For a singer whose biggest hits include a song called Murder On The Dancefloor, appearing on BBC ballroom contest Strictly Come Dancing seemed like the perfect move.
For Sophie Ellis-Bextor, taking part paid off when she came fourth. In the process, she had a lot of fun, learned a new skill, and, from a career point of view, reminded everyone that she was still around.
“I don’t know if I needed persuading to do it,” she says of her decision to go on the show, “but I certainly had to think about it for a bit.”
After 24 hours of contemplation she accepted the invitation. “My friends really love Strictly, so that was the decider,” she says.
The timing was also perfect, and whether Ellis-Bextor considered it or not, appearing on autumn’s most-watched TV show each Saturday couldn’t have teed up her fifth album any better.
Not long after she’d hung up her dancing shoes came Wanderlust. Unlike Ellis-Bextor’s previous work, this new album takes in a wide range of genres, from straight-up ballads such as Young Blood and When The Storm Has Blown Over, through to the baroque pop of 13 Little Dolls and Love is a Camera.
Now 34 and a mother-of-three, Ellis-Bextor says Wanderlust, which she funded herself, felt like making a first album all over again, but without any pressure, self-imposed or otherwise.
“I didn’t know if anyone wanted to hear another album from me,” she says.
“I thought I might as well just make this record how I wanted, so in that respect it’s quite indulgent,” she adds. The fact it went straight in at No 4 when released in January suggests the gamble paid off.
One of the players on the album is her husband Richard Jones, bass player in the Feeling, who will feature in the band on her tour, which includes at shows at Oran Mor in Glasgow on April 19 and 20.