Sophie’s choice

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POP star Sophie Ellis-Bextor juggles being a dancefloor diva with being a style icon and mum to her two children. But despite a busy schedule, she’s still found the time to pledge to entertain the crowds at this year’s South Tyneside Summer Festival. KATY WHEELER reports on her forthcoming North East gig.

IT’S hard to believe it’s 10 years since Sophie Ellis-Bextor found initial solo success with dance anthem Groovejet.

While many of her chart contemporaries may have fallen by the wayside, Sophie has managed to stay current a decade after she started filling dance floors.

Maybe it’s due to her knack of releasing infectious tracks, maybe it’s her impeccable style or maybe it’s because she loves her job.

“I think enthusiasm is a big part of it,” she explains. “If that starts to wane, then you should start looking for something else.

“I love the fact I’m still touring and collecting fans in different countries. I love working with new people too, like the Freemasons.”

Sophie’s been working with producers the Freemasons on her latest pop offering, Make a Scene, which is a mixture of pop, disco, nu-disco and 1980s electronic. Sections of which she’ll be performing in Bents Park, on July 17, as part of this year’s South Tyneside Summer Festival.

She said: “I’ve been doing lots of outdoor gigs recently which are lots of fun. Everyone seems to be in holiday mode at outdoor gigs so they are relaxed and happy.

“People can expect a mix of my old songs with new. I’ll be getting the party started.

“I love a good festival and I’ve had some great gigs in the North East. It’s long been a great place to gig as the crowds are so brilliant, always enthusiastic.”

Sophie may be a pop starlet, but she’s no pop puppet – she was heavily involved with all parts of her album, co-writing much of it and working with an in-demand team of writer/producers that also includes Greg Kurstin, Calvin Harris, Cathy Dennis, Metronomy, Richard X and Armin Van Buuren.

She explains: “I still love my pop and indie and dance, but this record is more genre-specific than before, it’s very dance orientated. It’s a very positive, upbeat record.”

Sophie, who is also the face of Rimmel cosmetics, combines her music commitments with being mum to her two children with her husband, The Feeling bassist Richard Jones.

It makes for a busy life, but Sophie says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s quite chaotic, no two weeks are the same, but it’s fun. We enjoy not knowing what’s around the corner.”

The South Tyneside Summer Festival is one of the biggest free festivals in the UK offering three months of live music and entertainment.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to South Shields during June, July and August to attend the many events that make up the festival, including parties aimed at youngsters, brass band shows and live concerts by hit performers.

l South Tyneside Summer Festival events are free of charge. More details can be found at www.southtyneside.info/summerfestiva