If Saltburn Is Your First Introduction To Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Allow Us To Bring You Up To Speed

Including her showbiz family connections, her unlikely rivalry with Victoria Beckham and her surprising Strictly Come Dancing admissions.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
John Keeble via Getty Images

It’s not just the A-list cast and outrageous scenes of drain-sucking, grave-humping and naked dances around a stately home that have put Saltburn at the forefront of the conversation since its release last year.

Thanks to its mid-2000s setting, the film is also dominated by pop gems from back in the day, with a few even creeping their way back up the charts thanks to streaming and TikTok.

But none of them have had a resurgence quite like Murder On The Dancefloor, which soundtracks Saltburn’s immediately-iconic final sequence.

As a result of the film’s success, the 2002 hit has been boosted back into the top 10 here in the UK – and even charted in the US for the first time ever. And while plenty of us remember Murder On The Dancefloor from its original release, others are just being introduced to Sophie Ellis-Bextor for the first time.

If that sounds at all familiar, allow us to bring you up to speed on the British singer…

Sophie Ellis-Bextor was born into a showbiz family

Sophie Ellis-Bextor at Buckingham Palace with her mum, Janet Ellis
Sophie Ellis-Bextor at Buckingham Palace with her mum, Janet Ellis
STEFAN ROUSSEAU via Getty Images

Her mum, Janet Ellis, is best known for hosting the long-running BBC children’s show Blue Peter – known for its wholesome vibes and many crafting segments – between 1979 and 1987.

Last year, Sophie joked on Instagram: “Actually I am 100% nepo baby. If you search the pockets of everyone I’ve worked with, somewhere you will find the Blue Peter badge that I gave them to bribe them with. Mwah-ha-ha!”

Speaking of Blue Peter badges, Sophie told The Guardian in 2014 she used them for pocket money in her school days.

I’ve got a few. I used to have more but I kept selling them in the playground,” she revealed.

“In fact I’ve got a Blue Peter badge that my mum doesn’t have, because it’s a special one you get for going on the show twice for two separate reasons.”

Her pop career got off to a very exciting start

Sophie Ellis-Bextor peforming in London in October 2001
Sophie Ellis-Bextor peforming in London in October 2001
Brian Rasic via Getty Images

After leaving indie band Theaudience in her early 20s, Sophie made the switch to dance music, teaming up with Spiller for their hit Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), which marked her solo debut.

Groovejet ended up becoming embroiled in one of the most prolific chart battles of the 2000s, when Spiller released their single in the same week as Victoria Beckham’s first post-Spice Girls release, the Truesteppers and Dane Bowers collab Out Of Your Mind.

In the end, it was Sophie and Spiller who triumphed in what was billed by the press as the “Posh vs. Posher” battle, with the chart-topper celebrating by sporting a “Peckham” t-shirt when she performed at a Radio 1 event shortly afterwards.

Victoria Beckham performing in 2001
Victoria Beckham performing in 2001
Dave Hogan via Getty Images

Murder On The Dancefloor and Groovejet opened the door for more success for Sophie

Sophie has enjoyed seven top 10s in her home territory, including Get Over You, Catch You, I Won’t Change You, Mixed Up World and her cover of Cher’s Take Me Home.

Over the years, she’s also supported acts including George Michael, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Take That on their UK tours.

She’s also a four-time Brit Award nominee, including a Best British Single nod for Groovejet.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the 2007 Brit Awards
Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the 2007 Brit Awards
JMEnternational via Getty Images

In 2011, Sophie became one of the first acts to work with Calvin Harris, shortly before his real international breakthrough moment on Rihanna’s We Found Love.

In 2013, she gave Murder On The Dancefloor a new meaning when she took part in Strictly Come Dancing

Sophie was teamed up with Brendan Cole throughout her time on the show, and he’s since maintained she was his favourite ever celebrity partner.

The pair are best remembered for their Charleston routine to Caravan Palace’s Rock It To Me.

However, a decade later, Sophie admitted that Strictly was a particularly turbulent time for her personally, as the show put quite a strain on her marriage.

“We never doubted our love for each other but I think Richard worried that I just wouldn’t want our life again,” she wrote in her memoir Spinning Plates. “But of course I did. To me, my family is everything.”

And speaking of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s family – it’s quite a big one

She’s been married to fellow musician Richard Jones – best known for his work as bass player in the pop group The Feeling – since 2005.

The couple share five sons: 19-year-old Sonny, 14-year-old Kit, 11-year-old Ray, seven-year-old Jesse and four-year-old Mickey.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones in 2023
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones in 2023
Dave Benett via Getty Images

Sophie’s sons formed a pivotal part of what became known as her Kitchen Disco performances

During lockdown, Sophie made the decision to start performing short live-streamed concerts every week in her family home – often with chaotic results.

Her “Kitchen Disco” videos became hugely popular, and saw Sophie performing her own hits as well as select covers including everything from Like A Prayer, Crying At The Discothque and Wuthering Heights to the musical theatre cuts My Favourite Things and A Spoonful Of Sugar.

Fans loved Sophie’s live-streams so much that once live performing was back on, she went on a “Kitchen Disco” tour of the UK, and released an album in 2020 titled Songs From The Kitchen Disco.

Sophie also presents her own podcast, Spinning Plates

The interview series sees Sophie speaking with a different guest each week about the struggles of balancing their personal and professional lives.

Past interviewees have included Davina McCall, Mary Berry, MP Jess Phillips and former Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain (as well as Sophie’s own mother, Janet Ellis).

Strictly wasn’t Sophie’s only foray into reality TV

Back in 2020, Sophie performed on the second series of The Masked Singer as Alien.

Unfortunately, she was the first celebrity to be eliminated, and her distinctive voice meant that viewers had already worked out who she was after just one performance.

Oh yes, let’s talk about Sophie’s accent and very distinctive way of singing

Sophie told the Telegraph last year: “Singing as I speak felt like the only way to do it. I don’t want to be one of those singers who’s singing about being really sad with a massive grin on my face.

“Changing my accent would make the emotion feel a little bit showbiz.”

Fancy a few more Sophie Ellis-Bextor bangers to round things off?

Of course you do.


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