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Interview: Sophie Ellis-Bextor

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When Stylist was offered the opportunity of a catch-up with pop sensation Sophie Ellis-Bextor, we jumped at the chance. Ever since the 32-year-old stormed onto the scene with retro dance track Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) in 2000 she has gone from strength to strength, effortlessly combining motherhood (Sophie has two young children with her husband, The Feeling bassist Richard Jones) with co-writing and performing a series of chart-topping albums. Her fourth album, Make a Scene, was released in June, soon after Groovejet was named "the decade's most played track on radio."

Read what Sophie had to say on the topic of musical inspiration, style, motherhood and more in our interview below...

You’ve been hugely successful in the music industry, how do you get inspiration for song-writing? And do you ever get writer’s block?

I work with lots of different people to keep me stimulated and I find the pressure of being in a room with someone having to come up with ideas keeps me from getting writer's block. The times I get that are the times when I work alone. I get paralysed by the amount of options available to write about.

You’re well-known for your quirky, offbeat style; who are your style icons? And would you ever consider launching your own clothes line?

My style icons are Julie Andrews and my first doll, Sindy. Sindy had the curvy body, the red lips and the black eyeliner. Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins had the tailoring, in The Sound of Music the dresses made from old curtains. I would love to design my own clothes. What girl wouldn't?!

Who do you look to in the music industry as someone to aspire to?

I love the fact there's so many wonderful female artists around but I can say hand on heart I am very comfortable with my own destiny and I've never seen someone else's career and thought 'I want that for me'. I think that's part of the reason I'm still here, doing what I do.

If you could name any big singer of tomorrow, who would it be? There seems to be a shortage of big-name UK female artists equivalent to Rihanna, Gaga, etc. Do you think there’s any particular reason for this?

I don’t quite agree with you. I think we've got an amazing history of producing big female artists from Dusty Springfield to Annie Lennox to Kate Bush to Adele. We just have a different approach. We don't strive to be the same all-singing, all-dancing type of pop star that the Americans do so well. I think both have their merits.

I can say hand on heart I am very comfortable with my own destiny and I've never seen someone else's career and thought 'I want that for me.'

What advice would you give to up-and-coming songwriter trying to get a break in today’s industry?

Just keep at it and don't think of a record deal as the holy grail. It’s the years spent getting there that you learn the most about yourself without a load of other people sticking their oar in about how you should be doing things!

How do you juggle being a mum with handling your career – how much do you rely on your husband to help you out with this?

I rely on my husband, our brilliant nanny, my dad, my mum, my sister, my brother! One thing I learnt early on is if someone offers to help, accept it. My children are happy and have a supportive extended family. I'm very lucky but obviously sometimes I get it wrong. I'm trying to do my best.

You’ve fronted campaigns for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in the past; why do you believe in their message and would you ever consider going naked for one of their campaigns?

I saw the supermodels in the eighties say 'we'd rather go naked than wear fur' and saw it as a moral statement, not a fashion statement. For me it's a no brainer. Fur as fashion is avoidable and in bad taste. I don’t see the need to do another campaign. I see it more that I've put my name down on their petition.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

My friends and family obviously but I'd add in Nigel Slater, Dolly Parton, Adam and Joe, Katherine Heigl and Derren Brown.

You’re launching a Emmi Caffe Latte pop-up store in support of bringing back lunch breaks; do you ever get time for a lunch break – and if so, what do you eat?

Anything! sushi maybe? I'll have whatever you're having. I'm just happy to be eating...

ABOVE: Sophie Ellis-Bextor enjoys the pampering of the resident professionals at the new Emmi Caffe Latte shop in Maddox Street, central London.

Sophie Ellis Bextor today (4 July) launches the Emmi Caffe Latte Pop Up Shop in London open from the 4 – 9 July. Go to facebook.com/emmiukltd for more information.

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