Sophie-Ellis Bextor has been in the changing rooms of pop more than most. One of the genre’s great shape shifters, she morphed from sharp suited indie princess in theaudience to Ibiza invigorator with Groovejet before becoming a fully fledged dancefloor divinity on her first solo album ‘Read My Lips’ and, in a nod to her roots in Britpop, the sophisticated songwriterly siren with ‘Shoot From The Hip’. After the arrival of baby boy, Sonny in 2004, [with husband Richard Jones, bassist with The Feeling] Sophie went back to the recording studio to work on her third solo album, a process with a deliberately long labour, writing at least 70 – 80 songs, and working with a number of top pop collaborators like Hannah Robinson and Fred Schneider of the B 52s. Now, just before the release of this fantastic new collection of songs entitled “Trip the Light Fantastic” FemaleFirst were able to have a chat with the 28-year-old comeback queen. Find out what she had to say below:Can you tell us more about your new album “Trip the Light Fantastic”?Well I guess in a lot of ways it’s not that different from my other albums. It sort of picks up from where the other two left off I think. I basically just wanted to make the best pop record that I could. I love pop music, so it has aspects of the first and the second and a lot of new aspects too. It’s got electro, disco, a bit of indie – everything. You’ve apparently been trying to pen a novel for some years now – do you not fancy trying your hand at writing your autobiography instead – it’s all the rage at the moment…...

Oh yeah – you’re going back a bit now. (Laughs) Well I’m hoping that I’ve still got a few more chapters left to live yet so maybe I’ll leave it for a bit. I quite like the idea of being one of those people that never writes their own as well – other people have to write them and that there’s always this enigma around them. You never really know what the truth is. Cathy Dennis has written one of your lead singles. She’s given Britney and Kylie hugely successful chart tracks in the past with Toxic and Can’t Get You Out of My Head - so what’s it like singing her stuff and working with her?

Yeah – she did the first single actually – Catch You. That’s a Cathy Dennis song and it’s lovely to work with her. She’s great and I feel really fortunate with this record. I pretty much worked with what I consider to be the best pop writers around. That means people who have been in bands, people who are established pop writers – just loads of different people so the whole thing has been lovely. It’s felt very indulging.

What do you think has altered in the music business since you’ve been on your break?

Well I think a couple of things have. I mean in a business sense the whole download stuff wasn’t happening the last time I was releasing stuff. So the digital side of things has come on hugely. But in a more music sense, I think pop just isn’t such a dirty word as it was when I made my first record. Now we have so many individuals and personalities in pop music again. You’ve got people like Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, the Scissor Sisters and Mika. Madonna’s last album was very disco. It is a really good time to be making pop music.

Many famous people are adopting kids, for instance there’s more speculation in the press about Madonna again at the moment. Would you ever consider adopting or fostering in the future do you think?

I’m really keen to have more babies. If I found that it was tricky to do it on my own then maybe I would investigate something else. But at the moment I’m not thinking of adopting any children no.

How is Sonny at the moment – has he suffered from the terrible twos syndrome?

He’s going to be three next week. I’ve pretty much got all his presents sorted. It’s fun – he’s going to be spoiled rotten, not just by me. He’s the only grandbaby so he’s always the centre of attention. He’s very good with Play Doh actually and I try and help him out. (Laughs)

Have you managed to pen any tracks about being a wife and mother yet?

Well albums for me are always a bit like a diary entry so I wouldn’t have made this album without them. But there aren’t any songs that are specifically for Sonny.

Can you name your favourite lyrics from any other song – and explain why?

Wow! Well I don’t know about my favourite lyrics but I think there are a lot of really great lyrists around. I mean Jarvis Cocker has written some brilliant lyrics and so has Damon Albarn and Elvis Costello. So anything by those people!

You’ve been quoted in the past talking about the goodie bags that you get from the Brits – What’s the best freebie you’ve ever been given as a celeb?

Probably my car. (Laughs) That’s not a bad one. Yeah I think having a free automobile is probably one of the jammiest and I love my car as well so it was a good deal.

What else have you got coming up in the near future – touring is clearly on the cards isn’t it?

Yeah, absolutely I can’t wait. I’ve got my first live date actually at the V Festival and then I will be touring after that. Obviously it’s always nice to play London because that’s where I’m from and all my family and friends are here. But just the tour in general, I’ve been really excited about it because I haven’t toured for years and I’ve got so much material now. I’ve got three albums worth of material so I can create a really strong show. I also plan on taking Sonny with me.

Everybody always goes on about your alleged pop rivalry with Victoria Beckham- but have you ever seriously clashed with another celeb – say some diva demanding puppies in her dressing room for instance?

Of course I've met a lot of unpleasant people but for the most part everybody is frighteningly nice which makes it difficult to slag anybody off afterwards. In this country we’re absolutely obsessed with competition and people being nasty about each other. It doesn’t happen anywhere else – it’s bizarre. Like other countries in Europe don’t talk about it and America doesn’t talk about it either. It’s something that’s very peculiar to the English and I think this is a very tough industry to be in. I don’t know – I try to be supportive of other artists, particularly of other female artists, as much as possible because it’s not the easiest job in the world.

You marked your public return this year by becoming the face of the fashion label Monsoon. Have you ever bought a really expensive, lavish item and then really regretted it though?

Yeah – of course! I mean I’m a girl - we always do things like that don’t we? Nothing too horrible recently but I’m a bit of a shopaholic so it’s hard sometimes to reign it in. So I get really, really excited about something and then finish up never wearing it.

Can you remember the first time that you were stopped in the street by a fan?

I think it was probably when I was in my first band – The Audience –, which was when I was about 18. So it was probably somewhere on the streets of Camden, but I can’t remember it. That’s strange though because I thought that I would have been able to remember that. I can remember the first time that I heard a song of mine on the radio. That was really exciting actually – I remember it was “ I Got the Wherewithal" which was our first single and it was played on XFM. It was a bit surreal.

The most unusual place I heard one of my songs was at a sushi restaurant in Washington DC where the people in the restaurant recognised me and they put on “Get Over You” on their karaoke machine and I had to sing for them. That was probably the weirdest. (Laughs)

One of your songs on the new album is called “Me and My Imagination.” The hit show Life on Mars has just finished – if you could travel back to any year of your choice – which one would it be and why?

I think it would be quite cool to go back to the fifties when you’ve got the birth of the teenager, rock and roll and people like Elvis. I think that would be quite fun.

"Catch You" is released February 19th. ‘Trip The Light Fantastic is released in May. Both on Fascination Records.