Sophie Ellis-Bextor on family life and touring

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Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor talks to Charlotte Harding about her latest album and how she manages family life with touring.

Many singers have the songs they are famous for, but while some get bored of performing them tour after tour Sophie Ellis-Bextor sees them as a gift.

“I never tire of performing ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ or ‘Groovejet’,” she smiles.

“I don’t identify with singers who don’t like singing the ones people know them for.

“I still love those songs and I think having them in my set is a gift.”

Fans of her older work will be happy as she admits there are some ‘good friends’ on her debut album ‘Read My Lips’ that she says she can never part with when she tours.

“But then it is fun to hop around the albums and choose my favourites,” she says.

“To be honest I don’t find it super tricky putting the set list together. I just try and build a set where it has a shape and each song compliments the other songs.”

The sixth album Familia came out in September and this month she embarks on a nationwide tour, which sees her play Brighton.

“I can’t wait to come and sing in Sussex,” enthuses Sophie.

“My husband (Richard Jones bass guitar player from British band The Feeling) is from Sussex, as is Ed Harcourt who I wrote this album and my last Wanderlust with.

“My dad lives in Sussex and so is my step mum, it’s part of my childhood and I’ve always loved this part of the world.”

A mum to four boys, family is obviously important to the singer and influenced the name of the new album.

“I wanted something Spanish as the album has a Latin American feel,” explains Sophie.

“Familia fitted as the band and people around me who I work with feel like family to me.

“Plus I also had my fourth baby, Jesse, with me in the studio while I was recording so there’s obviously my literal family involved including my husband Richard on bass.”

Being a successful singer with a family Sophie is keen to not be away too long when she tours.

“I try and make my work trips as short as possible so I’m not away for long,” she adds.

“It means I don’t sleep as much but that’s ok, I like getting home as soon as I can.”

Sophie set up her own record label EBGB in 2011 and released 2011’s ‘Make A Scene’, 2014’s ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Familia’ on it to give herself more creative freedom.

“I did it because I wrote Wanderlust and I really believed in it even though the labels all passed on it,” she recalls.

“The success I had with that record meant more to me than anything, not because I felt smug but because that record was a real passion project with some amazing folk involved.”

When it comes to song writing Sophie says that it is like ‘a muscle’ and the more you do the easier it is to access those ideas.

“That being said writing those special songs that give you a little thrill they come along once in awhile and you can’t force that,” she adds.

“You’re essentially the same person but what goes on around you and growing up change your perception a little each time.”

As for her favourite track from the current album the singer can’t choose between ‘Wild Forever’ or ‘Death of Love’.

She describes ‘Wild Forever’ as a classic pop/dance song which makes her happy every time she sings it, while ‘Death of Love’ has an ‘epic stadium feel’.

“I’m a big romantic at heart and ‘Death of Love’ is about how love is eternal,” smiles Sophie.

“I love the message of ‘Wild Forever’ it says you don’t have to get old and boring if you don’t want to.”

And it isn’t just her songs that make her happy but also touring.

“I have the most wonderful band with me,” Sophie says.

“It’s a joyful thing which is exactly what doing my job should feel like.

“It’s a privilege to do something you love for a living.”

Sophie Ellis-Bextor plays Concorde 2 in Brighton on February 27, you can buy tickets at www.concorde2.co.uk And for more information on Sophie and the tour visit her website, sophieellisbextor.net

This was featured in February’s etc Magazine make sure you pick up your copy now.