- Tue, 2007-08-14 18:00
Sophie Ellis-Bextor continues her storming comeback with the release of a new single entitled Today The Sun's On Us and announcement of a UK tour. Sophie’s third album Trip The Light Fantastic shot straight into the top 10.
I Like Music caught up with Sophie Ellis-Bextor to talk about her new single, collaborating with Dan from The Feeling, touring and Sophie's driving playlist
“I Like Music because… it’s provided the soundtrack to all of my happiest memories.” Sophie Ellis-Bextor
ILM: Your single ‘Today The Sun’s On Us’ is released on 13th August which you co-wrote. It sees a change in style as a mid tempo ballad perfect for the long summer evenings. Can you tell us how the track came about and describe its whole vibe?
Sophie: Well this song is, in some ways, a little bit of a departure, because I’m usually associated with fairly up tempo stuff (certainly with the singles anyway), so it’s been nice to do something that’s more of an ‘anthemicy’ ‘ballady’ piece. It’s essentially about giving yourself permission to enjoy the good times in life, even if you know they won’t last forever, so there’s a bit melancholy. It’s saying, ‘today’s a good day and yes some day this might change and it won’t always be so rosy but appreciate today while you’ve got it.’
ILM: Your third album ‘Trip The Light Fantastic’ shot straight into the top 10 last month. Which track did you most enjoy laying down in the studio?
Sophie: It’s difficult to choose really, because they’re all new and shiny, so they all have something to offer at the moment. I don’t listen to my album a lot at home, but the ones I would listen to most are songs like, If I Can’t Dance or Love Is Here or Me And My Imagination. Those three would be my favourite.
ILM: Do you still find yourself learning new things in the studio? Did you on this one?
Sophie: Absolutely, with this album particularly because I wrote with so many different people and I was writing for two and a half years; there were something like 80 songs written towards this album. So, I was really relaxed and excited about the idea of learning lots of new stuff. It was great and I’ve made lots of new friends who I hope I can work with on the next stuff, so I was pretty spoilt.
ILM: Your songs often are modern pop with timeless appeal. Please can you describe the Sophie Ellis Bextor process of making such lovely music?
Sophie: Thank you for the compliment. I guess I’m just a real pop kid really. This album particularly was like continuing my love affair with pop and bits of electro and disco and rock and indie and, I suppose, if I’m influenced by the things that I’ve been listening to since I was little, maybe the classic feel is what I try and emulate. The main process is always melody first and lyrics last. I find it really hard to come up with lyrics for songs.
ILM: You’ve supported George Michael on his 25 Live stadium tour across Europe. How has that been?
Sophie: It was brilliant. He’s one of those artists that has so many more hits than you remember when you start reeling the names off. He was doing stuff from Wham and I had some happy nights dancing to I’m Your Man. Obviously there were big crowds and stadiums, so yeah, lots of fun.
ILM: You’re hitting the road for your own headline tour later this autumn (August ‘til October). It is the first time you’ve toured since 2004. What do you miss most/least about touring?
Sophie: Well, actually, touring is the bit I’ve missed the most out of everything. When I stepped away from stuff to enjoy being a mum and then went back to songwriting, it was the touring that was the carrot on the end of the stick, so I’ve been really looking forward to it. Like you say, I’ve not toured for four years, so I’ve got lots of material. At the moment I’m quite optimistic so there’s not anything I’m not looking forward to. I just can’t wait to get out there and showcase all these songs. Particularly, I haven’t done anything live from the second album or this album so there’s lots to give me a bit of stimulation.
ILM: What’s your favourite Sophie Ellis-Bextor track to play live?
Sophie: I guess it’s always a pleasure doing songs like Groovejet and Murder On The Dancefloor, just because everyone knows them so well. It’s a real privilege as a singer to have those songs where everybody knows them and the crowd can sing along, but I think, if I’m honest, I’m really looking forward to doing the new ones like If I Can’t Dance. They’re just new so they’re all shiny and fresh out of the box.
ILM: The break is because you’re now a mum to Sonny. And you’re definitely a musical family [Sophie is married to Richard from The Feeling]. Does Sonny have any favourite music?
Sophie: Absolutely, he’s big into music. At the moment The Feeling are working on their second album and Sonny just wants to hear that all the time. So, I’ve been kind of pushed out of the way for new daddy music, which is understandable, because he’s known the other stuff for years. So he’s really into all their new stuff.
ILM: So you’ve both got a fan there as well.
Sophie: Yeah… so far [Sophie laughs]
ILM: How was it collaborating with Dan from The Feeling?
Sophie: Lovely, he’s an incredibly talented guy. It would’ve been foolish not to give it a go. The lovely thing about songwriting is, the worst that can happen is that you write a bad song and you think ‘I won’t do that again’, but you might just find someone who you work really well with. Luckily it did work really well and one of the songs on the album called Love Is Here, which I did with Dan, is one of my favourites; so it was a pleasure and I hope we do more in the future. Dan’s great. He’s a good boy.
ILM: You’re one of the UK’s most unique pop stars in terms of your voice and your look, do you think you have a duality to your music and personality – modern yet timeless, fun yet reserved… discuss?
Sophie: You know what you’re probably right, but in a lot of ways you’d be a better judge than me, because it’s difficult to judge your own stuff and style. Particularly with this album, I just wanted to play to my strengths and what I felt happiest doing. Because pop is very fickle and I’d rather live and die by things I feel comfortable with, than try and fit in with whatever else is around. And then, if you get it wrong, you think ‘why did I do that?’ So you just try to plot your own course. I think nowadays there’s quite a lot of pop artists who aren’t too formulaic and I think it’s a really brilliant time to be involved in pop music again, so I’m encouraged by that. I just try and have a career that has as much integrity to it as possible so I can sleep easy at night. And that’s about as far as I’ve got really.
ILM: What’s your advice to young musicians who are just starting out? Any tips?
Sophie: Nowadays is a really great time to be a musician, because you’ve got so many tools available to you to get your music out there, especially on the internet. Don’t regard getting signed as the Holy Grail, because the time when you are your own person and you haven’t got 10 hundred people with opinions is really important. What you’re up to is really precious and you should use that time to get a sense of who you are and what you want to do and wait for a record company to find you when you’re ready.
ILM: Do you drive? If so, what songs do you listen to when driving?
Sophie: I tend to use driving as a good time to really listen to albums properly, because ipods and stuff, you get very spoilt and listen to the tracks you know and are familiar with and listen to singles over and over. So, when I’m driving I tend to listen to a lot of new stuff. You can just sit back and listen to a whole album without flicking through each track. Today I was listening to Bjork’s new album.
ILM: If you want to chill out and unwind, what music do you choose to listen to?
Sophie: I’m always partial to a bit of 70s easy listening like Yellow or Hall and Oates, but if I want something a bit more dramatic, then Sigur Ros.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s latest single, Today The Sun's On Us is out now, released August 13th 2007.