Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sophie in Mail Online


'I did a disco for Bill Gates. His dance style is surreal': The world according to Sophie Ellis-Bextor

The singer on the Microsoft billionaire's skills on the dancefloor and travelling the world - but sometimes just for six minutes

Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s solo career is now entering its second decade, after she first emerged as a chart-topping singer in the Noughties. Since then she has gone from pop star to 32-year-old mother of two with a rock-star husband. But it hasn’t always been an easy ride.

‘I tasted huge success with my first album, and when it’s happening it feels like a roller coaster you can’t get off,’ she says. ‘You should be very careful about wishing for success on that scale.’

The daughter of Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, she started out with indie band Theaudience in the late Nineties aged 18, before hitting the big time with the single Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), a collaboration with Italian DJ Spiller. It was released in 2000 and became a huge summer anthem.

Her debut album Read My Lips followed a year later, and sold two million copies worldwide. In addition to singing, Ellis-Bextor is also a model and DJs regularly with husband Richard Jones, bassist with The Feeling.

The couple live in London and have two sons, Sonny, seven, and Kit, two.

The iPod wouldn’t have existed without me.
I’ve heard from reliable Apple sources that my first single with Spiller was used to demo the iPod. It’s quite cool imagining Steve Jobs listening to it and thinking, ‘This white box will work – it sounds great!’ No one’s ever recognised my contribution to it in any way over at Apple. In fact, it’s only ever cost me money, because the whole house is full of Apple gear as a result. A musician can’t live without it now.

Bill Gates’s dance style is very surreal.
I have a nice sideline with my husband, as we DJ as Mr and Mrs Jones. It was a bit of fun that blossomed into a business. We get asked to do some very flash gigs, too. Perhaps the best we’ve ever done was a private gig at a mansion in Antibes for a Russian oligarch. It was hugely lavish affair that included Bill Gates on the guest list. His dancing is unique. He does a kind of clap to the front and a clap to the back, and a shuffle. We were taking golf-buggy rides in the grounds later on when we crashed one into the manicured flower beds. About six plain-clothes security men appeared from nowhere. We thought we were going to be thrown out, but they just took the buggy away and brought us another one.

The Royal Wedding made me very proud to be British.
I hired a pub in east London with the boys from The Feeling. We made a real effort. We all had to wear wedding gear – nice dresses, big hats, buttonholes – and the music was classic wedding cover tunes. I wouldn’t say I’m a staunch royalist, but to turn my nose up at the big day would have been ridiculous. In fact, as a toddler I was at a street party for Charles and Diana’s. There’s a picture of me holding a balloon and a little Union Jack in our street. I think that a bit of pomp and circumstance is no bad thing, and who doesn’t like a good wedding?

I’m big in Russia, but no one’s quite sure why.
The theory I keep hearing is that apparently I look rather Russian. Whatever the reason, I love going there. Richard and I took an overnight train last year from Moscow to St Petersburg, which felt really exotic and romantic in a very old-fashioned way. We spent most of the journey getting drunk in the dining car on vodka and looking out of the window. Later on, I fell out of the top bunk as I was trying to get into bed and gave myself a huge bruise on my leg.

My work takes me all over the world – but sometimes just for six minutes.
I did one gig in Beirut that involved a six-hour flight. I had a shower at the hotel, changed, spent six minutes on stage, turned round and came back. It was a blur. I did another in Vladivostok that involved a 15-hour flight. I jumped on stage for a couple of numbers, turned around and came back. There was another in Azerbaijan when I had no one to go with, two tickets and a hotel room, so I took my eldest son. He went into school on the Monday and they asked, ‘What did you do at the weekend?’ He said, ‘I went to Baku for the day.’

The X Factor is great entertainment, but it doesn’t prepare people for getting chewed up and spat out by the music industry.
If you’ve come out of the other side of that machine and been dropped, it can feel like a very lonely place. The contestants have no experience of it, whereas most regular musicians start with nothing and plug away for a long time on lots of projects that don’t go anywhere, so they’re prepared for the knocks.

My addiction to eBay scares me.
I used to trawl round charity shops and vintage stores, but eBay changed all that. I’m an addict. I’ll sit there with a glass of wine and my laptop while the TV’s on in the evening and surf away. The possibilities are endless. There’s always something that catches your eye.

I have a one-armed bandit and a pinball machine in my kitchen.
I use them when I’m waiting for pans to boil – they give me genuine pleasure to look at each day. Our house is full of retro stuff. I collect a lot of vintage bric-a-brac from the Fifties and Sixties; jigsaw puzzles of the Royal Family, holiday-camp postcards, that sort of thing. The house could pass for a film set. My husband and I are big kids really, but you have to ask yourself if your obsession is going too far when your seven-year-old is given a nice toy for his birthday and says, ‘Is it OK to open it, Mum, or shall we keep it for display?’

The NHS saved my son’s life.
When Sonny was four months old he contracted meningitis. It was incredibly worrying and so dangerous for him. It was horrible, but the doctors spotted it straight away and the transformation when he was treated was incredible. The NHS is a bit iffy when you sprain an ankle, but when it’s a high-priority issue, it’s fantastic. They don’t mess about. They’re incredibly efficient when things go wrong. I feel really distressed that it might not always be there.

Everyone deserves a second chance.
I toured with Take That and ended up doing over 35 dates with them – they’d come and watch me soundcheck and we’d chat all the time. You could see how much they appreciated a second chance. They put on a fantastic show with lasers, set changes and dancers.

I’m known for being glamorous, but I don’t go to parents’ evening in a ball gown.

I love the idea of a bit of glamour, but I’m not obsessed with my image. You should make an effort on stage because it’s a performance. The stage should be glittery and camp, but I don’t go down the shops in full stage gear.

The album ‘Make A Scene’ is out now.

Sophie: I struggle with sad tunes

She may be the daughter of a former children’s TV presenter, but Sophie Ellis-Bextor's latest album continues the neat line in the sophisticated, grown-up disco she's been crafting for herself since bursting onto the music scene a decade ago with modern classics like Murder On The Dancefloor and Take Me Home.

Make A Scene, her fourth album, was released earlier this month although it was actually finished more than a year ago.

While the album deals with its fair share of heartbreak and failed romance, in reality Ellis-Bextor is married with two children to Feeling bassist Richard Jones and freely admits to being happier than ever.

“It's tough because the unhappy times in your life can be really creative,” she says.

“When I'm writing now I try to revisit times when I wasn't so content and that can help."

“I haven't shied away from writing happy songs, because I am happy, plus they're quite hard to write and I like that challenge."

“It's sometimes easier to be angry, frustrated, heartbroken or blue than it is to be happy, and it can be tough to be chipper in a song without sounding twee. People do know a bit about me, so I can't really hide and pretend things are different. That said, I want my songs to be like diary entries, so I don't think I can avoid writing happy songs. Luckily disco music is quite hedonistic, and dancing can be euphoric.”

Four albums into her career, the daughter of former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis and TV producer Robin Bextor counts herself incredibly lucky.

She explains: “There is a lot of luck involved, which has only dawned on me in the past three or four years."

“I think when you start out you think you're in control of everything and it's all your choice, but as I've gotten older I've realised that's not the case, and that's how it should be."

“I'm never going to grumble about anything, and I never want to feel like I'm owed anything."

“I think you should always be careful what you wish for, too, because you just might get it. I just want to preserve things as they are.”

There has plenty to keep the 32-year-old busy, as Ellis-Bextor left her record label Universal after a decade and set up her own enterprise EBGB (which stands for Ellis-Bextor Great Britain).

“It's a big thing to have done, leaving a major label, but exciting, and I'm feeling very good about things,” she beams.

“Starting my own label is something I've wanted to do for a little while but the timing had to be right."

“Things have changed so much in the record industry since I started, and things are a lot more immediate now. I felt I wanted to have that spontaneity and you can't really have that when you're signed to a major label.”

Early signs point to her decision being a good one. Make a Scene went in at No 32 — more impressive than it might sound considering Take That released Progress on the same day, which flew to the top of the charts, while the Adele juggernaut shows no signs of slowing.

“I was a little bit nervous but the album's been doing much better than I expected,” she admits.

“It feels like a relief and an achievement, and the team I've got around me I think is the best I've had. I'm very proud.”

Recorded in fits and starts, Make A Scene sees the singer collaborate with the likes of Freemasons, Calvin Harris, Cathy Dennis, Metronomy, Richard X and Armin Van Buuren.

“I've not really stopped touring and recording for the past few years, so recording was sporadic,” she says.

“Writing the song with Calvin, Off & On, was great, and it's really crucial to the album. I think that track and the stuff I did with Freemasons — Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer), which is now a huge hit in Russia, and Bittersweet — are the real pivotal moments on the album.

“Both Calvin and Freemasons make such great, shiny dance music, I just loved working with them."

“The studio is somewhere that's shrouded in a little mystery, I think. There's nothing you can do to prepare for it."

“As a singer I have to be very visible on stage, but in the studio I can be more anonymous.”

Certainly her stunning looks have made her one of British pop’s most recognisable faces, and one might almost say she has hardly aged since entering her thirties.

“Well, I was quite little when I started, I was 21, and I think as well that I wore a lot of make-up so I didn't look like a 21-year-old girl. I've caught up with myself a bit now, I think.”

Make A Scene is out now


The Feeling & Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Leave Me Out Of It (live)

The Feeling with Sophie performed Leave Me Out Of It on Lee Mack's all Star Cast, BBC One, 25 June 2011.

Leave Me Out Of It (Live @ Lee Mack)
FILE SIZE: 115mb

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bits from here and there.

Sophie's album peaked at #33 in the midweeks on the charts. That is higher than what a lot of her fans were expecting from this album, especially after a series of failed singles. Nonetheless, the album is amazing, and will be this year's BEST ALBUM, and possibly Sophie's best album yet.

The album peaked at #8 on the UK Indie Albums chart. The album and the new single Starlight are available for download on iTunes.

Sophie recently recorded a song with Bob Sinclar. Remember World Hold On? Its crazy how this entire era has been so full of dance music. The fifth album will be a breath of fresh air. Anyway, here's hoping that the Bob Sinclar collaboration has more success than the rest of her singles.

Sophie signed up as a guest judge on the new series of Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model. The pop star is joining host and executive producer Elle Macpherson, who said "We had Sophie Ellis-Bextor and she was really interesting, because she is successful and unusual. She is not a stereotypical beauty. She gave great feedback."

Sophie revealed to DigitalSpy that she is filming a cameo for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's new comedy series Life's Too Short. Writing on Twitter, singer Ellis-Bextor said: "Filming today w Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant & Sting for series 'life's too short'. cameo for me, playing myself. Testing. (sic)."

PurplePR are doing a fabulous job with Sophie.



Friday, June 17, 2011

Sophie in Go Mag

Sophie with Steve Allen, LBC

Sophie was on Steve Allen's In Conversation With... programme, broadcast on LBC Radio, 12 June 2011. It is more like listening in to a conversation than an interview. They talk about Sophie's life, opinions, and work.
thanks to Paul for the recording

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Make a scene: Review


Three albums, four years of recording and delays, and five singles later, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has returned with one of the most anticipated albums of the year - "Make a scene"; collaborating with the cream of pop-dance producers including voted #1 DJ of the world Armin Van Buuren, chart toppers Calvin Harris and Freemasons, that incredibly talented Joe Mount of Metronomy and God himself - Richard X. Of course, there are a few regulars here - Greg Kurstin, Liam Howe of Sneaker Pimps and Dimitri Tikovoi; and a surprise collaboration with Fred Ball... So does this make the album a generic and manufactured one - NO!

The album opens with a bang (literally - "bang, bang, it’s a hold up"). Revolution, the album opener, has Sophie attempting a monotone delivery for the second time in her career (check the middle-8 from "Making Music", Shoot from the Hip). The chorus is simple, repetitive and arresting; the "army" hook is catchy. Cathy Dennis, who worked with Sophie on her last top 10 hit Catch You (which was also a Denis/Kurstin collaboration), co-wrote the song - and in fact, came up with the self-referencing line in the song (the line in the bridge - "face to face its murder on the dancefloor"). Revolution is highly energetic and frenetic, but is very short. It feels like the song is in a hurry to be done and introduce what seems to be Sophie's best album yet. (9/10)

All those cymbal crashes in Revolution lead to this big crash in the very beginning of track two. Bittersweet is a song produced by Freemasons and Biffco. The song was Sophie's second single off the album, but failed to set the charts on fire. Nonetheless, it received an overwhelmingly good response from her fan-base and went on to become the Song of the Day on PopJustice. It even kept Sophie on top of the PJ Almighty for what seemed like an eternity. Bittersweet is enthralling - with flawless production sampling bits from "Fade to Grey" by Visage and "Blue Monday" by New Order; the song even draws influences from "You Spin Me Around (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. Sophie effortlessly mews over the production. The meandering melody in the chorus, the cut-up vocals in the middle-8, the whispering bits and that incredible close to the chorus (the heavenly "oh-oh-oh-so here I am" bit) - all these make Bittersweet the ultimate pop/dance song that most solo female acts would kill for. To sum up, the song is a modern classic. (10/10)

Off And On, the planned-to be-sixth single off the album, is the first of the two songs with no lyrical contribution by La Bex. Originally written and demo-ed for Roisin Murphy's 2007 album, 'Overpowered', the song was handed over to Sophie to promote the then-planned Greatest Hits compilation. Fortunately, recording sessions proved fruitful and now we have the 4th album instead. Off And On is a commercial electro-pop number, which has been edited since its original premiere on Sophie's MySpace several years ago. Could this be the first top ten single from the album - I sincerely hope so, but only commercial radio can give this song the exposure it deserves. (9/10)

Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) was also made to promote the GH compilation. The original demo is significantly different from the final mix that was released as a mutual single by Freemasons and Sophie back in 2009. The song charted just outside the top 10, but stands as the highest charted single from the album (in the UK) and has become one of her most popular songs since Murder on the Dancefloor. Described as electro-dance monster, the song will have you moving along to the loud synths and the big beats. This song, along with Bittersweet, proves that the Bex Monster and Freemasons are a match made in pop heaven. The Freemasons have always had brilliant and glittery production on their songs; their two songs on this album are no different. Their production brings out the emotion and drama in Sophie's voice - something that is absent in your regular commercial dance songs (yes Guetta, I'm talking about you) (9.5/10)

Not Giving Up On Love, the fourth single off the album, is a trance song, with a simple piano loop, great synths, some live drums thrown in here and there and, of course, Sophie's ever-so lush vocals. Miss E.B. is no stranger to melancholic melodies - what some fans consider her forte. The song is a collaboration with Armin Van Buuren, who is the voted #1 DJ of the world. The song was a big success in several countries across Europe but had no impact on the UK Charts. Vocal trance is a new field for Sophie, and I look forward to more trance DJ-collaborations in the future. The full length club edit is so much better than the hurriedly edited radio version, but you simply cannot have a 6+ minute trance track in the middle a pop album - still, it is worth listening to. (10/10)

The next song, Can't Fight This Feeling, is a collaboration with upcoming French DJ Junior Caldera. This is his biggest success across Europe, and in fact the song got a lot of attention from Sophie's fanbase in Russia and some other countries across Europe. On my first listen, both track 5 and 6 stuck out like a sore thumb. The song isn't bad at all. It is very commercial sounding, very 2009-10. Its weird because her songs almost never sound 'current'. Its very hit or miss really. I liked the song a lot when it was released as a single before Bittersweet, but the shine has worn off now. Sophie has recently written another track with Junior Caldera. Lets hope that song sees the light of the day in some form. (7/10)

If I have to sum up the next song in one word, I would only say "heavenly". Starlight, produced by Richard X *screams* is straight out of the 80's. Starlight is released as the 5th (overall) single from the album, the 4th in the UK. You can watch the video, directed by her father, Robin Bextor, right here -
The song has a melancholic feeling, and is slightly ethereal and lush. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album. I'd love for Sophie to work with Richard X *screams* again. Starlight is positioned in the perfect place - and feels refreshing to listen to after 6 dance songs that play back-to-back! You don't know what heaven feels like until you have heard this song. Everything from the slick production and the poetic lyrics to the lush vocals are perfect. One thing that will really grab your attention is the almost-Madonna-esque middle-8; "We are one". (10/10)

Sophie performed Under Your Touch last year on the Album Charts Show and I was really looking forward to listening to the studio version of the song. It is produced by long time collaborator Liam Howe of the Sneaker pimps. The song begins with eeire strings, which brings to mind Madonna's "Sorry". The song has a very busy production, with loads of sounds building up as the song progresses. Sophie sounds fantastic. The mechanised vocals in the song were a nice surprise. It might sound slightly filler-ish on the first listen, but after a couple of listens, the song grows on you, and you tend to put this into a long list of songs that should be singles. (8.5/10)

The title track, Make A Scene, is unlike anything that she has ever done before. The song begins with some clunky notes and a strange beat, and soon builds into this really bouncy jam. The chorus is phenomenal and has Sophie screaming "come on now" as she makes a scene. The almost spoken verses, the saxophone, the really weird drum sequence that sounds a little off-track in the first few seconds, Sophie screaming in some places - in theory this will seem like one of the worst ideas ever. But it all comes together so well - everything feels so disjoint, but at the same time, its all very 'together'. One must give sufficient credit to Joseph Mount, of Metronomy, who helped co-write and co-produce this song. You can definitely hear some 'Nights Out' influences in this song. You might even say that this song sounds like something off Roisin Murphy's 'Ruby Blue' album, crossed with production by Basement Jaxx (now that is a collaboration that should happen!). I'd love to see more Sophie-Metronomy songs in the future.(10/10)

Magic is the second of the two Richard X *screams* songs on the album. The song is, as the title suggests, magical. It begins with simple "ooh ooh"s and builds up into this 80's influenced, scratch that, 80's epic. A simple-but-massive chorus takes centre stage; the production really brings out the best in Sophie's voice. I'm a sucker for anything Richard X *screams*, but this has to be one of his best productions. Lyrically, the song is very poetic, much like Starlight. The middle-8 contains whispers again. Sophie brought whispers back in fashion - I'm not even sure if whispers went out of fashion, but I'd love to give Sophie credit for putting whispers on two (thats right, TWO) songs on the album. Well done Sophie. Well done Hannah. Richard X *screams*, I salute you! (10/10)

The next song is a historic moment in pop music (or so I think, don't burst my bubble). Sophie is probably the only popstar in the world to have used the word "politicise" in a song. And as a fan from PopJustice once said, she is also, probably, the only popstar in the world to have written an electro-pop number about a text stalker. Now THIS is your quirky pop song. The almost story-like lyrics describe Sophie's attitude toward her text stalker. One line in particular - "when you're lost at sea, I'm on land" - is like a slap-in-the-face-get-a-life type of situation. I love the general bitchy-ness about the song. Dial My Number is produced by Liam Howe and co-written with Hannah Robinson. The song, like the other Howe production, is very busy sounding, and quite loud. This was probably the most anticipated song on the album - and it could end up becoming a fan-favourite. (9/10)

Homewrecker is such an amazing-title for a pop song. You'd expect swearing and cursing on this song - but surprisingly, there's no swearing or cursing... or is there? The lyrics of the song are intentionally blunt, but also very witty. The “ho..ho..homewrecker” bit caught everyone by surprise. Its right there, she’s actually swearing, but its so wonderfully hidden beneath the apparent hook. Only Sophie Ellis-Bextor could swear and still sound so posh, take notes Ke$ha. The song is produced by Greg Kurstin, and has some similar production gimmics. The organ in the beginning of the song make this song seem almost-demented in some ways. Well done, Sophie, well done! (8.5/10)

Now is that point in the album when you're pretty much done with dancing and jumping around, and you just want to sit down and listen to some good pop music. And Sophie knows that. Synchronised, is the first of the two ballads on the album; the second song with no lyrical contribution by Sophie, and is truly immense. The song sounds very commercial - kinda like "If You Go"'s moody little sister. The song focuses on Sophie's vocal power, and that is, essentially, what makes this song a masterpiece. Sophie's vocals have never sounded this good and emotive. Here is solid proof against all those people who claim that Sophie cannot breathe life and emotion into a song - IN YOUR FACE, HATERS! (10/10)

Cut Straight To The Heart is the perfect close to a perfect album. The song features lyrical contribution by the infamous Ed Harcourt. Sophie sounds very vulnerable, and the general feeling and production of the song can be compared to one of her older songs from her second album - "I Am Not Good At Not Getting What I Want". The track has beautiful instrumentation, and also samples the drum sequence from Placebo's cover of "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)", which is also, not so surprisingly, produced by Dimitri. The song might be slightly over-shadowed by the amazing-ness of its predecessor, but is no less brilliant. Sophie finishes the album in style. (10/10)

If you haven't heard this album yet, you haven't really heard what good pop music sounds like. Sophie has once again proved that she truly deserves the title "Pop Goddess". Well done.

Not Giving Up On Love
Make A Scene
Cut Straight To The Heart

OVERALL RATING: 9.3/10. Plus, additional 0.7 for the brilliant artwork and photographs in the album, all the effort that has gone behind getting it finally out there. A solid 10/10 effort overall!

...yes, this is exactly how I feel about the release. Its finally here, and it is flawless. Make sure you legally purchase a copy (or two) of Make a scene.

Link to online sites where you can buy the album:
iTunes UK

Buy the CD from here:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lots of promo.

PurplePR and the rest of Sophie's team are doing a fabulous job promoting her. Kudos to you guys.


Sophie Ellis-Bextor interviewed on This Morning
Recording thanks to Paul. Upload thanks to Renzo

Sophie performing Starlight on This Morning
Recording thanks to Paul. Upload thanks to Renzo

Sophie Ellis-Bextor on BBC Breakfast
Recording thanks to Paul. Upload thanks to Renzo

Sophie was Victoria Derbyshire's guest on Monday Music Review, broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, 13 June 2011. Other guests were Colin Patterson (BBC Radio 5 Live's Entertainment Correspondent), Kate Mossman (from The Word - a music magazine) and Kevin Rutkiewicz (Professional footballer and musician).
thanks to Paul for the upload

Sophie was the guest of Paul Rees on The Q Show, Q Radio, broadcast on 6 June 2011.
thanks to Paul for the upload

Digital Spy caught up with Sophie

Don't you just love it when you read a good interview? Thank you DigitalSpy for this.

The last time we spoke to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, she was on the cusp of releasing her fourth studio album Make A Scene. Fast-forward more than a year and, well, she's finally got around to putting out the record. Before we all accuse her of being a lady of too much leisure, the last 12 months have seen her part ways with her record label and set up her own, as well as putting out a pair of successful chart hits across Europe. Intrigued, we phoned Mademoiselle E-B herself to find out how it's all going.

Your new album was delayed for almost a year. How does it feel to finally get it out?
"It feels really good thanks! I'm actually very happy with what we've achieved behind the scenes with establishing the new label and getting such a fantastic team around me. I know to the outside world it seems like this record has taken forever, but from leaving Universal to bringing out the album independently has actually been quite a quick process."

Things seemed to go quiet last year after the release of 'Bittersweet'. What happened?
"Peter Lorraine, who was the head of the sub-label I was on called Fascination, decided to leave and go into management instead. He's a lovely guy, and we're still close, but he was the reason I was with that label, so instead of negotiating a new deal with Universal I thought I'd go it alone."

Did you have to buy the album back from the label?
"No they just gave me the album, which was great, because we'd already made a music video and shot the artwork for it. They were really good about it - the whole thing was very smooth and easy."

Did you ever worry that your music career was over?
"I was excited more than anything else! I'd been talking about the idea of releasing independently with my manager a few years before anyway. I could have signed a deal with a different label, but I was keen to try doing it by myself first. One day I might want to return to that world, but at the moment I can't see myself going back to that structure."

Does releasing music independently put the pressure on?
"I'd say it takes the pressure off - you don't need to sell as many records for the project to be deemed a success, and there are no worries about how much of a priority you are to your label. It also means I can release EPs instead of albums if I want to, which is something I'm considering."

You co-wrote most of the album; was that important to you?
"I don't think writing or co-writing my songs makes me a better singer, but I haven't really got an excuse not to do it as I've got too many opinions! For example I wrote my new single 'Starlight' with Richard X and a girl called Hannah, and the process usually starts with Richard setting up a drum loop, then we add some chords over it, then we put the lyrics to the melody. I think Richard X did a great job with it. I'm a sucker for sad disco pop."

How would you describe the sound of the rest of the LP?
"It's very dancey, very electro, disco, and very confident. I feel like I enjoyed making this record more than any other. Hopefully people find it quite uplifting too. 'Starlight' is a favourite of mine and I love the title track 'Make A Scene' - it's a bit bonkers! I made it with Metronomy and I loved their approach to producing."

Will there be any more singles from the album?
"I'd like to release 'Off & On' next. I think it's about time I got on with it - it's the song that I keep putting back but really want to release."

You've had a lot of success in Russia; was that planned?
"It sort just happened. I started playing the odd gig and kept getting called back more and more and the events got bigger. It was great because it felt like the hard work paid off. I've had a couple of top three hits there now and the album performed well, which is fantastic."

We've heard some of the Russian corporate gigs can be, erm, interesting...
"I know what you're talking about, but I've always made sure to form friendships with whoever I'm working with. I've never experienced anything that's made me uncomfortable, but I have heard stories. You have to keep your wits about you!"

You feature on The Feeling's new album with Roisin Murphy, who also wrote 'Off & On' for your album. Would you ever collaborate with her?
"That's weird connection, isn't it!? When I recorded 'Off & On' I hadn't ever met her, but I really get on with her now and she's the perfect fit for the Feeling track. The Freemasons also worked on that particular song, and they're an act I'd collaborate with any time they wanted me! I love their approach to dance while still remaining sensitive to pop music."

We hear you've started work on your next album; how's it going?
"I've actually gone completely the opposite way to Make A Scene. It's a lot more live-sounding, with drum kits and real instruments. I'm not sure if I'll continue with it, but that's where I wanted to start - I wanted go outside my comfort zone. Dance music is great, but it's not a time to be reflective or particularly wistful. Lyrically I can do some different stuff too - there's more to life than dancing in the clubs!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Perfect Weekend: Sophie Ellis-Bextor


On Friday evenings I love to go dancing with my husband [Richard Jones, bassist with band the Feeling] and a group of our friends. We run an occasional club night at the Café de Paris in Soho called Love to Love and I usually get on the decks at some stage. It all started because I couldn’t find the perfect club night in London – one that played all the tunes I wanted to dance to – so I thought we’d better start one ourselves. It’s revived my love of dance and disco music; they sound so phenomenal belting out through big speakers. And dancing to your favourite tracks is a great way to shake off the stresses of the week.

Richard will dance with me at the beginning of the evening, when he’s in the mood, and then when he gets bored of dancing (which is always long before I do) I’ll prance around with my girlfriends. We’ll do silly, pretend-sexy moves to songs by Rihanna.

We usually get back to our home in Hammersmith quite late and if we’re very lucky our lovely nanny Claire will let us have a bit of a lie in on Saturday morning. It’s always a treat when she stays over and makes breakfast for our boys, Sonny, seven, and Kit, two – who wakes up at 6am on a good day and likes to be busy.

I recently bought him a little broom and mop so he can make himself useful. Unfortunately he took the broom and hit a cupboard door which had a glass window in it. Sadly it doesn’t have a glass window in it any more. I think he was a bit shocked.

I really love being in London at weekends – there’s always so much to do. If it’s lovely weather we’ll go for a walk down along the river with my mother (the former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis) who lives nearby, or meet friends at a pub for a shandy and some lunch.

We’re spoilt for choice in terms of good pubs near us: I’d recommend the Raven, the Black Lion and the Dove. Then in the afternoon I’ll wander around Portobello Market with Richard and the boys, and will invariably end up buying something tacky that nobody else wants.

Our house is so filled with kitsch objects that it looks like a bric-a-brac store. I don’t know why I’m so drawn to tatty old furniture, and wonky tapestry pictures but luckily Richard shares my enthusiasm. He once bought a bass that’s shaped like an axe. It’s mounted on the wall along with all the other tat.

In the coming weeks we’ll be escaping the city on a few Saturdays. I’m appearing at several of the smaller, less cliquey festivals including the Forest Tour 2011 with Erasure and the Cornbury Festival at the beginning of July. I’m afraid I’m not much of a camper so we’ll just go for the day.

Sometimes we’ll drive to my dad’s (Robin Bextor, the film and television producer) house in East Sussex, an hour and a half away. For for a couple of years now he’s been running a restaurant called Moonrakers in the village of Alfriston. It is ridiculously pretty around there. The back terrace of the restaurant overlooks the Tye, a big village green, and there’s a really old church called St Andrews, where Morning Has Broken was written.

The Bextor side of my family – my parents separated when I was four – are all very food motivated. We’ll sit outside in the sun with a glass of wine and order from the menu – spring lamb, fresh fish, ham hock – it’s all locally produced and very tasty.

We never go out on Saturday night. We’ll get takeaway fish ’n’ chips and eat it on our knees in front of some silly Saturday night television such as You’ve Been Framed. I’m sorry but I enjoy watching people fall over.

Richard and I will have friends over for a barbecue on Sunday. We’ve got loads of toys out in the garden – we’re like big kids really. There’s ping pong, a climbing frame and a trampoline. We’ve even got one of those amusement arcade slot machines where you put a coin in and it almost pushes all the other coins off a ledge. My birthday present last year was an inflatable hot tub so I guess that will be getting a second airing this summer.

On Sunday evening I’ll get on with all the admin waiting for me inside. I’ve recently started my own record label called EBGB’s and am enjoying being the boss lady. I think this is something we’ll see more acts doing in the future – Mumford & Sons made their album on their own label, then licensed it to Island. You have to sell a lot fewer albums to make a living when you do it this way.

My fourth album Making a Scene came out earlier this month so I’ve also been doing promotion work for that. It’s great fun although tiring at times; particularly when you’re doing interviews and all the questions are, “Oh, you must be tired?!” and “Aw, do you miss your kids”.

I try my hardest not to read reviews. I’ll have a look if my friends say it’s a good one. But even then I tend only to take on board the disapproving bits. If I get 4 out of 5, I’ll think, “Ah, it could’ve been 5 out of 5, where did I go wrong?”

I’ve been so focused on getting this latest album out to the people who want to buy it that I’d forgotten that there would be critics going, “Well we don’t know if we actually want to own it, but we’re going to tell you what we think of it anyway”.

I never manage to get to bed early on Sunday night but this doesn’t matter as I don’t know one level of exhaustion from another. I don’t dread the arrival of Monday, because I love doing what I do. But I will go to the gym first thing to work off all those fish ’n’ chips.

In short

Herbal tea or stiff drink?
If it’s past six o’clock, a caipiroska

Do you believe in the spirit world?
I like the influence of the macabre but I don’t believe in ghosts

What’s your favourite restaurant – apart from you father’s?
The bar on the beach at Santa Maria di Castellabate in southern Italy

Your inspiration?
Julie Andrews. I grew up watching The Sound of Music

Last music you bought?
Metronomy’s new album

How do you relax?
I jump around, play with the kids or go dancing

What irritates you most?
Bad manners

If you could live in another era when would it be?
The Fifties

What would you eat for your last supper?
Fish ’n’ chips with as much mayo and ketchup as I wanted

My favourite things
Bright colours

Sophie launched Evian’s new Let’s Baby Dance campaign: a new advert and a new global online app to make the world’s longest user-generated music video.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vote for Starlight on Gaydar Radio

You can vote every half an hour or so, or clear you cookies and vote even sooner. Please keep voting for the single. Hopefully this song will get more airplay than any of her other singles.

So far, local radio stations are supporting her well.
57 plays - Ministry of Sound Radio (Carl Hanaghan Remix)
45 plays - Real Radio Yorkshire, Real Radio Wales, Real Radio North West
43 plays - Real Radio North East
42 plays - Real Radio Scotland, TFM
39 plays - Metro Radio
28 plays - Atlantic FM
26 plays - CFM
24 plays - Touch FM
18 plays - Rugby FM
13 plays - MFR FM, Gaydio
11 plays - Downtown Radio
09 plays - BBC Radio 2
07 plays - 97.4 Rock FM
06 plays - Isle of Wight Radio
05 plays - Cool FM
02 plays - Q Radio
01 plays - Viking FM, Smash Hits! Radio, Radio City, Radio Aire, Key 103, Hallam FM

Sophie Q&A: Official Catch-Up (June 2011)


Hello Sophie, how are you?
Very good thanks. How are you?

We’ve just eaten a packet of Monster Munch, which reminded us of the tweet you sent recently regarding a TV show about a woman who *only* ate Monster Munch.
Well, she was featured in a programme. She’s been on telly a couple of times, from what I hear. But, yeah, she was in a really good programme all about the human body. It was using her as an example of how well the human body can survive on a diet that doesn’t really have in it what it needs. It was interesting.

Anyway, we're here to talk about you, not crisps. And you seem to have been very busy of late.
Yeah, it’s been really good. But also quite full-on.

Which is presumably better than if you were sitting at home in your stage outfit, waiting for the phone to ring.
Exactly. And I do keep reminding myself of that. I’m trying not to be one of these people who complains about working. But it is a bit hard when you’re doing interviews and all the questions are, “Oh you must be tired?” and “Aw, do you miss your kids?” Although I’m not missing the kids too much, because very thoughtfully they have been waking up very early, so I’m actually seeing them. Kit got me up this morning at 5am.

Oh dear.
Indeed. My car for Lorraine was coming at just gone 6am, so we had an hour of quality time.

How did you use it?
Had breakfast together, mainly. And pottered about. As soon as he wakes up, he’s generally pretty busy. He doesn’t want to just sit and watch TV, unlike his brother. He always wants to be a bit busy.

Teach him how to use a duster, then you can start making use of him.
Well he has got a little broom and a little mop, actually. And the other day he took his little broom and hit it on the cupboard door which had a glass window in it.

Yes, it doesn’t have a glass window in it any more. Hahaha! I think he was a bit shocked.

So, it seems like things are going well with the album campaign. Life as an independent artist appears to be treating you well.
Yeah, I have to say the people around me have been fantastic. They’re doing a really, really good job. And they’re thoroughly nice people.

And the reviews for the album seem to be splendid. Are they something you read?
Not really, no. I’ll have a look if people say it’s a good one. But even then you tend to just take on board the bits where they’re disapproving. If you get 4 out of 5, you’ll think, “Ah, it could’ve been 5 out of 5, what did I do wrong?” And I sort of forgot about the fact this album was going to be reviewed, I think because for me it was so much about getting it out to the people that wanted to own it. The people that had kept saying, “When’s the album coming out?” So I’d kind of forgotten that there would be other people going, “Well we don’t know if we want to own it, but we’re going to tell you what we think of it anyway”. Haha!

Well, Attitude gave it 4.5 out of 5. You’ve got to be happy with that?
Yeah, that’s OK. I think I can deal with that.

And where’s the video for the single got to?
Watch this space. Everyone should be able to see it very soon.

You’ve got the Erasure tour starting soon. Are you all set for that?
I think so, yeah. It’s going to be a really nice June, I think. It’ll feel nice to get out there. I hope the weather’s going to be as nice as it is today.

Have you got more dates to be announced? Lots of the fans are asking.
We’re still trying to work in a South American tour for September, yeah. I’m hoping we’ll be doing about seven or eight dates while we’re there. So, watch that space too!

So, does it only get more hectic between now and the release?
Yes, more of the same really. I’ve got a gig in the Ukraine, then I’ve got more promo in the UK including things like pressing the button for the Lottery.

Wow! Have you done that before?
I have actually, yeah. It’s quite strange. There’s a lot of security, as you’d imagine. It all feels a bit shrouded in mystery. And then the weekend after that...

Hang on, we want to hear more about the Lottery. It’s live, presumably?
It is indeed.

So what would happen if you shouted, “It’s a fix!” just before you pressed the button?
I think I’d be arrested or something. It’s funny you should say that, though, because there’s always that side of me when I’m doing live TV that thinks, “I could really just say anything”. I’ve been doing quite a lot of live TV recently, and I always think, “This could be the moment where I lose the plot!” Hahahaha!

You’d go out in a blaze of glory. Not that we’re suggesting you do it.
Oh I’m worried I’m going to do it by mistake now. I was one of those people at school that, in assembly, almost had to hold my limbs down because I thought I’d suddenly stand up and shout obscenities. I think it’s that same reason that people get vertigo, cos they’re worried they’re going to jump off the edge. It’s that same feeling.

Are you allowed to buy a lottery ticket that week?
I don’t know - I’ve never bought a ticket in my life.

Oh, it’s got to be worth a Lucky Dip when you’re pressing the button.
No. I don’t want to start. I think if you start then you can’t stop. Sorry, one second. [To man in background] “What number is it, please? OK, no problem. I’ll get out and walk".

What’s happening?
I’m off to do a load of regional radio interviews, down the ISDN line. I don’t really like doing that.

Hey now.
Oh, I mean I love doing radio, it’s just so impersonal doing the ISDNs where you can’t see the presenters. Some are great, though. It’s just quite hard to get the rapport going. But I did a regional radio tour last week where I visited lots of stations and that was really fun.

Ah yes, it mentioned that in your interview in the NME this week.
Oh, that came out did it? Was he kind to me?

Good old Peter.

In other press news, we noticed something saying you’d been to the St Pancras hotel opening. How was that?
Nice, actually. There’s quite a cool bar which has a big glass window looking into the station. That was very nice. There’s always a romance for me about railway stations. And that one’s a lovely one.

And you’ve been on Lorraine a lot recently.
That’s right, doing the High Street fashion awards. That’s been really fun. Really nice people. And I filmed a Rob Brydon show last week with Bruce Forsyth.

When will that be on telly?
I think in July or August. I sang 'Of And On', and I got to do a little bit of singing with Rob Brydon. We sang ‘Stand By Your Man’ and ‘The Wheels On The Bus”. Harmonising. He’s lovely. And it was pretty extraordinary to meet someone like Bruce Forsyth that you feel like you’ve grown up with. He was very nice.

And do you have any holiday plans for this year? You’re working hard, you’re husband’s working hard, it’s important to take a break.
Yes, we’ve put in some time for August. We’re going back to my friend’s house in Ibiza, where we went last year and which is also where we filmed the Not Giving Up On Love video. I’ve realised that nobody congratulates you for not taking a holiday, and we are very bad at it generally, so last year I made the decision that I’m always going to put one in the diary now.

Well this is good news. And you must be pleased with how well things are going for you at the moment?
I am actually. And I feel very chilled out about what happens with the single and album. I’m just enjoying myself. I don’t really feel too much pressure. My hopes for the album are pretty realistic, I think. But at the same time, I’m really pleased with the response it's all getting. Life feels really good.

Sophie in NME

scans thanks to Paul


The pop queen on going indie and why she'd give Tyler, The Creator a piece of her mind

Hello, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Where are you?
I'm in the car, going from Hull - yes, you heard me right, Hull - to Leeds! And then on to Preston where I am staying the night.

That's living the dream right there, that is.
It certainly is! I like doing radio tours like this, it's all very English and you can just appear, have a chit chat and a cup of tea and it's all very nice.

'Chit chat and a cup of tea'. That's a good stage to be at in a pop career.
Well, the last 10 days have been a bit of a whirlwind. I've been to Portugal, Africa, Singapore, Ireland, Scotland, and now Hull. I've been around a bit.

You are allowed back into NME now as you are, officially, an 'indie artiste' again.
I am!

Talk me through how this came about.
I now have my own label. I suppose it's something I've been working towards for the last few years. I had a wonderful time with Universal but I feel like it's OK to go it alone now.

Have you sorted out your letterheads and business cards yet?
I've still got to do that. I've been sent over a few suggestions of logos....

I was actually joking about that. What do you look for in a logo?
Something simple. The label's called EBGB, and we were thinking of imitating the famous CBGB logo, but I don't think we're allowed to for copyright reasons.

Would you like me to draw it for you?
With a felt pen? Or a stencil set.

If i get some coloured pencils I can do some blending for extra realism.
Let's do that.

Imagine I'm in a band. A very good band. What do i need to sound like to be signed to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's record label?
It wasn't until someone asked me who I was signing that I realised signing other acts was something I could do! I think i'd want something quite different to what I do. I want a casually dressed man with a guitar.

Where next?
I've actually been successful as ever in other countries - I'm as busy as I've ever been. And i suppose I've got the right outlook - I'm ever the optimist!

You recently announced that your album after this one would have proper instruments on it. What's going on?
My new album is electro that I want to do something completely different next, but I've thought that in the past too and I always end up putting beats on.

Is there an indie act you'd like to put a shout-out to?

But he makes dance music! I see your problem now.
Well, I've started working with Ed Harcourt and Bernard Butler already for the next album, so...

Would you like to work with Odd Future?
I'd find it hard to hold my tongue because they use some fairly offensive language in everyday casual speak.

Imagine I'm Tyler now. What would you like to say to me?
I'd say , "Context is everything but I struggle to see that word as anything other than a nasty word to say".

If i were Tyler I'd say "Thank you Sophie for pointing that out, I will watch my language in future and I will also reassess my views of the gay community".
(Extended Bextochortle) Great!

The Review:
The sheer breadth of music covered on Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s fourth album is, frankly, incredible. Still only 32, and with “the most memorable chart scuffle since Britpop” under her belt (both accolades proudly mentioned in her latest press release, although we barely remembered that ‘Groovejet…’ was out at the same time as Victoria Beckham’s first single), ‘Make A Scene’ sees her straddle a multitude of different genres.

“Pop, disco, nu-disco and 1980s electronica,” cries the accompanying written bumpf. Except… all the songs here sound pretty much the same, like ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ put through a Calvin Harris filter. Needless to say, it’s totally fucking rubbish.

"Worst sleeve of the week"
Yes, you have a pretty face. Well done you. But really, four albums in, you couldn't think of anything more interesting?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Interview in Odessa (Ukraine)

Sophie on The Style Nation T4

Sophie performed Starlight on The Style Nation.

youtube upload thanks to Renzo.

download the performance here -
upload thanks to Paul.

Sophie on Britain's got more talent.

Watch the video here -
upload thanks to Renzo.
upload thanks to Paul.



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