By Chloe Davidson
This is a big year of great numbers for Sophie Ellis Bexter, after her successful tenth year as the unrivalled British electro pop queen, Sophie releases her fourth album ‘Straight to the heart’ in July. Her music is a mixture of mainstream pop, disco, nu-disco, and 1980s electronic influences.
It’s patently obvious that her new album is something to get excited about, it’s energetic and unapologetic. She tells us in a no nonsense sort of way, “I have been doing this a while now, so its full steam ahead on artistic freedom”. Perhaps it’s the trust and rapport that grows naturally between the team you work with. Sophie has stuck with her record label Polydor/Fascination and has been fortunate enough to have them stick by her.
Its safe to say S-E-B has evolved her sound fantastically well over a glitzy fun speckled decade in the limelight.
Firing on all cylinders after baby number two, she has maintained her model-esque figure effortlessly. We eagerly catch up with Sophie Ellis to find out how she manages motherhood with..well, everything. She once warned – “it’s a assorted bag of tricks I have learnt to pull”, juggling young children, with a recording career, international tours and lets not forget her ongoing contract as the face of cosmetics giant Rimmel. She tells us ‘its not without its challenges’.
“People always ask how do you mange it all. I have pretty much grown up in an environment where my parents worked unconventional hours. Somehow me and my husband Richard manage to slot it all together too”. I’m having a great time at the moment. “I’m very lucky to still enjoy what I do, there is nothing more unappealing than a jaded pop star” “It’s never been better. My family are the most important thing to me, they make it all worth it.”
While this yummy mummy might be the ultimate pop starlet, she’s no pushover– she was heavily involved with all parts of ‘Straight From The Heart’, co-writing much of it and working with ‘the dream team’ of writer/producers that includes Freemasons, Greg Kurstin, Calvin Harris, Cathy Dennis, Metronomy, Richard X and Armin Van Buuren.
Freemasons, have two songs on the record. The first, Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) a floor stomping track that inherently makes you want to shake the proverbial leg! A phenomenal success in the UK, Europe and Stateside.
Its seems Sophie remembers her jaunts to Russia most.. all eight of them, in the last year. “I loved it out there” she volunteers, “My Russian fans have been very supportive, the ladies know good fashion its incredible.”
The second Freemasons song is her forthcoming single Bittersweet, out 2nd May, set to be a surefire rapturous pop moment of the spring.
The last few years have been an incredible journey for Sophie. She married Richard Jones (The Feeling’s bassist) in 2005 and clearly is as in love today as the day they tied the knot. “I have had baby number two..” Kit is one now and Sonny, six the lord of our manor. He has a real ear for music and can recognize mine and Richards tracks by just hearing the baseline.” Sophie laughs at moments shared with the three, husband Richard, young Sonny and herself dancing about in the living room. Somewhat the musical mad house!
It’s clear that a fun and happy home environment is paramount to Sophie, making every effort to spend quality family time with Richard and her young boys. Her experiences of motherhood have put her world into perspective. Having found her inner survival mechanism after both her baby boys where born prematurely, “I have learned that when my kids are alright, everything else in my world is alright.”
Since her last album Trip The Light Fantastic in 2007 Sophie hasn’t just been dancing about her sitting room or purely holed up in the studio creating the pop soundtracks to 2010, she’s been on the road both on her own and performed a staggering 34 dates supporting Take That on their mega sell out Beautiful World tour. She loved this time with them, “they made me feel so comfortable …they were the perfect hosts.”
After her meteoritic rise ten years ago with Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) with Italian producer Spiller, her debut solo release after her split with rock band The Audience- has recently been awarded the astonishing accolade of ‘the decade’s most played track on radio.’ Surely these are the things that make you feel like an accomplished artist? She replies “That’s so cool, I’m really proud of that.”
Having survived a decade that has seen a plethora of pop star fatalities, she can still produce hits that are significant today. To date, Sophie competes with the cream of the crop, her mesmeric beauty proved an unexpected predecessor to Kate Moss as the face of Rimmel 2008 and her contract has been renewed. ” When I was asked to be the face of Rimmel I was chuffed.”
Fittingly Sophie loves make up and is quite the vintage fashion queen. I like to think of her as more Audrey Hepburn with her dark hair and her waif like frame.
While a total vision of beauty, she reveals, she has had it tough in her days. At school the boys never fancied her and had since received her fair share of ridicule at the way she looked when starting her music career. It seems she had it firmly placed in her mind that she was different. But now having the face of Rimmel under her belt she wants other young girls who never felt the prettiest to know looking different is a good thing.
These days she accepts her unique beauty. The future is luminous for Sophie, clearly this electro pop queen still gets the thrills over what she does, she gushes, “I’m still completely excited by what I do.”