Gary Flockhart: Sophie earning right to be relevant

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AS neat as it would be, it’s probably a tad unfair to say Sophie Ellis-Bextor committed murder on the dancefloor during her stint on Strictly Come Dancing.

She did, after all, waltz her way to fourth place with her pro partner Brendan Cole.

Sophie’s also been busying herself as the face – and legs – of Pretty Polly, but it’s back to the day job on Sunday when she brings fifth album Wanderlust to the Queen’s Hall.

The last time I saw her perform in these parts was at a secret gig for just 250 fans in the grounds of the Dean Gallery in the summer of 2007.

With a big Andy Warhol exhibition on at the same time, pop art was alive and well in the Capital, and Sophie and her four-piece band got the crowd dancing with hits like Take Me Home, Mixed Up World and, of course, Murder on the Dancefloor.

No doubt Sophie will dust off all the hits on her visit this weekend, though the emphasis is more on the self-released Wanderlust, which reached No 4 in the charts, giving the porcelain-faced singer her first Top 10 album since 2007.

“I’m very proud of the record and its success means a lot to me”, says the 35-year-old, who burst onto the pop scene in 2000 on DJ Spillers’ dance track Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) before a very public feud with Victoria Beckham led her to be known as “the real Posh Spice” due to her solid upper-middle-class west London upbringing.

“With Wanderlust it was very important I made a different kind of record,” she continues.“It was time for a change.”

Wanderlust is a shift away from the dancefloor, and sees Sophie collaborating with the left field, Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt.

“If you’re out there, you’ve got to earn your right to be relevant,” she says. “I’ve got no desire to rest on my laurels. There has to be some sense of forward motion.”

As such, Sunday’s gig should be a good mix of the old and new.