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In the

moment+

SOPHIE ELLIS- BEXTOR:
BEHIND THE MIKE

Singer, songwriter, Strictly Come Dancing finalist and mother of three: meet Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the ultimate modern mum.

In the Moment: with Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

I’ve been making music for about 16 years now, which is really scary. There have been many highlights along the way, but the first time I felt a little tingle and thought, ‘Oh this is exciting’, was when I was with my first band, theaudience. We went to an awards ceremony and Debbie Harry walked in just before me. I remember hearing the photographers shouting ‘Debbie, Debbie’, and then as I followed, they started calling my name too. That was a real ‘wow’ moment – not only to see Debbie Harry in the flesh, but it was cool to think that people knew who I was.

There are so many artists that I find inspirational but one of the first people I really got excited about was Madonna. When I was a little girl I thought I was her biggest fan; it felt like she was her own boss, working under her own agenda and not trying to please anyone else. She has arguably changed what it means to be a female in the music industry, and I think it’s so exciting to find an artist that can still surprise you by doing something unexpected.

My new album, Wanderlust, is pretty different from anything I’ve done before. People know me for dance music, which is wonderful for expressing heady, in-the-moment feelings, but you can’t really tell stories or be retrospective or wistful. That was the idea behind Wanderlust. It was inspired by eastern Europe so there’s no disco, but fairytales, mandolins and even a Bulgarian choir.

As a child, I loved watching Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, and I was obsessed with how the Pink Ladies looked in Grease, which I think has played a part in influencing the way I dress today. I like tailoring but also garments that look like they could have been made out of curtains! It was funny doing Strictly Come Dancing because so much of it is about costume. I had three favourite outfits from the show: the beautiful gold Charleston playsuit, my foxtrot dress, which was covered in jewels with feathers around the hem – very Ginger Rogers! And, surprisingly, my rumba outfit [a midnight-blue floor-length gown] – I felt great in that!

I suppose I’m incredibly lucky because I love my job and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Collaborating with brilliant musicians and singing and writing songs is a brilliant way to spend time. I’ve been fortunate enough to do some really incredible gigs along the way: performing outside Buckingham Palace with a live string orchestra for the Olympic handover [party, in 2008] was definitely once in a lifetime! I still enjoy so much of what I do and every performance feels like a highlight because I’ve come to realise that it’s a real privilege, especially as I can also involve my children. It’s fun for them; they can hang out in the recording studios and bash drum kits or come on tour and see me perform. There are worse childhoods than to be brought up around music, and I honestly think I’m a better mother for it, too.

“I’m incredibly LUCKY because I love my
job and it doesn’t feel like work to me. I’ve come to realise it’s a real privilege.”

MORE THAN MUSIC

Sophie talks Strictly, her love of vintage and how she achieves that work-life balance.

CENTRE STAGE
Sometimes the most effective looks are the simplest. Case in point this chic sweater and miniskirt combination

SOPHIE’S CHOICE

  • 1. MUSIC
    I’m a bit of a kid in the sweetshop when it comes to the stuff I listen to. It’s not unheard of for me to play something by Mary Poppins followed by Candi Staton!
  • 2. FASHION
    My style has been influenced by quite an eclectic bunch of things – even my Cindy doll!
  • 3. FAMILY
    I recently saw my brother, who is a drummer, on stage and welled up. There’s something about seeing someone you really care about doing their own thing; it’s quite amazing.
  • 4. LOVE
    I met my husband, Richard, because he was originally in my band and, rather tragically, the first words I said to him were, ‘Nice amp’! He’s now the bass guitarist for The Feeling.
  • 5. DANCE
    I had so much fun on Strictly Come Dancing. I love that it was all so sparkly and flamboyant, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Brendan Cole.

THE DETAILS

STEAL SOPHIE’S STYLE

The singer puts a playful, retro-inspired spin on this season’s monochrome trend.
Shop now

STAR PIECE

Sophisticated knitwear guarantees a top performance in the style stakes.
Shop now

 

Photos: Eric Frideen

PRINT MISTRESS

Polka dots are spot on this season.
Shop now

EASY ELEGANCE

M&S Collection Shift DressShop now

FLAT OUT

Autograph Pointed-Toe PumpsShop now


SHAPE SHIFTER
Channel 60s chic with a sleek black and
white dress and pointed pumps.Shop now

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