Interviewing Heather Small ahead of her show at Northampton has its difficulties.
Not that she was anything but friendly and a delight, but our telephone interview with the singer is taking place in a pub when your intrepid reporter was on his work Christmas do.
She finds this hilarious, but it is easy to warm to the singer and suspect that audiences to her gig at Royal & Derngate on Thursday, February 26, will agree.
Heather said: “I love to do live work and I signed my first record deal when I was 21.
“I’ll be 51 this year so it will be a celebration of that.
“It will be a lot of the old songs, the songs that I really like to perform live.
“There is going to be some covers by some female artists. I am reluctant to say what I will be performing because we are still working on the set list.”
She picks out a favourite artist who has inspired her career.
Heather added: “I loved Gladys Knight and while my tone of voice is fairly similar, if not my technique and that was inspired me to sing. It is when I am at my happiest.
However for someone who has appeared on some of the world’s biggest stages, she’s suffers with a touch of stage fright.
Heather added: “I still actually get nervous before I appear on stage.
“Even now, although as soon as I get on stage, I am better.
“I remind myself that performing in front of the audience is the thing I most love to do and the end feeling is worth all of the nerves.”
But for an artist of her pedigree, it is a tough question for her to pick a favourite.
“I think any of my songs could become a favourite depending on the reaction from the audience.
“However I really like Moving On Up.
“It was something very different for the band from what we were doing at the time and it was our first break through hit.
“Even when we were recording it, I thought it was a great song but everyone else in the band were convinced that it was a smash hit.
“The other one is Proud because it was the first song I did solo and that was just me. All of the decisions were down to me.”
Proud was also the anthem of the 2012 Olympics, and while she is indeed proud now, it did come with a backlash at the time.
“It was an honour that Proud was chosen to be the anthem of the Olympics even though I did get abuse in the street from people after the announcement.
“We didn’t know the names of the sports people when they started, but we cheered them on and we now know their names.
“We put on an absolutely brilliant Olympics and I was on holiday later in the same year in Mexico and overheard people saying how brilliant the Olympics was in London.
“They were sad that it was only two weeks and wish it could have been longer.”
The song has also been used in the popular sitcom Miranda, and its association which she is happy about. So much so that she appeared in the final episode of the show.
Heather added: “I think it is great that it has entered the psyche of the public that the song could be used to make people laugh. And it was very respectful and funny.
Tickets are £29. To book call 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.