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She may be a super stylish pop star, but like every mum to teenagers, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has proved to be an embarrassing mum, thanks to her clothes.
Last year, when the pandemic first hit, Ellis-Bextor decided to bring some joy to everyone with her kitchen discos. Featuring all her five children, the Instagram live events showcased Ellis-Bextor’s voice and her amazing wardrobe, streamed live from her kitchen.
Sequinned leotards, nighties and even vintage skating dresses all made the cut, but it didn’t impress one member of her family: eldest son, 17-year-old Sonny. Speaking on White Wine Question Time, the singer said he actually told her to cover up.
“There was one bit actually where I think some of my outfits were pretty out there - a lot of sort of sparkly leotards and things,” she told podcast host Kate Thornton.
WATCH: Why Sophie Ellis-Bextor hates being asked, "Are you pregnant?"
“Someone had said to me, ‘Oh, you know, you're embarrassing your son’ and I'd said ‘No, Sonny's actually very encouraging.”
“Then I told him about it. He was like, ‘No, it's really embarrassing. I wish you covered yourself up a bit.”
Unfortunately for her son, the 42-year-old pop star has no intention of swapping the skimpy costumes for something more respectful.
She told Thornton: “I do loads in the house — there’s always something to be done — and if I need a bit of half an hour once a week where I put on a sequinned something or other — sod it — that's for me, I'm keeping that.”
While her son may not have embraced her costumes, he did enjoy the kitchen discos, which Ellis-Bextor were born out of a desire to do something to connect with others, but also “a desire to just distract ourselves and do as a family what we do when we feel a bit tense, which is put on some music and jump around a bit.”
His main role, she says was as a “baby bouncer” keeping an eye on her youngest son, Mickey who was just 14 months when the weekly discos started.
“Sonny has been really sweet with it, and I think for him, it gave him a bit of a role,” she explained.
“Sonny was really helpful and then when we got to the autumn, I said to him, I think if you wanted to give it a miss, I think it's okay, because I think I can keep an eye on Mickey now. And actually, Sonny still kept coming. I didn't bring it up again, because I thought, you know, maybe he quite likes having a little role in this.”
Prior to opening her kitchen doors for the discos, Ellis-Bextor has always been quite private about sharing her home life, yet she said the pandemic made her re-address this as those past worries suddenly felt “pretty irrelevant”.
“I never done anything from the house like that. I'd never shown the kids running around or anything,” she said.
“I just felt like more important than that to me — and to us actually, as a family — I think it became something that was really good for all of us. I mean, goodness knows what my youngest thinks. He’s two now, so for him, if I start moving the table in the playroom, he's like, ‘Oh, disco!’”
Ellis-Bextor, who released a Songs From The Kitchen Disco album last year, says that the performances, which finished in April of this year, were cathartic for her as she juggled homeschooling and everything else that went with it.
“I think that that music and performance has always been an opportunity just to sort of lift myself out of something a little bit,” she told Thornton.
“I think it was also part catharsis. I was sort of wearing all the crazy outfits I didn't think I'd ever wear anywhere — all my vintage ice-skating dresses I bought from eBay — and being Julie Andrews.
"I just sort of ran, headlong, into the instincts I had really of just what would be a good tonic. And I loved inviting people around and literally everybody that came over, I feel like they were all here.”
Hear Sophie Ellis-Bextor talk about the realities of having a baby eight months after meeting her husband to be on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Buy now: Songs From The Kitchen Disco: Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Greatest Hits | £10.99 from Amazon
Pre-order now: Spinning Plates: Thoughts on Men, Music and Motherhood | £16.99 from Amazon
WATCH: Sophie Ellis-Bextor on dance music, disco, and doing what makes you happy