The much-loved singer-songwriter talks about the ups and downs of writing and rewriting for the stage.

In your programme note for Ladies in Blackyou mention that as a kid your Mum took you to My Fair Lady? Was that what inspired your love of musicals? 

It did, yes. In those days, they were all so good. Shows like The Sound of Musicand My Fair of Lady, they were classics – such great songs, and kids could identify with them. I was much more interested in The Beatles, it has to be said, and into pop songs, but there was no kind of snobbery. It didn’t seem any different if you liked a song from a musical or songs from the charts. My experience was pretty limited to those few iconic shows, I’d have to say, but I was also the kind of kid who would write little plays and get people involved, so I was sort of doing it without realising it.

So when did you first get around to thinking about writing a musical?

I’d actually been thinking about it since the early ‘80s. It just never came together for me. I was too busy making albums and touring....