Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor recalls the “horrible” failure she experienced in her career

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor just opened up about the “horrible” failure she has experienced during her career, and the important life lesson she took from it. 

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been a bit of a lockdown hero over the last 12 months. The singer has had people around the country dancing in their PJs at home with her Kitchen Disco sessions. At a time when live music seems like a distant memory, they’ve been a total joy to watch and sing along to. In fact, they even led the singer to release a new album, Songs From The Kitchen Disco

But they didn’t come without apprehension from Ellis-Bextor. “I really thought people were going to laugh at me,” she said in an interview with Graham Norton last year. “But we felt really good afterwards and our brains were tricked into thinking we had just done a gig. We got such a warm response.”

It was a life lesson in not letting your inner critic stop you from taking a chance and doing something you love – something a lot of us can no doubt learn from. And, in another interview, Ellis-Bextor has just shared another important lesson we can learn from.

Speaking on the Out To Lunch With Jay Rayner podcast, the star spoke about the failures she has faced in her career and why she’s actually thankful they happened. 

Ellis-Bextor talked about the “failure” of her first Britpop band, Theaudience, and how it helped her accept success when she went on to enjoy a solo career. 

“We signed a record deal, we signed in a flurry of hype. We’d had six record record deals from six different companies, six-figure contracts. It was all very heady,” she told Rayner. “But having that all, our album didn’t even chart [the] top 20 and then we were dropped quite quickly after that.”

“And it was horrible,” she recalled. “It felt absolutely horrible, but I think it’s meant that everything that’s happened to me since then, I know what it feels like when the whole thing goes away. It did actually help me. I don’t know how Groovejet [who she recorded a number one hit with] would’ve felt, and the success that happened with it and the momentum, if I hadn’t already known that feeling of experiencing a little bit of momentum and then the crash.

“So actually I am grateful. I didn’t like it, but it was good for me.”

Explaining how failure gave her perspective on success, Ellis-Bextor added: “I’ve never really had a pure success bit. I thought that my first band were going to be that success. And then it was over before my friends had even finished their first year of uni. That taught me a big lesson. 

“With Groovejet, I always felt like I could see it for what it was. I never got too wrapped up in it, really. It can all change so quickly.”

We’re always so interested to see what lessons about failure women have to share, because it’s just something that we all inevitably go through. Take, for instance, when Frankie Bridge recently talked about her failure to live in the moment because she’s too focused on “waiting for the next big thing to happen”. And it was equally reassuring when Hollywood star Rachel Brosnahan admitted to feeling anxiety over her career failures.

You can listen to everything Ellis-Bextor said in the interview on the Out To Lunch With Jay Rayner podcast, available on all podcast streaming platforms.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…