For a singer with a huge hit called ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ it’s unsurprising that ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ was a good move.
Coming fourth in the BBC dance-off allowed Sophie Ellis-Bextor to have some fun, learn a new skill and best of all, from a career point of view, reacquaint herself with the British public.
Ellis-Bextor explained: “I knew it would be a big undertaking and that it would change things for me, so I wanted to make sure I’d be happy with that.
“I have a nice life and I’ve been having a good time these last few years, so I didn’t want to lose any of that. But it was really lovely and I’m very glad I did it.”
The timing was also perfect, and whether Ellis-Bextor considered it or not, appearing on autumn’s most-watched TV programme each Saturday teatime couldn’t have teed up her fifth album any better.
Not long after she’d hung up her dancing shoes came ‘Wanderlust’. Unlike Ellis-Bextor’s previous work, which was almost solely based in disco and the kind of handbag house Kylie used to make, this new album takes in a wide range of genres, from straight-up ballads such as ‘Young Blood’ and ‘When The Storm Has Blown Over’, through to the baroque pop of ‘13 Little Dolls’ and ‘Love Is A Camera’.
Now 34 and a mother-of-three, ‘Wanderlust’ was funded without a record label, and no pressure either.
“I didn’t know if anyone wanted to hear another album from me,” she says, possibly referencing her previous album, 2011’s ‘Make A Scene’, which peaked in the album chart at a lowly No 33.
“I thought I might as well just make this record how I wanted, so in that respect it’s quite indulgent,” she adds. The fact it went straight in at No 4 when released in January suggests the gamble paid off.
Musically, despite the mixture of styles, ‘Wanderlust’ hangs together more cohesively than some of her previous albums.
That’s largely down to the work of long-time friend and new collaborator Ed Harcourt, with whom she co-wrote it.
“‘Lustre’, Ed’s album that came out about four years ago, was my favourite album of that year. I love his music, I’ve seen him live loads of times, and he’s a good family friend, as well as someone I’ve always had a lot of respect for,” she explains.
“We didn’t know we were going to do an album, we just did one song, but we worked together so naturally and easily that we carried on. It was so nice to put everything else we were both doing away for a time and just concentrate on writing together. It was a very sure-footed experience.”