Singer Lisa Stansfield, 46, notched up hits in the 1990s including All Around The World. She tours Britain in June – just don’t mention Ipswich…
What can people expect from your forthcoming tour?
What people want is just for me to sing. The band’s amazing. It’s just really good music – hopefully people will think that.
Is an album on the way?
Definitely but we’re still working on it. It’s nice to see how people respond to the songs at the gigs – it’s a lovely way to do market research.
You haven’t released a new album for nearly ten years – why?
There was no reason to because I didn’t think people would understand what I was doing. It’s no different to the music I was doing before but it was different to the music that was around in that ten-year hiatus. If what you do best doesn’t fit in with what’s going on, why change and do something different that you’re not very good at? Music’s very cyclical and there comes a time where you don’t fit in there. That’s how I felt. Now I feel a door is opening for me and I’ve shoved my leg through it.
How has the industry changed over the course of your career?
It’s probably changed for the better. People can take control of their own destiny. Young artists can get out there through YouTube. It’s like a portal has opened but it’ll close because people will want to control it all.
Is it different from when you started?
When I started in Blue Zone there was a shift, and I love a shift because it gives you an opportunity to jump in and do something. If you’re in the middle of a cycle of things, you’re f***ed, basically, because no one will listen to you. All they want to hear is more of the same as what’s going on. Business people want things to be safe but that’s rubbish to me. In music nothing should be safe.
Who do you like listening to at the moment?
There’s a lot of stuff out there. Obviously Adele is amazing. I still can’t listen to Amy Winehouse. If I’m in a bar or restaurant and Back To Black is on I find it difficult not to get upset.
Did you enjoy your success or was it difficult to deal with?
A lot of it was exhilarating but every job has a pain-in-the-arse element. It’s probably one of the best jobs in the world but I found not having time to myself and constantly being looked at difficult. It gets to you after a while but it’s just part of the job.
Was it a relief when things got quieter?
I did it myself, to be honest. I’d been working for four years solid, travelling all the time, never going home. So I moved to Ireland and became a recluse. I’m back now.
You’re in forthcoming film Northern Soul. What are you up to in that?
Elaine Constantine [the director] is brilliant. She said: ‘That’s it, I don’t want to make another film. I’ve done the one I wanted to make.’ She’s a bit like me. She just does what she wants. I play the nagging, shouting, screaming, crying mum.
What would be your dream role?
I’m really good at playing complete b*****d b*****s. Everybody thinks I’m a real b****. I’m not really but I like to keep up the pretence so everyone’s scared of me.
Where has that reputation come from?
I don’t know but when I work with hairdressers or make-up artists they always say: ‘Oh my God, I’m so relieved, I thought you were going to be such a b*****d.’ Maybe it’s because a lot of pictures of me make me look a bit cold. They assume I’m a cold fish but I’m not. I’m a very warm person.
What’s the worst gig you’ve done?
Ipswich six years ago. S***. The whole audience were like zombies. They didn’t move, didn’t do anything, then after the show people came backstage and said: ‘It’s the most beautiful show I’ve ever seen, I was so excited.’ I was like ‘Well, f*** me, what are you like when you’re bored?’
What are your tricks to gee the audience up?
None. I just get in the audience and kick them in the head. Not really. [Sings] ‘I may not be a lady but I’m stage diving…’
You used to back Labour. What are your thoughts on the state of the country?
That’s a loaded question. The country has a lot of problems. George Osborne has got it all f***ing wrong, hasn’t he? I mean, you don’t ask people not to spend money when there’s a recession. They all need to go.
Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
Only with my husband. He’s lovely.
Lisa Stansfield’s British tour begins on June 10. She performs at Hampton Court Palace Festival on June 14. www.hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com