, I was picturing maybe 30 or 40 people. But there were actually 370 people there.

I know! It was this massive party in the countryside. It was really good fun. And the couple we stayed with had a babysitter for their kids who we used too, which was handy. Actually, Sonny had been staying up quite late over Christmas, until like 10 o'clock. So I let the babysitter know that he would be up until fairly late. But it turned out that he stayed up until 1.15am! He watched Jools Holland with the babysitter!

What did you do at midnight?
We tried to go outside to watch some fireworks but it was *so* cold.
We lasted about three bangs and then went back in again.

And yet, last week the Daily Mail heralded you as a fine example of how to dress up warm.

Yes. You were in a black coat, yellow gloves and a yellow hat.
Ha ha! My mum said those gloves look like Marigolds.

Funnily enough the Mail did too. They wrote, "To brighten the bleak January weather take your cue from Sophie Ellis-Bextor who has jazzed up her double-breasted coat with a dazzling yellow beanie and leather gloves, not to be confused with Marigolds."
Ha ha ha! Well, if you're on a budget, Marigolds would do. Saying that, I actually got those gloves from Lithuania, where they have very cheap leather goods. But the funniest thing about that story is that the yellow hat is actually Sonny's! I was taking him to school and then I wore his hat home, because I was cold! Luckily he's got a big head and I've got a small one, so we can share.

So, can you tell us much about this new material?
Well, I've been working with Metronomy, which has been fun. And I did a track with Ed Harcourt which came out really well. Then there's a song called Sophia Loren which I did with Cathy Dennis and Chris Rojas. That's the soundtrack to the mascara advert I did with Rimmel.

You've hinted that might be a single.
I think it will be, yeah. There was talk of releasing it around the advert being on telly, but then I got pregnant. And I turn into a bit of a recluse when I'm pregnant.

Understandably so.
Yeah, it's quite a private time. And even when I've been doing gigs, I've been trying to wear stuff that doesn't look like I'm obviously pregnant.

Are you pleased with how the Rimmel ads have gone?
I am actually, yeah. It's been really nice and I haven't had anything but positive feedback from it. It's lovely when that happens. I waited quite a long time to find what I thought was the right fit with regard to doing something with a brand, but this felt like the right thing at the right time for me.

Will it be ongoing for a while?
I hope so, yeah. They've already signed me up for a few years.

Is that really your voice at the end of the ad?
Yes! I had to do it on the first day of the first shoot. It was mortifying, cos there must've been about 100 people on set. They had to call for absolute silence from everyone when they recorded the audio, which meant everyone was listening. It was quite embarrassing.

What's the line again?
Live the London look.

Did you get it right first time?
I had to say it quite a few times actually, just cos they wanted different inflections.

"Now say it like it's a question, now say it like you're angry..."
Yeah, all that! I was particularly good at surprised/curious. Ha ha!

So what's the first thing in your diary post-baby?
Well, I will be filming the next advert in July/August and I hope to be doing the first single's video around that sort of time. So I would think the single will going to radio around then too. I always get in trouble on the website when I give dates and then they change. But I don't want to release stuff if it's not right. Although saying that, I'm definitely not going to take as long with this album as I did with the last one!

Are you pleased with what you've got so far?
Yeah, it's coming together really well. The proof will be in the pudding, but I've been enjoying making this album. And I feel really well supported by the people at the record company.

You've been with them a long time.
I know, I think it's 8 years this year. And it's all the same people, give or take a couple of folk. It's been great. I had a very positive meeting with them all yesterday.

It sounds like 2009 is shaping up to be an exciting year for you.
I hope so, yeah. I'm going to be 30 in April and when I was approaching it, at 27 or 28, I didn't feel quite ready for the big 3-0. But now I'm starting to think that it's the best time for an artist. You feel more confident, you know what you're doing and you haven't got anything to prove. So, yeah, I'm optimistic that the best is still yet to come..

So basically
1. new album out sometime next year along with new single
2. new advert out sometime next year
3. baby is healthy and so is Sophie
4. the Metronomy thing is confirmed!!

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