In this regular Sunday feature, we ask Scots about 10 things that changed their life. This week, Clare Grogan, Altered Images singer and restaurant owner.

1. Growing up around music

The National:

I DIDN’T come from a showbiz family, but when I was growing up everyone at home had a huge interest in music and that had a massive effect on me as a child. From as early as I can remember there was always a record player on, pretty much at all times. It’s a much bigger part of my childhood memories than the television. Also, because there were three generations living together, there was a really eclectic range of music too.

Apart from my two sisters, and my mum and dad of course, we had my grandma living with us and my Uncle Robert, who was my mum’s youngest brother, and who went on to be a sports editor.

He played a lot of Rolling Stones. And my mum was a huge fan of Motown and also loved a bit of Herb Alpert. My dad’s big favourite was Elvis Presley, so we always heard a lot of him.

My older sister Margaret was an absolute music nut. When I was still far too young to go to concerts, she was out there and would be going to see the likes of David Bowie and Roxy Music.

When she came home, she would tell me all about it and would even re-enact it for us! I know my absolute passion for music definitely came from my family.

2. Theatre trips

MY family were interested in the cinema and the theatre, but I think that going with friends from school is really important to cultural education. It’s such a different experience.

I know it still happens, and I think it’s really important for those who, like me, found school to be challenging. For me it’s that really important part of school where you have to find what the children are interested in and respond to that instead of only forcing things upon them that you think they should be interested in.

I think it’s made me more accepting at the theatre too. I pretty much go with people on whatever mystery tour they want to take me on with their performance!

3. Running

AT school, I was that girl who never wanted to do PE. Ever. I absolutely hated it. Maybe part of that was having to get into the gold-coloured Crimplene gymslip that we had to wear at Notre Dame. Those really didn’t help anyone to get fit and healthy.

For some reason, when I left school, I decided to start running. I can’t remember why but I’m so glad I did, and I’ve been running ever since. I’ve never been very good at relaxing, and when people ask me what I do to relax, I say running. Most people find it really bizarre, but runners absolutely get it.

One unexpected but great side-effect is that it has helped my singing because my lung capacity has increased. Listen to me talking about running and lung capacity, what’s happened to me?! I tell you though, when you’re on stage, singing and running about for more than an hour, you think about lung capacity. Apart from that, it’s beneficial to my mental health. It’s a time when I can head off on my own and not think about anything else.

4. Fame at a young age

The National:

I KNOW for certain that this had a massive effect on me as a teenager. I have to say though, as young as I was, I knew that the most important thing for me was performing – I was aware that fame wasn’t what I was looking for. At many points during that first period with Altered Images I was still at quite a vulnerable age, so I was absolutely overwhelmed by the attention that it brought me.

I think that changed me then because I knew that to remain part of the business that I was in, I had to find a way to do it on my own terms. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t ... nothing is ever that straightforward. I certainly knew that the more intrusive aspect of the performing life was not for me. Ironically that kind of attention is really isolating, and I’m such a people person that I knew that if I had gone with it all, I would have been really unhappy. It’s very hard to describe as I’m obviously looking back at a younger version of myself. I really didn’t feel ready for it, but to be honest, I still don’t think that if it happened now I would feel ready for it. It’s just not why I want to do what I do.

5. Becoming a mum

The National:

IF you don’t think becoming a parent will change your life, you’re crazy! Obviously, my husband Stephen and I have had such an extraordinary route to becoming parents. We had 10 years of trying to have a child naturally, and those years were so unbelievably difficult for us.

I think that struggle let us know how strong we were together and how we could work together to make things work. In the end we got there, and we had the chance to adopt our Ellie when she was eight months old.

Adoption is a really humbling experience and I think it makes you consider parenthood on a different level. There are so many hoops to jump through, as there should be really, and you have to give such deep consideration to what parenting a child is all about. It’s such a different way to prepare and maybe in a way that not everyone becoming a parent has to think about. I think everyone finds out about it quickly enough, but in the lead up I don’t think you have to have that same level of consideration at the same level.

Now we are a family and that’s it. I’m absolutely delighted to have a moody teenager roaming about the house!

6. Stephen

The National: Stephen and ClareStephen and Clare

I CAME back from a holiday in the south of France to be told by our manager Gerry McElhone that Altered Images had a new member. That was the first time that I had ever heard of Stephen Lironi. As I remember it, the first thing he ever said to me was, “I think you could really benefit from singing lessons.”

And I was just like… really?! I thought this is the first time I’m ever going to have to hit someone. I’ve had records in the top 10! What do you mean I need singing lessons – you’ve just joined the band.

However, I did go on to get singing lessons from Scottish Opera, and it was a huge benefit. So it really was a good suggestion, but at first I thought, I’m really going to have to punch this guy.

Ultimately it was so attractive to me that someone would be so honest with me, and for my own good. I never usually talk about Stephen publicly, and vice-versa, because it’s such a strange thing I suppose. Thinking back though, so much has changed since that first, slightly frosty meeting. When I first met him at his mum’s house in East Kilbride, how was I to know that we would be married, for 25 years now, have a daughter, be living in London and own two restaurants – and that I would still be performing!

7. Becoming a restaurant owner

STEPHEN had been extremely unwell ... in fact he had had bowel cancer. For many years he had been working incredibly hard as a music producer – he really is the success story in the family.

And then he got very ill. I think when many people go through a serious illness, it makes them reassess their lives. That’s exactly what happened. When he felt recovered enough, he decided that he wanted to move on from what he’d been doing before.

When he said a restaurant I said, ‘‘Really?!’’ I knew I had to support him in this and although the restaurants are ours, they are very much his thing.

When Stephen was ill he read an article about so much Scottish seafood going to Spain and we thought that we should be claiming back some of that.

We now have two restaurants, one quite close to where we live in Crouch End and the other in Stoke Newington – it can be a difficult game and we’re very lucky that they’ve been successful. One is called Bar Esteban; Esteban is Stephen in Spanish, so it was the working title. When it came to the opening, we just kept it – there were too many other things to think about. The other is called Escocesa, which is Spanish for Scotland, but no-one can pronounce it.

8. Leeds Futurama

THIS was a huge indoor music festival that Altered Images played in 1980. It was also where John Peel first saw us and was a real turning point for the band. It was where everything that we wanted to do with the band started to accelerate. Also at that festival were Simple Minds, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Echo And The Bunnymen ... you name it, every important band of that era was there – bear in mind I was still a schoolgirl and I wasn’t just there, I was actually part of it.

As exciting as it was at the time, I think it’s really only in hindsight that you get the significance of it. We were all pretty much still at school and among all these bands who were absolutely the most happening of the time.

9. Being an orphan

EVEN at 57 I struggle with this. My sisters and I lost our mum about 12 years ago and then just a few months ago we lost our dad. For the first time in my life I really feel like the adult, because when you’re someone’s child you always feel like someone’s child.

Even though at times I get things spectacularly wrong, I really am the product of good people who taught me that it’s not about always getting it right. Sometimes it’s about getting it wrong but being able to pick yourself up after that.

At any given time I will always think, what would my mum or dad do in this situation? They really didn’t let us away with much, but they were so much fun.

They knew it was all about being a performer for me and they helped me to grow up by trusting me. I’m learning that it’s a hard thing to do, now that Ellie is almost 15.

10. Hair straighteners

The National:

THESE have changed a lot of lives – certainly for people with naturally frizzy hair.

I was lucky, because I come from a family of hairdressers, including my mum, so I had expertise at my disposal. The middle sister Katie has got poker-straight hair but my big sister Margaret and I both have naturally frizzy and unruly hair. At the start of the 80s we would get the brown paper out and iron our hair. I always wore it quite short, so it was a bit of a death-defying stunt.

The bob which I had in Gregory’s Girl was poker straight but that was ironed by my big sister. I don’t think she ever got a credit for her contribution.

Clare Grogan appears in Let’s Rock – The Retro Winter Tour at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Wednesday, December 11