Sophie Ellis-Bextor clears up myth about Kylie Minogue song
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has a busy 2019.
The British pop star and her and musician husband Richard Jones (from the band The Feeling) had their fifth child in January and in April they both celebrated their fortieth birthdays.
Next year Ellis-Bextor's breakthrough hit Groovejet turns 20.
As a teenager she'd fronted indie band theaudience, but it was her unlikely collaboration with Italian DJ Spiller providing vocals on Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) that would change her life.
Groovejet went to No. 1 in the UK and Australia and immediately turned Ellis-Bextor from indie chanteuse to dance/pop star - a lane she's stayed in since.
Ironically, she's not only re-recorded Groovejet for her new orchestral greatest hits The Song Diaries, but also covered Love Is You, the 1977 disco song Spiller sampled for the track.
"I'm just a sucker for disco," Ellis-Bextor says.
"Love Is You like a little puppy dog, it's so innocent, it just comes bounding up 'please like me'."
Ellis-Bextor followed Groovejet with her signature hit Murder On the Dancefloor in 2001 (it was sampled by Grime act Skepta this year) and a string of singles including Get Over You, Music Gets the Best Of Me, Mixed Up World, Catch You and the Cher disco cover Take Me Home.
It's that early period of her career she'll relive for next year's So Pop festival, where she'll join the likes of Pussycat Dolls, Steps, Smash Mouth and Jesse McCartney on an Australian package tour.
"I've never done one of these pop tours in my life," Ellis-Bextor admits.
"I've just finished touring with a 30-piece orchestra and my band around the UK, then I'll be doing this pop tour in Australia and New Zealand, so it's quite a contrast.
"I thrive on that. And it turns out I really love singing with an orchestra.
"I think it'll be quite short and sweet set (in Australia), there's a lot of us on the bill.
"If they gave me an hour I could definitely fill the spot, but I don't think that would necessarily go down too well with the other performers.
"I'll sing whatever songs are the most appropriate, keep it really upbeat, lots of pop stuff and keep it fun.
"It's not called So Pop for nothing. I'll stay true to that."
The Song Diaries taps into tracks from her entire career - she's made two albums (Wanderlust and Familia) on her own album with indie artist Ed Harcourt as her main collaborator - and has allowed her to reinvent those early hits.
"When you're younger the idea of celebrating songs that are approaching their 18th or 20th birthdays you think 'Oh blimey, I'm not sure about that'," Ellis-Bextor says.
"But actually once it comes around it doesn't feel like you think it would, it just feels really nice.
"These songs are still friends of mine. I've never once sung them under duress.
"I have a good relationship with those songs. I love the fact I get on stage and I have the privilege of having a song in my set probably most people might know.
"Not everybody's lucky enough.
"Nostalgia's not a dirty word. It's nice to recognise songs have played a part in your life, and bring back good memories.
"That's a happy thing. let's embrace it, I'm all for it."
Ellis-Bextor turned to a fan pledge system to help fund The Song Diaries; she's seen the music industry change dramatically since the days of Murder On the Dancefloor.
"I got to see the best of both worlds. I had 10 years at Universal, I got to travel the globe, experience what it's like on a major record label with all that infrastructure," she says.
"Now I've been making albums on my own label for the last three records. I wouldn't have been able to do that from a standing start.
"I still work with a lot of the same people. It's a much smaller industry now, it suits me.
"I'm glad I got to do the big, six-figure-budget videos, now I can work with people I adore from that time and exploit it the other way without having to do everything through a committee like you had to do at a major label. Everything's come at the right time for me."
This year Ellis-Bextor opened for Kylie Minogue at two of her outdoor shows in London.
There's a pop urban myth that she was offered - and turned down - Can't Get You Out Of My Head before Minogue snapped it up.
"Annoyingly there's no truth in it at all, but I've been saying that since 2001 and literally nobody cares," she says.
"It's obviously a much better story for people to think I passed on that song, but I didn't. In reality, Kylie made that song.
"It is a fantastic pop record, but part of its potency to me was someone who wasn't 18, she was a woman when she sang it.
"I think that made it much more powerful. And she looked phenomenal.
"I like to think that even if I did hear it before her I would have said someone else should sing that, because that song is hers, she owns it.
"You can't take the Kylie out of that song."
Ellis-Bextor says watching Minogue still own the stage was inspiring.
"You're really allowed to make your own rules these days," she says.
"There's so many ways to have a career. That's so exciting to me.
"When I started all people ask you is 'What's your plan? Where do you see yourself in five years'. It's totally rubbish. You have to let it unfold.
"You haven't got a say about what happens in five years. You've got what you dream about, but so much of it is something that's just waiting for you.
"We've got so many of these people like Cher, who's 73, and like Kylie, who have had these exciting careers still showing us the way it can be done.
"Sod it, I've now decided I want to be in my 70s in feathers and sequins, thank you very much. That's an amazing way to hit that time in my life."
So Pop: RAC Arena Perth April 22, Brisbane Entertainment Centre April 24, Qudos Bank Arena Sydney April 25, Adelaide Entertainment Centre April 28 and Melbourne Arena April 30. Tickets from Frontier Touring.