Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some really good pictures from the NGUOL shoot

Thank you Mr. Pop Labyrinth for the pictures.




















All pictures are taken from this site:
http://www.eastphotographic.com/artist.php?region=uk&div=Photography&artist=Sophie%20Muller#3

Sophie Muller is an amazing photographer, and these stunning pictures stand as proof to this statement. On her site, you will also find some amazing pictures of Shirley Manson (lead, Garbage), Duffy, Lily Cole and a few others.

In random Sophie news - "Leave Me Out Of It", the duet that Sophie recorded with The Feeling might be a single in the future. The Feeling (and Sophie, of course) are set to release their albums sometime in 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sophie's Straight To The Heart Tour: Reviews

xondus said:
Great gig from our Sophie tonight at the Academy! She looked stunning and was full of energy - vocals were good and on form throughout. She was drowned out by the backing band a lot though. I'm also not sure how well some of the more synth-y songs worked live - Bittersweet sounded like some random funk track with all that guitar and Not Giving Up fell quite flat for me. Most of the songs would have benefitted tremendously from having another synth player in the band but nevermind. Highlights for me were What Have We Started which was one of the tracks that really came together live, Get Over You, Heartbreak and Revolution - the latter is an absolute tune and I can't wait to hear it in studio form.. If we ever will, sigh. The crowd really got going during Can't Fight This Feeling as well which surprised me a bit seeing as it never really took off over here..
Oh and she failed to mention or even acknowledge the new album in any way... What on earth is the point of this tour if she's not plugging anything? Not even one simple 'here's another new track from my new album, which should be out this spring'... Mneh.


strictmachine79 said:
Sophie rocked again tonight... despite my manflu I made the Brighton and London gigs (just)... same songs, more chat at Brighton (though more to talk about - X Factor final, random balloon hanging around for the whole gig). All the friends I dragged along said the new stuff sounded better than her old stuff, after hearing Revolution live 3 or 4 times I think it's def the next best single option, love Dial my number too, but Starlight is def an album track (still love it though)... I thought Not giving up sounded great, they've beefed it up quite a bit since the pet shop boys tour...


China_Heart said:
Just back from the London gig as well. Sophie was absolutely amazing! I had such a wonderful time and she seemed to really enjoy the atmosphere!
The higlights of the evening for me were:
Today The Sun's On Us: gorgeous and one of my favourite songs from Sophie ever.
Not Giving Up On Love: I think the live version was stunning. The melancholic feeling really came through but at the same time it really made you want to dance!
Can't Fight This Feeling: really went down well with the crowd. I think it should get a proper release, it's bliss to dance to!
Revolution: absolutely breathless. Stunning track, it needs to be the next single.
But of course everything else was great as well. As someone mentioned before, the instruments were TOO LOUD and drowned Sophie's wonderful voice most of the time. That's my only complaint!
I can't believe nobody commented on her remark: "The good news is that I've asked all of your bosses to give you the day off tomorrow... But, actually, being friends of mine, I guess you ARE your own bosses..." Classic Sophie and so much fun! It shows she perfectly understands where she stands and she doesn't take herself too seriously! Loved it!


absintheboy said:
Amazing show! Yes, at times she was a bit drowned out by the band, but she has so much charisma as a performer. Lots of playful, witty banter with the audience and the *dancing* - ok, as we all know, our Sophs isn't the greatest daaarncer, but she carried off the moves she was doing really well.
I was pleasantly surprised about not only how well the "rockier" tracks like What Have We Started and the Rebellion cover went down with the audience, but also how great they sounded live. I've gone from being completely opposed to her ever doing anything but dance pop, to liking the idea of a synthy-rock album. The Lady (Hear Me Tonight)/Groovejet/Sing It Back medley was also a real highlight.
Revolution for the next single please. If we ever get one. I've no more faith that this album will ever see the light of day, but I'm so, so glad I caught her on tour. She's a natural live performer and (sometimes even I need reminding) a brilliant popstar.


misfitmenace said:
wow sophie was soooo good tonight, my highlights were dial my number, heartbreak, just cant fight this feeling, not giving up , today the suns on us and what have we started....... she should some great emotion during the slower songs, i was surprised and really touched.


christopher60 said:
Went to Sophie's concert in Brighton with my Wife last night. FANTASTIC! Superb show, brilliant sound - made up for the cancelled concert a few years ago! Can't wait for the new album and to see Sophie live again!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sophie And Freemasons won the Eurovision song contest.

United Kingdom has won the OGAE Song Contest 2010 with its entry "Heartbreak make me a dancer" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor. This worldwide known artist managed to gain 228 points from OGAE Clubs. The runner-up is Belgium (Stromae - Alors on dance ) with 139 points and the third positioned is Spain (David Bustamante - Abrazame muy fuerte ) with 133 points.

READ MORE:
http://www.oikotimes.com/v2/index.php?file=articles&id=9365
http://www.esctoday.com/news/read/16316

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sophie: Press Interview Report, Russia

REPORT ONE:
The first question, as usual, asked the singer about Samara.
I know where it is on the map, Ms Bextor replied with a smile. I've seen photos of the place where I will perform, and it looks very nice to me! I have been in just a few Russian cities, but I can tell one thing – Samara is closer to Moscow, than Vladivostok (laughs).

What do you like in the Russian cities?
I love to travel and visit places that are different from where I live. And this difference is felt as soon as you arrive in Russia. Here there is an atmosphere of "Russian-ness." Everyone asks "What's it like, how does it feel being in Russia?"

And how?
I come here so often that already I feel at home, very comfortable. Since August I have been here already at least another eight or nine times.

What was your first impression when driving in the car around town, looking out the window?
Do you know what I think? I was in Perm, and imagined that Samara would be something like this. But it was so much bigger. So what should I see?

A rocket, the Quay..
I saw a rocket!

And what were your impressions?
I was astonished that the missile is located among the houses! It seemed to me that it had been simply constructed and never used.

You perform at the Philharmonic. Don't you mind that the people will have to sit?
Perplexed! And won't they be allowed to stand?

"Hardly!" - a chorus of journalists retorted
But if they all stand at the same time, security will not be able to cope with them all. This will be my mission for today (laughs)!

What are you going to give us at today's concert?
Do you want me to enumerate all 16 songs? (Laughs). There will be some new singles, and songs from old albums.

You said that you want to record a duet with somebody whose style is quite different from your own: "The Killers", for example. Have you made any progress in that direction?
So far nothing is planned. Next year I'll work on a new single and ring up people. The New album is scheduled for release in February. I noticed that dance music is very popular in Russia, so the record will move in that direction.

At one time you declined a show for the sake of a family …
No, I did not refuse. It's simply that an album took longer to prepare. The only thing that I have refused was a concert in Russia for Christmas. My children would not have forgiven me. We celebrate Christmas as a usual English family – we buy gifts, a fir-tree, we decorate the house. Our family tradition – we hang up little gifts on a fir-tree, and give them after the big lunch in the afternoon. Do you make a promise to yourselves for New Year? Do you have such tradition?

It depends on the individual, each person thinks of something to promise. Do you have any lucky charms?
I've done so many gigs in recent times that I feel completely comfortable before the performance. Previously, I would not let anyone into the dressing room an hour before the concert. Now I feel much more relaxed about it.

Are you harassed by some anonymous admirer. Does he still write?
Now he behaves more calmly (laughs). I wrote about it in a song.

Would you like to bring your children to us?
Definitely! When my son turns seven years old, I'll bring him to Russia so that he will have memories to enjoy.

You're a married a woman, but your songs are about searching for love. How do you combine this?
When I write songs, I travel in time. And I remember that time of searching for love. It's more difficult to write about happiness.

There's a song: "Stars do not ride in the subway." The Russian star is really hard to see there. How do you get around?
I always go by buses, or on the underground. I like to lead a normal life as much as possible. I want my children to see reality. Although sometimes we go to parks and we do not stand in a queue (laughs). Here I show the power!

What would you like to see your children become?
The youngest said that he will be the chef or a Rugby football player - he runs about a lot and loves to eat. And the elder wants to work as a palaeontologist... or to draw Transformers (laughs).


REPORT TWO:

Did you know anything about Samara, before coming to our city?
I've looked at the map, so knew precisely that Samara is closer to Moscow than Vladivostok (laughs). Also, I saw photos of the concert hall where I'm going to play, and I liked the look of it very much.

Do you find it disconcerting that your audience will not be able to dance, but will just have to sit there?
They won't be allowed to stand up? I think if everyone wants to get up and dance, no-one will probably be able to stop them. I will try to make sure that happens.

What is your impression of our city?
I expected it to be something like the size of Perm, but it is much bigger. When I was driven round in the car, I saw a missile. I was surprised that a rocket stands among the houses. And it turns out that it is a museum.

Do you like to visit Russia?
Yes, I do. I've been here so many times. Even since August this year I have visited eight times already. Being here feels comfortable, almost like home.

Do you know of any Russian singers?
I'm still only just getting to know Russian music. I know Alla Pugacheva, known as the Russian Madonna. I also saw some Russian musician in Monte Carlo at the ceremony Music Awards; she is always changing her hair, but unfortunately the name has completely slipped out of my head, as I have a general difficulty remembering names.

You would like your kids to see Russia?
It's a must! My eldest son is now six. When he reaches seven, I plan to bring him here: I think he will get a lot of interesting impressions.

In your life, family is very important. At one time you refused performances to have a baby....
Actually I did not refuse for the sake of the family. It's just that I also have a role as a mum, so I can't concentrate solely on creativity, and I need a little longer to record a new album. Also I have had to refuse some offers - for example, to play in Russia on Christmas Day. My kids would not have forgiven me for that.

How do you and your family celebrate Christmas?
Like any normal English family: we set the Christmas tree, we decorate the house, we buy gifts. We still have an interesting tradition, but this happens after Christmas. Each person makes a New Year's Resolution - a promise to do something in the new year..

The romantic heroine of your song - a lonely girl looking for love, making new acquaintances. How do you write such lyrics, so far from your present life?
When I write a song, I like to travel back in time to a period when I was lonely, when I had a broken heart. It is no secret that it's much easier to write songs about a broken heart than a happy life.

Do you have any tradition, a ritual that you perform before the concert to ensure success?
I have appeared so often in different places that I already feel relaxed before the concert, and I have no need for rituals or talismans. Previously, I would not let anyone into my dressing room for one hour before the performance so that I could collect my thoughts, but now everything has become much easier.

What songs will you perform today?
I will perform 16 songs; some of them will be new, from my forthcoming album. But I do not like to offer a lot of unfamiliar things at a concert. I prefer to perform mostly already known hits.

When are you planning to release a new album and what will it be like?
The album will be released in February. It will be very danceable and electro.

Do you want to write a duet with someone for the next disc?
Maybe, but nothing has been planned precisely yet. Next year I will I start working on a new single and then I'll think about whom to offer a duet.


EXTRAS NOT IN REPORTS:
About your Make-up.
When I'm doing concerts and tours I do it myself. But when I'm doing videos and TV performances I definitely use professionals [laughs]. I'm OK but not amazing. So today, I'll do it myself today... but don't look too closely [giggles]..

Do you have a fan club and do you participate in it's activity?
Um, I don't know if there there is fan-cub really. I mean my website, my main website, I contribute to that and obviously things like Twitter, but um, I don't know; is there a fan-club?

Who are you following on Twitter?
Oh Golly! Loads of people. I follow Róisín Murphy, um Stephen Fry - lots of comedians, Steve Martin and Simon Pegg - yes funny people - Russell Brand and Katy Perry

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Interview with NRJ Radio, Kiev

thanks to Paul and Renzo for this.

DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW:
Kiev_interview_Part_1.avi http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TDTQ1E7P
Kiev_interview_Part_2.avi http://www.megaupload.com/?d=FEJYPO8V
Kiev_interview_Part_3.avi http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BIQ7FEAP


Hello Sophie

Hello, how are you?

I'm good. How are you doing?
Very good, thank you.

So I think at first we need to prove to our listeners that it's really you sitting here right now. How can we do this? Maybe...
Sing something?

Maybe singing us something
Where are we - in a heartbreak vein. [sings] I've tried to hold myself together, I still forget you've gone away

Yes, that's right! This is Sophie Ellis-Bextor [claps hands].
All right, Sophie, first I want to say thank you for coming, for visiting our city once again. We've been really waiting for this day, and we are a big fan of yours really.
Ah, I love Kiev too, so I'm happy to be here.

Yes, because you've been here in Kiev a year ago. Can you tell us what's happened over this twelve months in your family, in your career, and how tonight's show will differ from the one a year ago?
Well, I have really fond memories of my gig here a year ago; I remember it very well, so if I can recreate some of the same atmosphere I will be very happy. It's a Saturday night; it's a very clubby show that I do here, very dancey. My main aim is to warm everybody up because it's winter out there. Lots of high tempo music so we can all have a boogie.

Sophie, your fourth album, Straight to the Heart, is filled with a lot of dance-style music. [Sophie nods affirmatively] You collaborate with a lot of heroes of dance music - Freemasons, Calvin Harris, Armin van Buuren, Junior Caldera. Is it all because you started DJ-ing with your husband, making a DJ duo?
I'm sure that played a part in it, yes. I mean when you DJ you've got those songs sounding so fantastic, so loud, all you want to do is dance. I think that must have influenced what I am doing. But also the first couple of songs that were written for this album, were with Calvin and Freemasons and I think that really set the tone. And once you've got songs sounding as phenomenal and dancy and electro as that it's quite hard to mix in different genres, so it ended up being a very dance-centric record.

So how is your DJ career doing?
It's doing fine, thanks. We just started it as a bit of fun really, so it's pretty crazy that it's something we still do. I'd say we probably do a couple of things a month - they'd be parties or a club night. Besides we fly to other places and do private things. So yes, it's been lots of fun, it's been great.

It's called Modern Love, right?
Modern Love was the first club, and now we do one called Love To Love, with other people.

So maybe next time Sophie Ellis-Bextor will come to Kiev to DJ, to make a party, can it be?
I would be very happy to come and DJ, I love playing. I mean you know yourself there's nothing more satisfying than playing songs you love really loud and watching the reaction. It's great!

So Sophie, about the hit, Not Giving Up On Love; can you give us the recipe how not to give up on love?
Um, well, a recipe... I don't know. I'm still in the earlier stages of the long-term love thing I guess. But that song is about that feeling you get when you know the odds are against you and maybe you are both under a lot of stress and there a lot of horrible things going on. You just have each other, and you come to rely on each other. I know my husband and I are like that with each other. Our jobs can be pretty full-on sometimes and its just really nice when we can go home. That's what gives you your core, you know - that's the bit that makes you re-build again.

There are some beautiful scenes in this music video. Where did you shoot them?
Ah, that was in Ibiza. The video director I worked with for the Not Giving Up video is a lovely woman called Sophie Muller, and we basically start each video thinking, "where do we want to go on holiday?". We thought, what about Ibiza, and Armin was there doing his DJ in Amnesia. So it all worked out. We went over to Ibiza, saw Armin there, had a couple of days on a boat, and by my friends' pool. It's actually my friends' house that we used. They have a beautiful house in Ibiza.

This was summer, right?
Yes, it was August.

Right, so let's leave this Ellis hit and go back a little bit. You started your career in '97 as a singer in theaudience band, right? Then after this in a couple of years you started singing solo, and it's almost ten years that you sing as Sophie Ellis-Bextor. So do you have your favourite tracks, say your top five?
The top five of my singles? Ooh..

Or are they all your "babies", your "children"?
No, I do have ones that I love doing. I mean songs like Murder on the Dance Floor and Groovejet are always just so brilliant to do live. Heartbreak, I have to say, is a very exciting track live, it really sounds so massive; I think those Freemasons are really clever guys. There's a song I did on the last record called Today the Sun's On Us, which is more of a ballad, and it was quite fun to do something that was different. I would probably put Not Giving Up in there because it's my latest one. I think you're always the most excited about your new one.

Now I want to ask you, you have two beautiful sons. By-the way, how are they?
They're good, thank you

Are you taking them with you?
No, it's not fair, there's too much travelling. I'll be home on Tuesday night.

So maybe they have favourites of your songs?
With my one-year-old it's hard to tell. He kind of head-bangs to everything. My six-year-old quite likes a couple of the album tracks from new record. There's one called Magic that starts with this quite high "poo-poo-poo-poo, poo, poo"[sings], and I hear him around the house playing with his toys singing this little bit. Maybe one of those ones might be his favourite.

We know that for your first-born baby you made the hit Supersonic. So maybe what about making a hit to honour to your second baby?
I know, first babies get a lot more attention that way, don't they. It was actually a song called Love Is Here that I wrote for Sonny. You know, I think both of the babies are infused in this record anyway. I mean you can't write except from experience. They're both represented and that's what I'll tell my second child when he's older - "Yes, you're in there, Darling. Maybe you haven't got one song but you're in amongst the whole album".

I hear you made a video after your second baby was born - it's Heartbreak, right?
Right. Ten weeks after.

You're singing there Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer. How do you go through your obstacles in your read life?
Like a lot of people, I do use music as my companion, whether it's to celebrate happy things, to let out when you're feeling angry or sad - you know, it's completely autobiographical. I've definitely been in that position where you're feeling really heartbroken and you go out to a club and feel you've just got to dance through this. I think that's human nature actually.

Yeah, I feel the same. I want to ask you who inspires you, what kind of music, what are you listening to, what do you have on your iPod, your iPhone?
Um, what have I been listening to? It's quite diverse really. I like listening to dance music, but I quite often listen to old disco, and old Michael Jackson and David Bowie, or I listen to bands like Phoenix or Arcade Fire. You know those people here?

Yes, they're all here.
Yes, it's quite a big mixture. There's a lot of chart stuff I think is brilliant. I think, you know, Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry... There are loads of good people out there.

If you were to sing a duo with some artists, who would you take with you to sing?
On the world of dance it would be quite fun to do something with David Guetta. For a duet I'd like to sing with another female artiste, because it's quite unusual see women singing together. I think that might be fun. So maybe someone like Gwen Stefani or Nelly Furtado - I like their voices. Or maybe Brandon Flowers from The Killers; he's got an amazing voice.

Sophie, we know you were offered a major role in Moulin Rouge!" Can you tell of all those characters the one that most fits you?
Well, I have to say I was not actually offered a part. I just auditioned. I met with Baz Luhrmann. Nicole Kidman is the only person I know who was offered it. So who would I like to do? Well did you ever have the series Twin Peaks?

Yes
Maybe I could be a character from Twin Peaks.

Which one?
Maybe Audrey.You know the hotelier's daughter, with the dark underside. That would be fun. That's why I learnt to tie a cherry stalk in a knot with my tongue watching that.

Now Murder on the Dance Floor. Which year was that?
2001

In the video you win a dance competition using all sorts of crafty ways. Has this happened in real life in show business?
I do think of all the videos I've done this was the most fun because I sat down with the director (Sophie Muller again, the same one who did Not Giving Up) and we made a list of the most awful ways we could get rid of people if we were in a competition. It ranged from poisoning people or make them slip on butter, to making it look as though one of the boys had an affair. It was great, I really enjoyed making that video.

Now I can't imagine Sophie Ellis-Bextor performing without heels, without baby-doll style dresses, red lipstick and sometimes {trait?} on their eyes. Is it, Sophie, your own style, or do you have a stylist telling you how to dress and what to do?
No, I'm a real creature of habit. I've loved that look, that sort of 1950s, sometimes 1960s look, since I was little. Sometimes I do my own makeup for the shows and I help design what I'm wearing for the gigs. Sometimes I think, "maybe I should try something different" but I always end up coming back to the same stuff because it's my favourite. I always do the black {tick?}. It's not always red lipstick; sometimes it's pink or orange - I love all of that.

So you just feel just comfortable with {tail?}, right?
Exactly.

The blonde time, was your idea, right?
Yes - it was rubbish I know!

So never again, right?
I don't know. It served its purpose. I was going through a bit of a transition, so that is what it was about really.

One more question for the girls - one of the most popular. How after two babies, you kept your body so perfect and skinny. How did you do it, please tell us your secret - especially for me.
Well, Firstly I didn't really have such a brilliant figure to start with, so I did not have such a high standard to return to! I didn't do any diets or anything like that, but with both children after about a year I started feeling like myself again. Just by going to the gym - and I jump around a lot on stage - in about 12 months I was back to normal.

How many times a week do you go to the gym?
I try to go three time. But sometimes it's just twice or once, or not at all.

An interesting question - have you read any hoax stories about yourself on the internet or in magazines?
I think the biggest one I heard was I was going to be in Friends - the American comedy. I read this whole story about how I'd been offered a part, and how excited I was to be doing it. It was all complete rubbish, I'd love to have done it, but....

Do you like the sit-com, Friends?
O yes, very funny!

What is your favourite character?
I think it might be Ross, I think he's funny. David Schwimmer plays him well.

A big holiday is coming, Christmas and the New Year. What are you planning to do? Will you be celebrating with your family, or working, or not working?
Christmas I will definitely be at home and not working. It's a really exciting time in our house, especially with two little boys. They can't wait, and every day it's all the Advent Calendars, and we're going to get our tree on Wednesday, and decorate it. I've actually got 18 people at my house on Christmas day that I've got to cook for.

So it's like a tradition every year in your house?
It has been for the last little while, yes. And then for New Year, ideally I'd be singing somewhere because I don't really like New Years Eve. So I'd rather work.

And the last question. If I were Santa Claus right now, what presents would you like?
Well, I'm always partial to the same stuff, you know, clothes, and nice shoes, and so on. But what would I really like? Well we moved house not that long ago, so anything for the home. I'm very inspired by a programme called Mad Men. So any of that 1960s-inspired home-ware. Beautiful! I'd like any of that. And I need some new luggage - I need a mid-sized overnight bag. Something like that would be good.

Sophie, I wish all your dreams come true. Thank you very much one more time for coming [all applaud] . We wish you a great performance tonight, a cool concert, and make us dancers!
Yes, Yes, I shall. I'll make it my mission.

Thank you very much. See you tonight.
Thank you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Arena Moscow Set List

HOLD YOUR BREATH!

1. Intro (some new song & Heartbreak, instrumental)
2. Dial My Number
3. Bittersweet
4. Take Me Home
5. Me & My Imagination
6. Today the Sun's on Us
7. What Have We Started?
8. Starlight
9. Rebellion (Lies)
10. Can't Fight This Feeling
11. Not Giving Up
12. Get Over You/Lady (Hear Me Tonight)/Groovejet/Sing It Back
13. Heartbreak
Encore:
14. Revolution
15. Catch You
16. Murder on the Dancefloor

An Arcade Fire Cover. Modjo's Lady with Groovejet in a medley with a Moloko cover! WHAT HAVE WE STARTED!! What an AMAZING, scratch that, FUCKING AMAZING set list! If only she could squeeze in "You Get Yours" in there - it would be the ultimate party set-list!

Here are:

Not Giving Up On Love (and it sounds 10x better live - too bad the album version isn't like this)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDxVGeKz4w0

Bittersweet (Snippet)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDJtdixzwa0

Can't Fight This Feeling (Snippet) - AMAZING!!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDJtdixzwa0

Sing It Back/Groovejet (Medley) - Sophie rules! Roisin would be proud!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT1VF_N-Ha8

Lady/Groovejet (Medley) - kinda odd to hear Sophie sing Lady
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ__y5FtYi8

Revolution - THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL WAITED FOR
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8f8JrRvVoM

Also, in a recent Russian interview, Sophie stated that the album is called "Make A Scene" again. Lets hope this is true. Make A Scene befits the album, the genre, the situation it is in now...it's perfect!!! If you attend her concert, make sure you upload as many videos as you can...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

TimeOut with Sophie

Your Istanbul debut was at the Efes One Love Festival in June, where you garnered lots of attention. But you’ve been releasing albums since 2001. After all this time, can you explain the sudden influx of attention you received here?
Yeah, I loved it. When I was booked to come for the festival, I didn’t know what to expect. It felt like a special moment when I was [in Istanbul], I turned to my manager and said, “Why haven’t I been here before?” The crowd was wonderful; it was really a special festival for me. The latest singles have been successful, like Heartbreak, and of course, working with Armin and Freemasons.

Are there other cities that have unexpectedly fallen head over heels for you in this way?
Other countries [where I was surprised at the attention I received, were] Russia, Ukraine and Poland. It’s been really lovely and it’s great when things keep evolving. It’s nice to be taken on an unexpected journey.

Tell us about your new album 'Straight to the Heart.' Does it differ, in genre, from your previous albums?
I don’t think it differs very much in genre. It takes all the dancy elements from the others. Though, I think this one is a lot more genre-specific.

Who did you work with on this album?
Lots of people, like Freemasons, Armin Van Buuren, Metronomy and Liam Howe. Quite a mixed bag of dance music with people who set the scene for this kind of music. Normally, I’m a lot more scattergone.

You started a DJ project called Modern Love with your husband. Where did the name of this project come from and what do you play?
The title [of this project] comes from a David Bowie song. I love David Bowie. We play songs about love, if you’ve been broken-hearted, lusting after someone, happy in love…to be honest, [this type of stuff] is what most music is concerned with. We started this a couple years ago, and it’s something that has taken off. But not as a day job, I do it in my spare time.

You’ve joined Take That, George Michael and the Pet Shop Boys on tour. Are there any other artists you’re hoping to support?
It would be nice to tour with some girls. I always tour with blokes. When I toured with the Pet Shop Boys, it was like a dream come true because I’ve loved them since I was little. It distracted me from doing a solo tour.

Will you get to spend much time in Istanbul this time around? If so, what are you looking forward to doing here?
I don’t really know how much time I have to spare, because I fly in the night before the show and fly out right after. More Turkish food. [In June] we went to a restaurant to have Turkish food and then after the festival, we went back to the same place. When I got home, I tried to recreate [Turkish food]. But I didn’t have all the ingredients. I’ll have to pick up ingredients…eating more. That’s why I tour, to eat.

In an interview with the The Guardian, you say that you are “experimental” with your own style, which has attracted the attention of Glamour magazine, who love your ‘2010 disco vibe.’ What’s your fashion philosophy and what’s your advice on creating, and maintaining a unique personal style?
I’m 31 now and I think I still make mistakes, but good mistakes. It’s fun and I love getting dressed up. If you’re a pop star, you get to use that to your advantage and wear lots of fun clothes. I have my own look and play it safe, and get to be a bit boring. I have an addiction, I love shopping. The people who I think are stylish are the people who dress their personality in their clothes. Fashion is so dictatorial. I think experimenting, not looking forwards, but looking backwards is great. Young people have the advantage of looking great with anything. It shouldn’t matter if you wear one thing one day, you can always try something new the next day.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.timeoutistanbul.com/english/6737/the_bittersweet_belle_is_back

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview in 69 Degrees Mag

Occasionally the ping of the office inbox announces the arrival of information destined to distract, to cause a commotion, and, sometimes, send hearts a flutter. This was one such occasion. Sophie Ellis-Bextor is polishing her disco boots and heading back on the road, do we want a chat? Since half the team admitted their communication skills with the divine dance floor diva would probably extend to screaming 'We love you Sophie' repeatedly down the line, they were given other jobs to do and I gave her a call, says Julia (Martyr) Sherwood.

A concise and friendly hello greets me, is it her? I think it maybe but it's rare for an interview not to be patched through or PR controlled, so I'm a little wary. I tentatively state I was told to call this number to speak to Sophie Ellis-Bextor? A cheery 'You've done the right thing and this is Sophie.' Hurrah. Pleasantries over we get down to the matter at hand.

'What are you up to?'
'At the moment pretty much all my attention is going on the tour. We're working very, very hard to ensure the crowds are entertained. It's my first one for a while.'

That's a slight understatement. Though not a recent stranger to live performances, of late she's been performing under other artists' banners. On support slots for recent tours of the Pet Shop Boys and Take That she's learnt a lot from her experiences. 'The best gigs are those when you do it like it's your last.' It's heartening to hear, we've all been to gigs where it's been phoned in. Is it difficult, to go out there and give it some welly when you're not foremost on the audience's minds? Particularly where a certain rejuvenated and resurrected boy band is concerned? She laughs, 'It's funny; I'd not given it much thought, as to how an arena full of girls would perceive me. You have to be their friend, not foe. I totally loved it. I had a great time on that tour. It was Christmas time and we were having lots of parties, they're such wonderful hosts.'

Now it's her name on top of the bill, for the first time since 2003 ('I'm a bit embarrassed that it's been so long') it's not entirely untoward to think she may be nervous? 'No, I'm really looking forward to it. It's not like I've not been performing, so I'm not nervous, more excited, there's so much material to go through.'

Ten years of material, in fact. Despite first coming to prominence in the late 90s with indie rock band Theaudience, it's as a solo artist she really caught out attention. Namely with that chart battle against a certain Mrs Beckham. In retrospect, poor Posh didn't stand a chance. The track won hoards of awards and was recently named the decade's most played track on radio. ('I can't believe that, you'd think it'd be Kylie or something.')

The tune's success must partly derive from its freshness. It's got a timeless quality that even ten years on, still sees it fill a dancefloor. Maybe she'll sing it on tour, she did say there'd be a real mix of old and new stuff. 'I've been doing lots (of new material) at other shows, so some folk will recognise them. I'm not going to bombard people with songs they don't know, but some of them are so immediate they will get them.'

The new material is from her forthcoming album, Straight to the Heart. 'I felt like the album needed to be really positive, and unabashed', she explains, 'if it's your fourth record you don't want to be apologetic about it. I like pomposity in pop and confidence and chutzpah.' We like your style, Sophie. Teaming up with some of the biggest names in the business ('I enjoy the process of working with other people, I've been very spoilt') the list reads like a Who's Who of dance and pop: Freemasons, Greg Kurstin, Calvin Harris, Cathy Dennis, Metronomy, Richard X and Armin Van Buuren. So, any favourites? 'Well, they are all shiny and new at the moment. Hopefully there is something for everyone on there, but the top ones for me are 'Revolution' that I did with Cathy Dennis and Greg Kurstin; it's a bit different for me - a bit tougher. There's one called 'Starlight' with Richard X, which I think is really pretty and it's got a nice wistfulness about it. I do love 'Off & On' too, which I did with Calvin Harris, Róisín Murphy and Cathy Dennis. It's a sexy dance record.'

It's enough to make us dizzy and Sophie too sounds quite giddy about the album. Although it's finished, it won't be out until March, as, she explains, some collaboration singles are to be released abroad first. For the immediate future, you wanna hear the new stuff; you get tickets for the tour. But what can we expect from the shows? 'I want it to be a real party crowd and atmosphere. The material is quite clubby, so it should make for a shiny dancey night. I'm talking the best elements out of the shows I've been doing and putting them together. Not every night will be exactly the same, you need to have ebb and flow with different dates. It's a bit like painting a picture - sometimes you need something else in the palette.' Hmm, intriguing.

Sophie's sense of style is bound to be a significant part of the mix, though surely. Practically salivating I enquire as to the outfits. There's a pause and a low, drawn out 'Oooo I can't reveal too much right now. I've been working with a British designer to put some fabulous costumes together.' Which one? 'Can't say.' What kind of costumes? 'Can't say' Yes, despite my intense questioning and using all the investigative journalist tricks in my (slightly battered, Moleskine) notebook (I ask a couple more times) She's mute on all things stage sartorial.

What about fashion generally - how would she describe her style? Here there's no hesitation. 'It's quirky and cartoony, a lot of bright colours and bold patterns, but feminine. Very vintage too. I collect lots of vintage dresses; my wardrobe is 50-50 old and new. With vintage you're always looking for that piece and you have to get it then, as you may not see it again.'

She enjoys the freedom from trends getting older gives you. ('I'll leave the aviator look, thanks') but admits to being a 'proper consumer'. 'It's the feeling of getting one more thing, then I'll become that person I always wanted to be'. It's a feeling most of us can probably relate to, but who is that persona for Sophie? She ponders. 'I don't really know who this is. You can put something together and feel really right can't you? It's individual but classic, glamorous but accessible.' She laughs, 'all these adjectives that don't really matter but seem to at the time.'

Sophie on: Fashion
I love a nice winter coat- I enjoy wrapping up warm.

Sophie on: Designer Clothes
It's lovely, it's aspirational but having more affordable lines is great- especially with the current climate. Love the Lanvin range for H&M.

Sophie on: Djing
I really enjoy it. Richard and I have been doing it for a couple of years. It definitely doesn't take priority over the music we're making, but it's a fun thing to do together.

Sophie on: X Factor
MY favourites are Cher, Mary and Rebecca. They have voice I like to listen to and feliver extraordinary performances for people who've never done it before.

Sophie on: Other artists
There are loads of good women around. I went to see Beyonce and she was incredible. I like Florence, Goldfrapp, Debbie Harry. I listen to more female vocalists than men. I'm a pop fan, a big fan of melody and lyric, I like to find my way through song with that.

Sophie on: The club scene
I don't think it's on its last legs - the opposite. It's the rise of the DJ. The scene is as vibrant as ever. We can have and Island mentality here, but look, David Guetta is having number ones in America.

Sophie on: Make Up
Just done the shoot for the new Rimmel campaign. I love that job. It's like a teenage dream. It was the first brand I ever bought, I have to pinch my self when doing it.

Sophie on. Christmas
I love Christmas. I'm cooking the traditional dinner for 14. I've had to start shopping already, because I'll be so busy with the tour. How's it going? Sloooowwly.


Harpers Bazaar Shoot

ORIGINAL POST: http://www.louiseconstad.com/blog/?p=542

They're in really high quality. Click on the pictures to enlarge









Two Russian Interviews


ORIGINAL ARTICLE - (TIMEOUT.RU): http://www.timeout.ru/journal/feature/16818/

Sophie, not so long ago you were at Red Square. What were your impressions?
It is an amazing place! Not many people are lucky enough to sing there. I’ve been to Moscow about twenty times, so I have already visited the Kremlin and other sights. Besides, each time I come I try to visit interesting and trendy places – restaurants, clubs and bars. In this respect Moscow is not a bit inferior to London. I’m not one of those people who spend every day of their visit in a hotel room. Moscow is so beautiful, colourful, and humming with life and I am very impressed.

You describe your new album, “Straight To The Heart”, as more strict compared to your previous ones. Why?
It has just as much of a dance style as the previous albums, but this one is more electo-, which gives it a tighter sound. It will be an excellent sound for club parties.

For this album you worked on a track “Off & On” from Róisín Murphy. Now she is off the scene, busy raising her little daughter. How did you agree about the collaboration?
She was invited by Calvin Harris, one of the producers of the disc. I have been on friendly terms with Róisín for many years. She rocks and is very talented.

You became the face of the cosmetics brand, Rimmel. With your good looks, you could become a successful model.
I would definitely not agree to this. Art is too important for me to want a career as a mannequin – although I am certainly pleased by your compliment. Yes, I do work as a model when posing for the covers of my albums, but I always take part in the discussion of the concept. Models are deprived of such opportunities.

OK, I think you would have made a good actress. In your videos you successfully portray the persona of a ruthless little bitch, whereas people who know you personally say you are a very sweet person. By-the-way, which is your favourite video?
Most of all I love the very first – “Take Me Home”. It’s a little magical. It was shot by Sophie Muller, who also worked with Beyoncé, Pink, Gwen Stefani. She makes great videos. We had, incidentally, worked on several videos. Because she is easy to talk to, she can create a very warm atmosphere. I can trust her more, woman to woman. And Sophie never puts me under pressure.

Thanks to Paul for the translation.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=fi&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Flenta.ru%2Farticles%2F2010%2F11%2F27%2Fbextor%2F
Thanks to Makke for the link and Paul for the translation

You have been involved with music from the age of 13. When did you realise this was to be your vocation?
Well, when I was 13 I merely took part in various school productions, just like any schoolchild. The desire to devote myself to music came much later, when I was 16. That was when I began to sing in a group, and I realised, this is what I had been looking for. Until then I had considered all sorts of different occupations.

And what, for example, were some of these?
Well, for example, for a while I wanted to be a lawyer. Then at one time I even wanted to be a journalist…

Normal sorts of jobs
[laughs] No doubt! These professions appealed to me because I always liked to write, and to build constructive arguments. Then at one time I thought of becoming an actress as I had the possibility of participating in several plays. But when I sang, I felt on top of the world, and none of these other good occupations could compete with that.

Describe how you decided to get your celebrated tattoo “Family” on your shoulder.
In all honesty I always wanted a tattoo, and knew that when the time was ripe I would go for it. That time arrived when I had given birth to my first son, and I was getting married. You must understand that I take the concept of family very seriously; indeed family is the one thing that keeps us sane in these times. For me, “family” includes all those people for whom I care and vice versa – not just blood relatives.

And what do you think of people who criticise your music?
It’s quite normal. If you are in the public’s eye you must expect some criticism. And what could be more public than singing on a stage? I cannot attempt to please everybody. Even so, I will say this: as a singer I would prefer to be disliked by some people than to be loved by everyone. After all, if some people dislike your work it means you are doing something different from what they are used to.

Do you read criticisms of yourself on the Internet?
Sometimes, yes. But to be honest, to read about oneself - Googling one’s own name – this is not a very good idea. You know how it is in school when you enter a room and everyone immediately stops talking? You just know they were talking about you. Well reading about yourself on the Internet is like eavesdropping on that conversation you were not meant to hear. That is why I try to resist the temptation of reading about myself. After all, even reading horrible things about oneself is a form of egotism. I try to stop myself doing that and to look for more important things.

Your present music differs radically from what you played earlier with the group “theaudience”. Was it a difficult transition from Brit-pop to dance-music?
Oh, of course not, it was not difficult at all. When theaudience split up, I had the opportunity to work with DJ Spiller, and together we did the song “Groovejet”. This opened my eyes to the fact that I can make a completely different sort of music. Although if I am honest, even now elements from my time in theaudience creep into my songs. I’m probably the only person who can see these intersections of my different projects, but I assure you they are there.

Do you miss those good old times?
No, No. I liked to sing, but frankly the indie scene did not please me. Life there is very rigorous and cliquey. You have to know precisely what music is in fashion and what is out. When I changed my style, I left all that behind, and enjoyed the new freedom it brought. I do not regard it as a loss at all – I think pop music is beautiful, whereas with the indie-scene there are these “real geniuses” where I obviously I do not fit in.

You write songs for yourself. Where do you draw inspiration to write about all these things – boys, acquaintances in the clubs, the broken hearts? You have a good marriage, a family, and everything is fine.
Yes, everything is fine. However I have experienced much less successful relationships earlier in my life. And I tend write songs not so much about grief and broken hearts, as about the process of transition, which is something everyone experiences - for example the transition from one relationship to another, from one emotion to another. And it happens that you hear the music and get the urge to write something. But I agree, just writing songs about being a happy wife would be dull.

Speaking of family, how do you find time for that?
I admit it is complicated, even chaotic. On the other hand my three boys know of no other life. From the morning I try to be mum, I take my sons to school, spend some time with my husband. Sometimes I’ll do some housework. Then I’ll get to work on my music and other things. I try to get home early enough to put my children to bed. After that I am occupied with still more musical matters. And when I am on tour, I try not to be away from home for too long. In general there is only one simple rule – sleep less!

Which musical instruments do you play?
Well, I play my beloved piano in my free time, and I compose songs. Once I leant to play guitar, but I seldom pick it up now.

What music do you like?
When I want to relax I listen, for example, to Julie London; her voice is soothing. Then I love groups like Air or Arcade Fire. Sometimes I want something more cheerful and vigorous – then I’ll listen to something from Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince.

How about something heavier? Metallica, for example?
In our family, that’s more like the sort of thing my husband listens to.

And, by the way, don’t you get proposals of marriage from your fans?
No – not you too! [laughs]. But even if they were to propose, there’s one problem – I’m already married. Richard is simply a good person who loves me for what I am – without my high heels and make-up. When I am being an ordinary woman, not a pop star. After all it is very important to have a man with whom you can speak freely.

One last question. Did you prepare something special for the Russian fans?
Certainly! Honestly, I can hardly wait for the concert! I think it will be the most epic overall both in the size of the audience and in scope. I will try to make sure that no one who comes will regret it.

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