Sophie Michelle Ellis-Bextor (born
10 April 1979) is a multi-platinum selling English singer, songwriter and
model. She first came to prominence in the late 1990s, as the lead singer
of the indie rock band theaudience. After the group disbanded,
Ellis-Bextor went solo, achieving widespread success especially in the
early 2000s. Her music is a mixture of mainstream Pop, Disco, Nu-Disco,
and 1980s electronic influences. She is noted for a strong English accent
even while singing.
Ellis-Bextor released three solo albums, "Read My Lips", "Shoot From The
Hip", and "Trip The Light Fantastic". She is due to release her fourth
solo album in April, 2010.
She attended 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.
In 2005, Ellis-Bextor married The Feeling guitarist Richard Jones in
Italy. Ellis-Bextor's second son, Drew Cox, was born on 7 February 2009
weighing 2 lb 10oz. This was her second complicated birth; Sonny was born
nine weeks prematurely by emergency cesarean section after Sophie
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
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. 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.
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 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.
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.
Her third album, entitled Trip the Light Fantastic, was released on 21 May
2007. Fred Schneider of The B-52s, Richard Barone (formerly of The
Bongos), Shelly Poole (formerly of Alisha's Attic), Cathy Dennis and Kerin
Smith (formerly of theaudience) contributed to produce an album of
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 fell to No. 21 the following week. The album
was certified Gold in July 2008, for selling over 100,000 copies in the
Ellis-Bextor supported George Michael on his UK tour leg in June 2007. Her
own UK tour was due to start on 14 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.
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
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 "Magic" and "Starlight". She also
worked with Groove Armada, The Hoosiers, Dimitri Tikovoi, Hannah Robinson,
Metronomy, Matt Prime and Liam Howe from the Sneaker Pimps.
In November 2008 Ellis-Bextor herself went onto her forums to confirm her
next single would be "Sophia Loren", however this release never
materalized. "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.
On 3 August 2009 Sophie released an exclusive 5-track EP, including past
hits, as well her Top 20 hit "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)" with the
Freemasons. The EP didn't include the new song she performed on the iTunes
Festival called "Starlight".
On 5 January 2010, Sophie announced through her Twitter that the first
single is called "Bittersweet" (co-written by Freemasons and Hannah
Robinson), saying it is "about when you can't resist something that you
know is bad for you. a guilty pleasure. like watching celebrity big
brother." She proceeded to say that would be sent to radio in early
February and released as a single in April. She's also been quoted as
saying she's working with Armin Van Buuren on a track called "Not Giving
Up On Love".
Sophie performed at Birmingham's "Nightingale Club" on 30 January 2010,
performing her smash hit single "Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer)", as well
as previous hits.
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 October 2008, Ellis-Bextor covered the Dolly Parton song "Jolene"; the
track was released on the soundtrack to the BBC2 sitcom Beautiful People.
In early November 2008, Ellis-Bextor recorded a track with the French DJ
Junior Caldera, and the song's title is "Can't Fight this Feeling,
released in 2009. However, the release of the single was put on
"jeopardy", as Junior Caldera released 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 24 February 2009, and reached #78 Top Favorited in
France the same day. The single will be released as the fourth single
taken from "Dčbut", possibly in March or April 2010 in France.
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 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
She auditioned for the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge! for the part of Satine.
Ellis-Bextor is appearing as an advocate for Verdi on BBC World News
classical music programme Visionaries in August 2008.
Ellis-Bextor performed live at Manchester's Gay Pride, on 23 August 2008,
having just arrived back from Moscow.
On 24 August 2008, Ellis-Bextor performed a live cover version of Carly
Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" outside Buckingham Palace as part of the
Visa London 2012 Handover Party in the Mall.
Ellis-Bextor and her husband Richard Jones will be launching a DJ club
project, called "Modern Love" in London.
In May 2008 Ellis-Bextor was hired by cosmetics brand Rimmel as one of
their new faces. A new song performed by Ellis-Bextor is featured in one
of the Rimmel London' spot for the line "Sexy Curves".