A seasoned writer, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival AD reckons it’s good do it all over again. Here’s why.

My Uncle Jim – he’s retired now – was a professional piano player in a bar. He also played at home and some of my earliest memories are of listening to him handle the piano in a way that I found just incredible. I remember watching his hands fly across the keys and being completely flabbergasted that someone could make that sound come out of an instrument that was just sitting there in my living room. Uncle Jim never had a lesson in his life and he couldn’t read music, but he was a walking encyclopedia.

It was because of him I went to classical piano lessons for two years, but I dropped out after my piano teacher figured out that I was playing from ear and not by sight. After that I taught myself to play. I used to talk to my uncle all the time about music. He was the one who said to me, “Just listen to music and play it.”

As a kid I sang in a few choirs and then started singing in a couple of a...