Music was coursing through my veins from the get-go. Growing up our home was full of laughter and song, and there was always a dance going on – to jazz, to samba, to rock and roll. Right from when I was in the bassinet, my parents would be jitterbugging around me in their brothel creepers to Rock Around the Clock . I slept through it, happy as anything!

Tina Bursill

She had the most breathtaking voice, my mother. She sang in choirs, at home – anywhere she could, really. Her party trick would be to emerge from a full-length set of curtains and burst into Summertime from Porgy and Bess . With her encouragement, and with the joyous milieu of song that surrounded me, it was inevitable I would be attracted to music. I sang as a soprano in all the school choirs (it took a few years of shameless drinking and smoking for me to become something of an alto), and I played the flute and guitar in high school.  

As a young...