You wouldn’t know it to observe her boundless energy, but Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been in the pop biz for a quarter of a century now. Of the many phases of her career over that 25 years, she’s arguably been more successful than ever in the 2020s. Ironically, it was the early months of lockdown, and her housebound livestreams, which boosted her profile to the extent that she’ll regale Cardiff with a Christmas edition of her Kitchen Disco. Ahead of that, she fielded some of Buzz’s questions.
Kitchen Disco having taken off clearly increased your draw as a live artist, with some big venues on this Christmas tour – an arena, in Cardiff’s case. How much of a surprise was that, if you think back to 2020-21 and no-one really knowing when live music would be happening at all?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: It was a massive shock what happed to the Kitchen Disco. It was something my husband Richard [Jones, from The Feeling] and I did, mainly because we were feeling so discombobulated – struggling, actually – with the stress of lockdown. So to find the community that came out of Kitchen Disco, and then for it to be part of my life going forward – it was one surprise after another, but absolutely joyful, and I’m so moved by what happened with all that. It matters to me a great deal.
Is there a disco-themed dresscode for this tour? Sequins an absolute must? Any “oops upside your head” action or intricate disco moves we’re going to need to practice for?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Actually, no! You can wear what you want. I think it’s so adorable that people dress up. But I just want people to feel comfortable – I would never insist on sequins. Except for myself!
Your debut book from 2021, Spinning Plates, was a success by all accounts. Was writing it – or any sort of book – a long-term ambition of yours or was the opportunity offered out of the blue?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: I actually thought I’d be a writer when I was young, but the opportunity came up, and I was asked about writing Spinning Plates. Initially I was asked about writing a series of essays, and then it all kind of tumbled out of me, and became an autobiography – I really enjoyed it.
Are any further books by yourself likely to be along the lines of that one, or something entirely different – fiction for example?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Maybe some fiction one day. But – as someone who reads a lot of books – I feel like I would have to think of something really special. Let’s see if inspiration strikes…
We love the Spinning Plates podcast chats – especially when your mum, Janet Ellis, features.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Thank you. I absolutely love doing my podcast. It’s a complete passion project, and I can’t believe I have been doing it for… well, it’s heading towards four years! But there’s still so many more guests that keep it going.
Have you ever been asked to do Eurovision? Would you consider representing the UK?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Actually, yeah – there were talks about it, bloody ages ago now, about 15 years. I love Eurovision so much – I think it can work wonders for people that do represent the UK – but I don’t see it in my future.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Yes! I love the movie. I thought it was absolutely brilliant – very much my kind of film. It’s funny, dark, twisted, and I feel like it’s a massive honour to be part of it. Plus I’ve never seen anyone dance to the song that way before… let’s see if it catches on.
How will you be spending Christmas this year? What’s Christmas like in the Ellis-Bextor/Jones household and who does all the cooking?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: We host Christmas. Everyone is coming to us! Richard does the majority of the cooking now. It used to be me, but we delegate – everyone has got their jobs. So yeah, all round to us for a big family fandango, with old traditions, and always making some new ones.
We love Christmas in our house, and I can’t wait for the Cardiff gig. It’s going to be really exciting to be in an arena. I know it’s by default [the show was relocated from St David’s Hall], but we are still going to make the most of it. It’s going to be fun!
Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Christmas Kitchen Disco, Utilita Arena Cardiff, Tue 12 Dec.
Tickets: £33-£58.50. Info: here