Sophie Ellis Bextor

Throughout the ’90s, the U.K. music scene was filled to the brim with nerdy cockney types. Sophie Ellis-Bextor was among the first Brit-pop stars to break with this trend. She made it onto the stage in 1997 as the teenage vocalist behind new wave outfit theaudience. Smartly dressed and boasting an alluring voice, she caused quite a stir on London’s alternative circuit. Theaudience became known the world over as a groundbreaking pop act and enjoyed success on the crowded U.K. singles chart with such numbers as “I’ve Got the Wherewithal.” After the group split up, Ellis-Bextor went searching for success on her own.

In late 2000, she emerged as a major star alongside Italian DJ/producer Spiller on the single “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love).” Though very popular in the clubs as an instrumental, the track started selling like mad with Ellis-Bextor’s voice added to its deep grooves. It was a number one hit on singles charts around the world. A year later, she was again making waves with the pop single “Take Me Home.” Thanks to that effort, she beat the likes of Five to the number one spot on the U.K. singles chart. That same year, Ellis-Bextor served up another chart-topper in the ultra-cool disco tune “Murder on the Dancefloor,” which was a smash throughout Europe.

These singles anchored Ellis-Bextor’s 2001 solo debut, Read My Lips, a significant hit in the U.K. and Europe. Two years later, she released Shoot from the Hip, a record that had two Top Ten singles in “Mixed Up World” and “I Won’t Change You.” As the album was gaining traction, she announced she was pregnant and took a break to take care of her child. She returned in 2007 with Trip the Light Fantastic, a guest-heavy record preceded by the Top Ten hit “Catch You.” She then devoted herself to recording her fourth album, Make a Scene, which appeared in the summer of 2011. The following year she went back into the studio to work with British indie hero Ed Harcourt, who ended up co-writing and producing what would become her next album, Wanderlust, which appeared in January 2014, capitalizing on her appearance in BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing, and debuting at four on the U.K. charts on its way to silver certification; it was her biggest hit since 2003’s Shoot from the Hip. She returned in 2016 with Familia, an album that reunited her with Harcourt. 2017 was a quiet period for the singer before she got to work on her seventh LP in 2018. The Song Diaries was composed of revised versions of some of the singer’s past releases, including orchestral versions of the tracks “Take Me Home” and “Murder on the Dancefloor.” 2020 saw Ellis-Bextor issue the greatest-hits collection Songs from the Kitchen Disco, which included a newly recorded cover version of Alcazar’s “Crying at the Discoteque.”