Sophie Ellis-Bextor says her gay fans helped her to be true to herself
Before Sophie Ellis-Bextor's big performance, she spoke candidly backstage with Yahoo Life UK, covering everything from her views on gendered products aimed at children to how the LGBTQ+ community has allowed her to be more 'herself' and how happy she is to be at her first ever Brighton Pride.
“I feel like [toys] are more binary now than when I was a kid in the Eighties in some ways,” Ellis-Bextor, pop star and mum-of-five, exclusively told Yahoo Life UK.
“And so when I had my first baby, who happened to be a boy, I've always been like, well, I'm going to shop from all the different shelves and all the different rails in the clothing department.”
“I'm not going to make an assumption about what he's into just because he's got a willy,” she added.
The star and her family have become more widely known to the British public thanks to her Kitchen Disco performances on Instagram during the COVID-19 lockdown. On stage at Brighton Pride, she referred to her famous Insta Lives, while working the crowd in a blue sparkly two-piece, blue sparkly heels, blue eyeshadow and a matching scrunchie with her hair tied up.
Her husband Richard Jones (of British rock band The Feeling) was on guitar and a picture of one of their children in fancy dress appeared on a giant screen behind her – a loving reference to their family life.
While Ellis-Bextor said she used the cover songs she did from her kitchen in the pandemic as “love letters” to friends and family she was missing during lockdown, she declared on stage that she was dedicating her performance to her Brighton audience.
Read more: Yahoo catwalk goes down a treat at Brighton Pride
The crowd went wild to her rendition of Disco Inferno, her new song Hypnotise (which she got everyone to learn the moves to), Crying at the Discoteque, Sing it back… and of course, rounded it off with her biggest hit Murder on the Dancefloor.
Her husband, who she married in 2005, and brother, are both now part of her band, and her dad, who lives in Brighton, and her sister, were also there to watch the Sunday show.
Read more: Fabulous fashion at Brighton Pride
Ellis-Bextor said she first realised her music resonated with the LGBTQ+ community when performing at G-A-Y at the Astoria club in London, the club night's original venue, and saw the crowd’s warm response to her.
“It made me bold,” she told Yahoo Life UK. “It made me go further than I expected to on stage. It was a real turning point for me… before then, there's always been a bit of a gap between my off-stage and my on-stage persona, and that's when I stopped to drop that and think, ‘Actually, it's fine to just be me.’”
While she’s an LGBTQ+ icon herself, the community has more than inspired her too. “I always count my gay fans as being really what's helped me become the performer I am,” she told us.
“All of my most significant performances have been in gay clubs or at Prides, and they've just sort of helped me… I don't know… become more accepting of who I am as well. And that's an incredible thing.”
She also acknowledged the importance of Pride today, and what it means, “We’re now at a beautiful place where we can have Pride as just a celebration,” she added, “but we're all standing on the shoulders of people who've done some pretty incredible, very serious things to make this a reality.”
She ended her Pride show by saying she’d love to return next year – and judging by the crowd’s response, they can’t wait to have her back.
Following Ellis-Bextor was Paloma Faith’s equally mesmerising performance, albeit with a bit more head-banging, as she rocked out to her favourite tracks. Her two very own "gaybies" – her little daughters, aged 18 months and five years, were also with her at Pride, "dressed in rainbows”, loving every minute.
Watch: Backstage at Brighton Pride on day two