Face To Face With Sophie Ellis Bextor


With Get Over You currently wooing the UK charts, Sophie Ellis Bextor talks lust, looks and lyrics with Howard Dobson

Howard Dobson: Sophie you're a sassy pop diva and some of your songs are quite....

Sophie Ellis Bextor: ...flirty.

HD: Yes in fact they could be called the musical version of FHM magazine.

SEB: Oh God! What an insult! It's a 22-year-old girl singing. Let's not over-analyse. God that's such an insult!

HD: May I ask whom you sing the sexy lyrics to?

SEB: It's really to me when I'm 13 I think.

HD: Your website calls your music 'grown-up pop with a post-watershed groove'. Does it appeal particularly to men?

SEB: If you listen to it and you felt so strongly that it's talking to you then my job is done if you ask me. If you can feel that and also the six-year-old girls that I get letters from can feel that then I'm doing a good job as a singer.

HD: So do you get boxer shorts thrown at you on stage?

SEB: [Laughs] I'd rather get briefs, proper knickers, than boxer shorts, cause at least I can do something with them!

HD: Seriously though your music is very mature lyrically isn't it?

SEB: I get very frustrated with the way everything's so sort of watered down and people are so unready to take risks or really credit anybody for having any kind of taste, you know. That goes on in every area of the media, I think - magazines and comicey books, beach reading and all that - and music is definitely rife with all that and that's what I don't like about the way pop music is regarded because I think pop music is brilliant but there's also a really crummy side of it because it's open to abuse because it's a very accessible form of music. And so it's really saying to people you don't have to settle for second best if you don't want to. Cause after a while you just forget that you deserve any better.

HD: Does your music get the respect it deserves?

SEB: Yeah. Even if it hadn't, there's plenty of time yet. That's the great thing about an album. It can have a life beyond six months. Everything's set up very well for it. It's having a nice little time I think.


HD: You must feel your looks are an asset because you did modelling didn't you?

SEB: I did a lot of stuff. I started writing a book. I started doing some music for TV - soundtrack sort of stuff. It was more like OK I need to pay the bills, what can I do? I didn't choose modelling at all, it came and found me because I was 'shopping'. I only did it for maybe eight or 12 weeks - something like that. Not everyone's lucky enough to have singing as a day job and I wasn't at that time.

HD: There's a lot of variety on your album Read My Lips, such as disco (Take Me Home), 80s soul (Murder On The Dancefloor), and electro-pop (Everything Falls into Place). Is that your way of showcasing what you can do?

SEB: I guess it's what I grew up with. There's been lots and lots of different things going on and going from an indie group to a dance thing I wanted to explore that bridge and my relationship with dance is more the electro 80s side of it, so that's where that came into play. I've been interested in the disco element of Groovejet, which is where the Murder on the Dancefloor thing comes into it. But then I've also got the indie side which is more the Move this Mountain, I Believe side of the album. It's all my journey as a singer.

HD: Are you typecast by the media as a disco diva?

SEB: I find it a bit peculiar when people say I'm a dance singer but I can totally understand it because it just means they haven't listened to the album.

HD: Do you want to stay at the top of the charts or go off in a more specialist direction?

SEB: I quite like the idea of trying to do a bit of both I think. I try not to be one of those people who gets all bitter about things selling.

For the latest Sophie Ellis Bextor news visit www.sophieellisbextor.net


Sophie Ellis Bextor
York Barbican (England) 21/04/02

Touring after only three hits takes stamina - but then Sophie Ellis Bextor had a well-received debut solo album for back-up.

Sparkle pulled the crowd into Sophie's world of cover girl glamour. The Universe Is You then confirmed her ability to stir together a variety of influences - her songs feature funky dance rhythms, electro-pop and 80s soul - to arrive at something fresh and appetising.

Sophie only left the confines of Read My Lips - recreated superbly by a live four-piece band - three times: A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed paid tribute to her time with indie band the audience, Groovejet (If This Aint Love) took those old enough to go clubbing back to the summer of 2000, and there was a new song called Get Over You for the encore.

The highlight of the 50-minute set was a gloriously funky rendition of Murder on the Dancefloor - which inspired the sell-out crowd to shimmy the goddam house right down.

(c) 2000 Howard Dobson
Howard Dobson, Freelance Writer & Editor
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