Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Baby No. 3, Album No. 5)

There's a very clear trend. Baby-Album-Baby-Album. I joke.

I'm very happy for Sophie and Richard. There's going to be another little Ellis-Bextor-Jones in the photographs next Christmas. I'm hoping it's a girl this time. Afterall, someone's gotta carry on those amazing cheekbones and those neverending legs to the next generation.

Also, Sophie had already started working on the fifth album this year, and she will continue working on the fifth album. Sophie mentioned recently that she wants to write and record an album faster this time. So lets hope she doesn't take too long...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get a really personal album - like Shoot From The Hip.

Her tweets:
"I have something to tell you..."

"I am having another baby. Due in Spring. A little brother or sister for Sonny and Kit. Family e-b-jones are happy and excited. Xx"

"Thanks guys. It's a lovely thing. By the way, work on album 5 continues as usual. In fact, I now have a deadline! In the studio as we speak."

In other news, you can buy Starlight CD right here -

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jakatra, Australia, new album, Rebellion and more...

Okay, I've been very busy with work. I've been working more than 18 hours on some days. So I apologise for the lack of updates. Moving on to the important stuff.

First of all, have you all bought Rebellion (Lies)? If you haven't, buy it now. It is 4:42 minutes of pure brilliance. Its definitely up there with her best covers to date. Sophie sounds absolutely gorgeous on the track, and the "Lies, lies" bit is fabulous. Right now, the track is sitting as track #15 on Make a scene for me. I will move it into my list of Sophie b-sides and side releases after a few months. It's a very good song. So buy it. Don't download free mp3s, buy the song off iTunes. It's for a good cause. Here's a link to the album on UK iTunes.
Please buy the song.

Second. Sophie was in Jakarta, Indonesia recently. She hadn't been there since 9 years, but the crowd gathered at the Java Soul Nation festival seemed to know and like her new songs. The best part of the show was when the entire crowd sang along to Murder On The Dancefloor...not just the chorus, but the ENTIRE song. Sophie must have been over the world to hear the crowd's response to that song. She even mentioned this in her recent official catch-up, but more on that later.
Here are some videos in HD from the Java Soul Nation concert.
Dial My Number -,
Bittersweet -,
Take Me Home -,
Me And My Imagination -,
Today The Sun's On Us -,
What Have We Started -,
Catch You -,
Can't Fight This Feeling -,
Not Giving Up On Love -,
Get Over You -,
Thanks to Paul for all the videos

Here are some audience recordings of the same show:
Get Over You/Lady/Groovejet/Sing It Back (Medley) -
Heartbreak -
Murder -
Revolution -

You can also download the audio from the entire show right here:

Thanks to Paul for the recording. You've done a fabulous job as usual.

Third. Sophie is in Australia promoting her new album. She had two club-shows - one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. She also had some TV appearances where she performed her new single Starlight and Murder On The Dancefloor.

Murder On The Dancefloor -

Starlight -

Here are some audience recordings of her performances at the club-shows in Australia:

Take Me Home -
Get Over You -
Music Gets The Best Of Me -
Not Giving Up On Love -
Murder On The Dancefloor -
Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) -

Take Me Home -
Get Over You -
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie -
Not Giving Up On Love -
Murder On The Dancefloor -
Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) -
Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) -

Fourth. Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Scene and heard

IT must be murder juggling motherhood with a career filling dance floors but Sophie Ellis-Bextor makes it seem effortless. Here she tells JACQUI SWIFT about her new record that features Calvin Harris, Roisin Murphy and Metronomy.

Your new album Make a Scene is your career high. Do you agree?
When I finished it, I was so pleased. I'm always wary of reviews as you only ever remember the nasty ones but, without blowing my own trumpet, I can say it's my best album yet because of the people I worked with Calvin Harris, Roisin Murphy, Metronomy, Richard X, Cathy Dennis, Greg Kurstin, I was very spoiled.

Tell us about the big-name producers and co-writers on the record.
I had a wish list and they're all on there. They're all perennial talents who have either been around for ages, or are going from strength to strength. It was great. There will always be a core of six to eight tracks which define what the record is about and then I pick and choose from the rest, which add to the colour of the album.

So what's the process when you have so many different people to work with?
Hopefully, whatever I bring to the table when I'm writing helps give it cohesion. I'm someone who has always been quite clear about what I like. In the studio, I'm not a control freak but I know what I want. It's an arms-in-the-air dance album.

Does it take you back to your Groovejet days?
Yes, a little bit. I think it's all about the rise of the DJ again. When Groovejet came out, people knew a few of the names but then they went back to being a bit more niche and underground. Now you have people like David Guetta and Martin Solveig who are on the radio as well as in the clubs and I think that's a really good thing.

Dial My Number is about a stalker. What's the story behind it?
Someone had my number and they started text-stalking me. I've never replied to them. It was tempting to write back, but I resisted. It's funny how intimate it feels to get a text. I got one on the way to the studio, so we ended up writing that song.

So what's next for you?
I want to make something different, take myself out of my comfort zone, but then I want to do four-to-the-floor as well and I want to work with Deadmau5.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor plays Home the Venue, Darling Harbour, on October 2. Make a Scene (Shock) is out now.

Fifth. Sophie Ellis-Bextor never misses the beat

A MOTHER of two and celebrating album No. 4, Sophie Ellis-Bextor whirled into town last week to reintroduce herself to her dance constituency.
It has been a decade since Ellis-Bextor fired up the charts with the inescapable hit Groovejet (If This Ain't Love), backing that up with Murder On The Dancefloor and last year's single Bittersweet.
Her new record Make A Scene features a who's who of hitmakers including Calvin Harris, Freemasons, Richard X, Armin Van Buuren and Metronomy.
"I have always been rubbish at predicting what will make the charts so I play to my strengths and do what I like," she said before her performance at Home last night.
"If you're making music to dance to, if the song doesn't finish with me standing up out of my seat and dancing around the studio, it's not going to work."
Ellis-Bextor hinted her next album, already underway, will be a departure from clubland to something more "reflective".
Rumour has it she is being courted to return to Sydney next March for Mardi Gras.

Sixth. Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Still killing it on and off the dancefloor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor hasn't been to Australia in about nine or ten years, so she has been long overdue for a visit to our shores!

The last time Sophie was here her song "Murder on the Dancefloor" was riding high in the charts and the dance song "Groovejet" that she recorded with the Italian DJ Spiller was pumping out of clubs.

Now she is back with a new album called "Make A Scene" that features collaborations with some of the biggest DJ's in the world at the moment including Calvin Harris and Armin Van Buuren.

So today on the program we wanted to find out what Sophie had been up to in the last nine or so years.

Bernie Hobbs found out all about Sophie's family, running club nights, performing in Jakarta, growing up in the UK, and some the charity work that she has done.

It was a lovely chat and if you are are a fan of Sophie, you'll enjoy hearing the chat again below.


Seventh. Official Catch-up with Sophie.

Hi Sophie. How are you?
Not too bad, thanks.

You're speaking from the future.
Haha! I am, it's evening here in Sydney, so it must be morning there?

That is correct. What's going to happen today?
It will be quite cold. And it will rain a little bit.

Not in London, it won't. It's gorgeous here.
Yeah, I heard. But it was actually quite good weather for wandering around Sydney, which is what I've been doing today. It's like spring weather. Nice to walk around in. I've had a lovely day pottering about on my own.

Are you literally out there on your own?
My sound guy, Duncan has here, but I haven't actually seen that much of him. He's been doing his own thing. We got here yesterday morning from Jakarta. And Kat is arriving from the UK any minute now. Then the promo really starts in earnest tomorrow.

Kat, of course, is becoming familiar to the readers of your website as the person who does the photoblogs.
I know! I'm so glad she does that, because I'm so rubbish at taking pictures. I've never really been a good documenter. But she's really good at it.

For those readers who don't know Kat, what does she do?
She works with Derek, who's my manager. She's brilliant. She's his assistant, but she's often the one that comes with me on my trips. She's a very good travel companion. Even though she's only 24, some people say we're like two old women who go off and holiday together. We always make sure we do things during the downtime, like go for a walk or a swim or something.

So, how was Jakarta?
It was actually really impressive. I hadn't been there for ten years. In fact, the last time I went to Jakarta was the same trip I last went to Sydney, around the time Read My Lips came out, when we were away for a month, going all round Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. So it tied in quite nicely to have these two club shows in Australia and a big festival show in Jakarta before that.

How did it go?
Well, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I had like 5,000 people in this arena, and they were a really brilliant crowd. It was a very satisfying gig. They really seemed to know and like a lot of my stuff.

That's nice.
It really is. I'm always a bit trepidatious about who'll remember and who'll come, but it's amazing how many do. Jakarta was great and both of the Australian shows have sold out. And on my day out today, I kept bumping into people that recognised me, which was really nice. Sydney is such a friendly city. I bought a dress and the guy was like, "I hope you're looking forward to Sunday, it's going to be really good". It was really sweet.

Do people tend to say the same kind of things when they spot you in the street?

The number one thing is "Do you know you really look like that singer?" I get that more than anything else. I think it's because when I'm on stage I've got the full glam thing done, and I don't do that when I'm walking around. I'm quite low-key. So I think people think I can't be the same person.

Do you ever deny it's you?
Occasionally. But only very rarely. Only if I'm feeling a bit rubbish. But usually it's really nice. Like a guy I met on the street last night was so sweet and excited that I put him on the guest list for Sunday.

So you've only been to Sydney once before?
That's right. And last time I came I spent more time in Melbourne. So today I went out for about four or five hours just wandering around. And my step-cousin Kate is working and living here at the moment, so I met up with her yesterday afternoon. It's a lovely place to hang out. And it's a really easy city to walk around in, which is my favourite kind of city.

Did you go and see all the big sights?
I guess I did, really. I went to the Sydney Opera House. And I went on the train. They have double decker trains, so I obviously went upstairs! And we walked around this area called the Rocks, which is really pretty. And today I went around Surrey Hills and down Crown Street because there's loads of vintage shops around there. Then I walked more into the commercial area for a couple of basic things I needed - so I went to where Westfield is. Although our Westfield in Shepherd's Bush is certainly a lot nicer!

Are the two gigs just club shows then?
Yeah, exactly. The band aren't here, but I'll be doing a good half hour of greatest hits. They're part of two big party nights - I'm on pretty late at both - and it's a holiday weekend here, so there should be a good atmosphere. I'm just going to try and keep people dancing.

Are they a bit like Australian versions of G-A-Y?
I think so, yes. Particularly the one in Sydney, because it's apparently the biggest club in Sydney. They should be fun.

Has the new album been released in Australia?
Yes, it's out this week, and Starlight is at radio now.

It is quite amazing to go to the other side of the world after a decade and find people still listen to your music.
Absolutely. That sort of thing never fails to impress me. Like when I was in Jakarta, even checking into my flight there the woman behind the desk was telling me I was a trending topic on Twitter there. It's crazy. I never get jaded about that sort of thing. I think it's incredible. Actually, I couldn't sleep last night because of jet lag and I was working out how many cities I travelled to in the last two months, and I've performed in 18. Everywhere from Beirut to Istanbul to Moscow to Barcelona. It's amazing.

And it does sort of show how well Polydor did in the early days to get your music out there.
Oh completely. Groovejet was successful, but it was Murder on the Dancefloor that I think made people put a face to the voice, so to speak. That song really changed things, I think. And I'm still realising that now. At the time it was all part of a snowball.

Are you stopping off anywhere on the way back from Australia?

No, only for the plane to refuel. I leave on Monday then land back on Tuesday. Then I've got a couple of shows in Moscow at the end of next week. And then hopefully after that I'm not travelling anywhere for a while! And The Feeling are playing Shepherd's Bush Empire, so I'm going to do my duet with them there. I'm looking forward to that.

Talking of flying to Russia, some of your male fans were no doubt impressed by the Aeroflot outfit you modelled on Twitter recently!
Hahaha! I think it's so cool they gave me a uniform.

How did that happen?
I went on one of their flights and they had these really cool uniforms. Really 60s in this red/orange colour with big white lapels. I think they're very stylish. So I said on Twitter that I loved them and they spotted it and asked if I'd like one. Then they met me in the hotel foyer. And not only did they give me the dress - but the heels, the hat, the gloves and a scarf! So I can use it for a multitude of things. I could perform in it at something like G-A-Y, or wear it for fancy dress. Or just wear it for a night out. And if I wear it when I'm going through an airport, I might be able to go in the fast-track lane! It's funny the things you get excited about, but I'm really chuffed about it.

And where are you at with work on your next album?
I've been doing a bit of work in the studio at home with Richard, but the plan is really to try and gig as much as I can between now and Christmas, and then maybe January, February, March and April are blocked out with songwriting. I don't want to dawdle on this one. I want to knuckle down and get the album done in the spring. Because in the past I've been so bad at letting an album go, but I really like the idea of just really getting on with it. I think that might make me make a slightly different style of record, which I feel like I need to do. I'm really excited about getting into it.

What do you have planned for this evening?
I think Kat and I are going out for supper. But I've got a horribly early start tomorrow. I've got people coming to my room at 5am to start getting me ready for breakfast TV. But if last night's sleep is anything to go by I'll probably be awake then anyway! It was so crappy. I went to bed at like half 11 then woke up 3 and just couldn't get back to sleep.

Oh dear.
I know. I have had a really lovely trip, but I am looking forward to coming home. This has been the longest I've been away from the kids, so that's not been the easiest. That's why I've not been to Australia for a while. Skype has been a life saver. We've been putting it on in the morning before school. But I can't wait to get home and see them for real.

Eighth. A must listen. Stefano Mattara Extended Remix of Starlight. Its definitely better than the other two that we have heard so far.

Ninth. Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Live in Sydney, review by Mike from Pop Trash Addicts

Read Mike's review on Pop Trash Addicts (link above). It sums up why we're all such ardent fans of Sophie. I'm going to post the pictures from the gig here.
Thanks for the pictures Mike.



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