Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Time Portals: Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Favourite Albums

After cheering up the nation with her lockdown kitchen discos, Sophie Ellis-Bextor takes Fergal Kinney through her 13 favourite albums, from Blur to Madonna, Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac and musicals

On 27th March 2020, as Britain entered its first lockdown and Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19, Sophie Ellis-Bextor launched her livestreamed kitchen discos. These swiftly became a lot of different things to different people. For some, it was reassurance. If Sophie Ellis-Bextor had been having a hard week, then perhaps it was a little easier to stomach that your own week had been tough. For others, it was a way of marking time in otherwise shapeless existences – Friday night had come again and here’s Sophie Ellis-Bextor in a catsuit stepping over one of her toddlers. For myself, it was a reintroduction to some of the standout singles of 21st century pop, some of the very first pop music I remember on car radios or at home. Releasing six albums over the last two decades, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been responsible for some of the standout British pop singles this side of the millennium – ‘Get Over You’, ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, ‘Groovejet,’ ‘Me And My Imagination’ – work that ranks alongside Xenomania’s writing for Girls Aloud and Sugababes for invention, hooks and fizz, all that delivered with that louche, highly distinctive vocal phrasing just the right side of disengaged.

For Sophie Ellis-Bextor herself, the livestreams started out as a bit of fun that would snowball into her being cited as one of the pop cultural heroes of 2020, someone who put a shift in. Was it psychologically helpful to have the weekly ritual of the kitchen disco? "I’d say it was psychologically essential", says Ellis-Bextor, down the phone from her West London home, "it gave Richard and I something to focus on. The rest of the week would be normal family stuff, domesticity, and the kitchen discos gave us a distraction as well as a bit of catharsis. You could put your tension and stress into that! It was a really important part of keeping me feeling the right side of crazy. And it was fun! Fun has been in short supply, so getting to dress up and be a bit silly and not think about the news was, for our household, absolutely vital."

With 2021 set to be no less busy – she’s just released a greatest hits collection Songs From The Kitchen Disco, launched her own podcast Spinning Plates, and even made a surreal appearance disguised as a large blue alien on ITV’s hyperreal the Masked Singer – Ellis-Bextor took the time to speak to tQ about the albums that shaped her as a pop star and as a person.

Songs From The Kitchen Disco is out now, click the pic of Sophie Ellis-Bextor to begin reading her Baker’s Dozen

First Record

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