In conversation Sandie Shaw comes across as vibrant, confident and unbelievably charming.
It is easy to see why this charismatic performer shot to fame as a teenager in the Swinging Sixties with hits like Always Something There to Remind Me and Puppet On A String, before becoming a fashion icon with her own clothing label.
So it comes as a surprise to discover that Sandie hated performing and was wracked with nerves before going on stage.
“I used to get so anxious before every performance. It makes everything so stressful,” she said. “I found it to be completely debilitating, but I have that in common with a lot of artists.”
“Lots of performers suffer from nerves and get sick from it. It’s one of the reasons I gave it up.”
In fact Sandie took a 25 year break from performing, but returned to the stage earlier this year for a tour with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, which includes an open air concert at Waddesdon Manor on Friday, June 24.
“It’s totally different now, my nerves are all gone,” she said. “I think it’s because I have nothing to prove any more.”
And despite the quarter of a century hiatus, Sandie wasn’t ring rusty when it came to putting the show together.
“I chose all the songs. Jools let me do exactly what I want to do, then the orchestra worked on the arrangements.
“Jools doesn’t believe in rehearsing, so his manager got worried and said to him: ‘Jools, Sandie probably wants to run through it a few times at least.’ But I don’t like rehearsing either so it’s perfect really. The musicians are so great, the arrangements change every night. They really are incredible, the atmosphere at the shows is amazing.
“The orchestra is like a big family so they are always joking about and having fun.”
In the 25 years since she last performed Sandie has kept busy lobbying for recording artists’ rights and against internet piracy.
Inspired by her own experiences on stage, she founded an arts clinic to provide creative and psychological support to the entertainment and media industries.
In amongst all that she also began ‘to take a serious interest in wine’ and started a family which now includes four grandchildren.
“It’s great that my kids can come and see me on stage now. In the old days I would never invite my family or friends to my concerts as it made me even more nervous.
“I just don’t feel the same pressure any more, the situation is totally different, but I still can’t believe that I can go on stage and have so much fun.”
Sandie’s new found confidence should make for a fantastic show at Waddesdon.
“I really can’t wait to do an open air gig, it will be great getting outside again – and it’s just down the road from me,” she said.
“I can’t reveal what songs we sing, it’ll be a surprise, but it is a brilliant show.
“If I was a fan and I saw that Sandie Shaw was doing a gig with Jools Holland I would definitely take my grandkids to see it.”
For tickets go to www.waddesdon.org.uk