Sophie Ellis Bextor Shares Inspirations That Shaped Her Music

Sophie Ellis Bextor first came to the attention of UK audiences with her indie outfit, The Audience, which was responsible for some of the sassiest, smartest lyrics in the indie-pop scene. Then came her partnering with Spiller for the dance floor filling “Groovejet” – which showed a new musical sensibility and an ability to bring tenacious lyrics to easy pop hooks. “Murder on the Dance Floor” which reached the top ten of every country other than the USA, set Ellis Bextor’s solo trajectory as an artist of unique and unforced style. 

Through the years the artist has developed her craft, explored more personal themes and remained one of the most prolific solo artists in genre. Her latest album Familia continues a body of work that continues Ellis Bextor’s curiosity for pop with heart and soul, and displays an artist at the top of her writing game.

ARTISTdirect caught up with Sophie to discuss her musical memories, and to gain an insight to the eclectic tastes of an artist who has a magnetic ability to attract a dance-hook.

First single I bought:

Madness – “Our House”. I was 4 and my dad took me to the record shop to buy it.

First live show I attended:

Pink Floyd (I was 8). Again my dad took me. He’s a big fan. He took me again when I was 11. I thought it was a bit boring, but now I think it’s a pretty cool first gig.

First song I learned to play:

The theme tune to Twin Peaks. On piano.

The song that encouraged me to learn my instrument of choice:

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I started playing when I was about 6 or 7 so it was all the simple stuff that started to unlock how incredible the piano is. It’s still my favorite instrument. So friendly.

The song that reminds me of home:

“Witchita Lineman”. It’s so beautiful and I’ve listened to it on many a Sunday when we all sit down for a roast dinner together. I also danced to it with my baby first son when his dad and I got married.

My guilty secret track:

“She Bangs” – Ricky martin. Though I don’t feel guilty.

The song I wish I wrote:

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. It’s got so much vulnerability and bittersweetness.

The finest song from my all time hero:

Madonna “Like a Prayer”. Just an incredible pop record with love and lust and religion and sex all in one place.

The song I’ve written of which I’m most proud:

“Young Blood.” I love disco and pop but this was the first song that I’ve written where it moves me on stage to the point where I can sometimes get a bit teary. It’s about how when you fall in love with someone, no matter how many years go by, part of you always sees the other as they were when you first met and it keeps you young.

The song that should be played at my funeral:

“Hey Mickey” – Toni Basil. Not an obvious funeral song but my favorite song from when I was tiny and everyone who knows me knows I love it.

My favorite track from my most recent project:

“Wild Forever” from Familia. It’s about letting yourself stay a bit feral and not feeling you have to conform. More importantly perhaps it makes me want to dance! 

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