Sophie Ellis-BextorSophie Michelle Ellis-Bextor (born 10 April 1979) is a multi-platinum selling English singer-songwriter and model. Her music is a mixture of mainstream Pop, Disco, Nu-Disco, and 1980s electronic influences.
Sophie Michelle Ellis-Bextor was born in west Middlesex to Robin Bextor, an award-winning film director, and Janet Ellis, then an actress, but later better known as a presenter on the TV series Blue Peter (on which Sophie appeared with her mother at the age of six, modelling snoods). Her parents divorced when Sophie was four years old. She has three sisters and two brothers. She has often spoken about being very close to her family growing up and she often takes her brothers and sisters to work with her. Her brother Jackson Ellis-Leach is currently her drummer.
She attended school at St. Stephen's School and later Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith. Among her earliest public performances were with the W11 Opera children's opera from the age of thirteen, and she is now a patron of the organisation.
On 23 April 2004, she gave birth to her first child, a boy named Sonny. The father is the bass guitarist for The Feeling, Richard Jones, whom she later married on 25 June 2005 in Italy. Previously, she dated her manager Matt Boyd for six years.Ellis-Bextor's second son, Kit Valentine, was born on February 7, 2009 weighing 2lb 10oz. This was her second complicated birth; Sonny was born nine weeks prematurely by emergency cesarean section after Sophie developed pre-eclampsia.
Ellis-Bextor began her musical career in 1997, with an indie band called theaudience. She sang the lead vocal in the band. While she was a band member, readers of Melody Maker elected her to the Number 1 position among the 'most sexy people in rock'. She recorded a duet with Manic Street Preachers—Black Holes for the Young—as a B-side for their 1998 single The Everlasting. Several songs released by theaudience are I Got the Wherewithal, If You Can't Do It When You're Young; When Can You Do It?, I Know Enough (I Don't Get Enough), and A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (perhaps their best-known single). The band split in December 1998. In 1999 Ellis-Bextor made an appearance on the Departure Lounge album Out Of Here.
After theaudience split, Ellis-Bextor took a year off from singing. In 2000, Ellis-Bextor collaborated with Italian DJ Spiller on adding vocals to his then-instrumental club track "Groovejet, her first recorded work since that with theaudience. "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" entered the U.K. charts at No. 1, just beating former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham on her first solo outing to the top spot. Since then, the two have been described as rivals. Both women deny, however, that there is any rivalry between the two of them. "Groovejet" won several awards: No. 1, Pop Top 20; No. 1, ILR; No. 1, Radio 1; No. 8, top dance track of 2000 and single of the year in Melody Maker. In the Metro Newspaper, it received ninth place in the contest for the Greatest No. 1 of all time, beating even Madonna. In 2000, it was a finalist in The Record of the Year. In that same year, it won the awards for Best Single and Best Ibiza Tune at the Ericsson Muzik Awards.
Read My Lips
In 2001, Ellis-Bextor released her debut album, Read My Lips. It reached No. 2 on the UK charts and spawned four top-twenty hit singles. Her rework of Cher's "Take Me Home" reached No. 2, as did "Murder on the Dancefloor", which became Ellis-Bextor's biggest single to date and was on charts for twenty-three weeks. "Murder on the Dancefloor" became Europe's most played song of 2002. In 2002, Read My Lips was re-released with two new songs (and a live version of "Groovejet") and Ellis-Bextor won the Recording Artist Award at that year's Showbusiness Awards. Her third single, "Get Over You" / "Move This Mountain" was released in June 2002 and reached No. 3. The fourth single, "Music Gets the Best of Me", rose to No. 14 in December. At the beginning of 2002, Ellis-Bextor was nominated for the "British Female Solo Artist" BRIT Award, going on to be nominated for a further two consecutive years.
Shoot from the Hip
Her second album, Shoot from the Hip, was released in October 2003. Although it was not as commercially successful as her previous material, it held two further top-ten singles. The album reached no higher than No. 19 on the UK charts; its two singles were "Mixed Up World", which reached No. 7, and "I Won't Change You", reaching No. 9. Around this time, rivalry against Victoria Beckham was suggested again; Victoria's single "This Groove" / "Let Your Head Go" reached No. 3, a higher position in the charts than "I Won't Change You". During this time Ellis-Bextor became pregnant and plans for a third and fourth single as well as the Shoot From The Hip Tour were scrapped. After that, Ellis-Bextor paused her musical career to take care of her first child.
Trip the Light Fantastic
In 2004, she announced that she was working on a third album. She worked with Fred Schneider of The B-52s and Richard Barone (formerly of The Bong), Shelly Poole (formerly of Alisha's Attic), Cathy Dennis and Kerin Smith (formerly of theaudience) among others to create a disco-pop album which was released on 21 May, 2007 and is entitled Trip the Light Fantastic.
Before the album two singles were released, Catch You, which charted in the UK through downloads alone at No. 18 and peaked at No. 8 after a physical release and Me and My Imagination which was released on 14 May and charted at No. 23. Her album Trip the Light Fantastic debuted at No. 7 on the UK albums chart and just missed the top twenty the following week, falling to No. 21. The album was certified Gold in July 2008, for selling over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Ellis-Bextor supported George Michael on his UK tour leg in June 2007. Her own UK tour was due to start on the 14th August 2007, entitled "Trip The Light Fantastic Tour", but, on 8 September 2007, on her official website, Ellis-Bextor said that she had postponed it because she was invited to be the "special guest" on the forthcoming Take That European Tour, which commenced on 11 October 2007 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ellis-Bextor stated that her tour would be re-scheduled for March 2008, with all tickets purchased being valid for the rescheduled concerts. However, the tour was never rescheduled, and Ellis-Bextor subsequently refused to discuss the issue in interviews.
The third single off Trip The Light Fantastic was Today the Sun's on Us, which was released on 13 August 2007. The track received good reviews, and the accompanying video, directed by Sophie Muller and shot in Reykjavik, Iceland has achieved strong airplay on music channels; this did not help sales of the single, however, which debuted on the UK Singles Chart at No. 64. The single, however, was responsible for the album's re-entry into the top 100, where it spent another two weeks.
On the first of September 2007, Ellis-Bextor took part in Sopot Festival 2007 in Poland, representing the UK.
She performed "If I Can't Dance" on DanceX, BBC One on 28 July 2007 and confirmed that it would be the fourth single in an interview with Digital Spy on 2 August 2007, a position that was later retracted in an interview on her website dated 12 August 2007. "Love Is Here" was confirmed on her website as the fourth single, however, that release was also scrapped as she was supposed to release a brand new single in late November which was to be included on the following "Greatest Hits" compilation. The release date of the Greatest Hits was pushed back to March 2008, and subsequently cancelled.However, "If I Can't Dance" was released in Spain as the fourth single taken from the album, second released there after "Me and My Imagination". The single has been a hit on Catalonian music station Flaix FM, and the song has appeared on several compilations such as Supermodelo 2008 CD and Disco Estrella 2008.
4th studio album
Ellis-Bextor announced that her fourth studio album was due out in late summer 2009 on 11 April 2008. Recording sessions for new songs to be included on her "Greatest Hits" collection proved fruitful, so Ellis-Bextor decided to release a fourth studio album before releasing her hits compilation. She further indicated that she was considering a change in musical direction after the release of her fourth album and Greatest Hits collection.
On 2 June 2009 two of her new songs, "Off And On" and "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)". appeared on her official MySpace
Calvin Harris contributed two songs, "Calling It Love" and "Off And On", an outtake from Róisín Murphy's album Overpowered written with Cathy Dennis; he also remixed "Off and On" for club play. Freemasons worked with Ellis-Bextor on "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)". Her collaboration with Richard X resulted in a song titled "I Still Believe in Magic". She also worked with Groove Armada, The Hoosiers, Dimitri Tikovoi, Hannah Robinson, Metronomy, Matt Prime and Liam Howe from the Sneaker Pimps.
It has been revealed by Peter Maggenis that Ellis-Bextor has recorded a cover of "Revenge," an unreleased song written by Madonna and Rick Nowels from Madonna's 1997 Ray of Light recording sessions. The demo version recorded by Madonna leaked to the internet in 2002. It has been confirmed by Ellis-Bextor herself in an interview in QX magazine, that she recorded the track during her sessions for her debut solo album Read My Lips.
On the 5th of November 2008 Ellis-Bextor herself went onto her forums to confirm her next single would be "Sophia Loren", and also that she'll be having her second baby in April 2009. Ellis-Bextor confirmed her fourth album will be released a couple weeks after the album's second single in late July or early August 2009.
Ellis-Bextor performed an exclusive gig in aid of The Terrance Higgins Trust on 28 October 2008. The event took place at London's hottest venue Café de Paris, and she sang some new material, plus some previous hits.
In January 2009 she decided to wait another few months after given birth to her child to release a new single. If "Sophia Loren" will ever become a single is yet unknown. Ellis-Bextor mentioned to replace this song by another one. "Sophia Loren" can be currently heard in the new Rimmel London ad campaign in which Ellis-Bextor also stars. The song was co-written by Ellis-Bextor, frequent collaborator Cathy Dennis, and Christopher Rojas. The latter produced the record which was mixed by London based mix engineer Jeremy Wheatley. In May 2009 Sophie Ellis Bextor again went onto her forum to tell the fans that she is still working on some new songs for her next album and that she will spend some more time in the studio for it. She also explained that she wants to release it as soon as possible now. Ellis Bextor will do some promotion in June for the song "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)".
In early 2005, she performed on a track by the duo Busface, entitled "Circles (Just My Good Time)"; she was credited as "Mademoiselle E.B." in order to not have this be mistaken for a single from her next album.
In 2006, her track "Dear Jimmy" was released on the Popjustice compilation. It is believed to have been recorded in the same sessions as those for her third studio album, Trip The Light Fantastic, and was originally intended for use as the B-side to her single Catch You.
In early November 2008, Ellis-Bextor recorded a track with the French DJ Junior Caldera, and the song's title is "Just Can't Fight This Feeling". The song will be released as the first commercial single from Junior's upcoming first studio album "Dèbut", which will be released in mid-2009. The single is expected to be released in February 2009. However, the release of he single has been put on "jeopardy", as Junior Caldera is releasing as the third single from the album, the song "The Way" . A fan made video with the radio edit of the song was released on Youtube in February 24, 2009, and reached #78 Top Favorited in France the same day . The single will be released in May 2009.
In 2007, Ellis-Bextor appeared at Christmas in the Robbie the Reindeer episode, "Close Encounters of the Herd Kind". Ellis-Bextor was depicted as a female alien at the closure of the story, singing the song 'Supersonic', the last track on her third solo studio album Trip The Light Fantastic. In November of this year she also launched the npower Greener Schools Programme, which aims to give schools in the UK a 'green makeover' by providing free energy audits, implementing tailor-made energy efficiency measures to reduce their carbon footprint, and educating children on how to be greener She also launched Capital Radio's Capital 95.8 'Lights Out London' campaign, which asks Londoners to switch off their lights for one hour in a bid to save 750 MWh and send a message to the world on the importance of climate change.
In May 2008 it was reported that Ellis-Bextor was hired by cosmetics brand Rimmel as one of their new faces. She was apparently taken aboard after wowing Rimmel's bosses in secret screen tests. Contrary to early reports however, Ellis-Bextor will not replace Kate Moss as the main face of the cosmetics giant. A new song performed by Ellis-Bextor is featured in one of the Rimmel London' spot for the line "Sexy Curves".
In 2008 she features in the short musical film The Town that Boars Me by photographer Ben Charles Edwards. The film also features Jodie Harsh, Kelly Osbourne and Zandra Rhodes amongst others. The film is set to debut in late summer at the Portobello Film Festival and is produced by Glass Loves and Shoot to Kill Productions.
An advocate for animal rights, she posed for PETA's anti–fur clothing advertisement. She is also currently fronting a campaign for The Children's Society encouraging people to log onto the Hundreds and Thousands of Childhood Memories Website to donate their favourite childhood memory.
In 2002 it was rumoured she was the frontrunner to land the role of Bond girl in the James Bond movie Die Another Day. This was just a rumour: Ellis-Bextor never got the part, nor did she confirm to have auditioned for the part. She did, however, audition for the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge! for the part of Satine, which eventually went to Nicole Kidman.
Ellis-Bextor performed live at Manchester's Gay Pride, on 23 August 2008, having just arrived back from Moscow.
On 4 October 2008 she performed at the End Child Poverty Coalition's "Keep the Promise" event at Trafalgar Square.
- 2002-2003: "Watch My Lips" (United Kingdom and Europe)
- 2006: "25 Live" (Supporting George Michael on his tour leg around the United Kingdom and Ireland)
- 2007: "Beautiful World Live" (Supporting Take That on their tour in the United Kingdom and Ireland)
- 2001: "Take Me Home"
- 2001: "Murder on the Dancefloor"
- 2002: "Get Over You / Move This Mountain"
- 2002: "Music Gets the Best of Me"
- 2003: "Mixed Up World"
- 2003: "I Won't Change You"
- 2007: "Catch You"
- 2007: "Me and My Imagination"
- 2007: "Today the Sun's on Us"
- 2008: "If I Can't Dance" (Only in selected European regions)
- 1998: "Black Holes For The Young" with The Manic Street Preachers
- 2000: "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" with Spiller
- 2005: "Circles (Just My Good Time)" with Busface
- 2009: "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)" with The Freemasons
- 2009: "Just Can't Fight This Feeling" with Junior Caldera
- 2002: Watch My Lips