MY dad played guitar a little and, when I was about 12, I was listening to a lot of guitar bands like Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis and all the Britpop bands. I desperately wanted to play guitar so one day I took my dad’s guitar up to my bedroom – I’m not sure I even asked – and started to try and teach myself.

I found that I loved it. I would come home from school every day and play it until my fingers bled because I was so determined to play along to my favourite songs. It eventually got to the point where I was able to play along to them which set me off writing my own so it’s possible that if my dad hadn’t had that guitar in the house I might never have started to write my own songs.

Singing came to me later on though. My parents have very incriminating ­video footage of me warbling along to Heal the World by Michael Jackson.


The National: Michael Jackson Tribute Night

HE was my first musical love and his was the first concert I ever went to. My mum worked in William Hill bookmakers and they had a touchtone phone before anyone else had them in their homes. My mum was able to get through on the ticket hotlines instantly because of that phone.

She got these tickets for Michael Jackson in London when I was four and my parents took me and my ­sister. I don’t really remember much of the concert but I remember being very excited and I think that is where my love of music began. Michael Jackson was our hero and again there is loads of incriminating video ­evidence of me and my sister trying to dance to his music. We had all of his ­albums and were always listening to him.


I WENT to Bishopbriggs High School and every year on the last day of school before Christmas they would put on this Stars in Your Eyes Concert where pupils would perform as their favourite artist or band. Everybody wanted to take part so they had to have auditions. I remember loving it during my first two years at the school. It was so exciting and when I got into third year I decided to audition for it myself.

I went up with up my guitar and sang Hunter by Dido. I made it through to the final with the entire school watching.

I was just there with my guitar and sang this song and I remember getting overwhelmed because the response I got was incredible. I actually won and I think that started my love of being on a stage and performing in front of people. I was nervous but excited. I’m also quite competitive so the fact there was a competitive element really appealed to me.


I WAS an avid reader of NME and loved to read all about my favourite bands. I was a real indie rock chick and I would go to all the NME tours. One day I saw an advert from a production company seeking singer/songwriters so I sent them a demo. I thought I had nothing to lose.

They contacted me a couple of weeks later asking if I would come to London for an audition which was crazy because I was still 17. My mum went down with me and I did the audition at the weekend. The following Monday they got in touch to say they wanted to come up to ­Scotland to meet us. From there I signed a contract with them and within 10 months I had signed a record contract with Universal Music.

I had just been accepted to study social sciences at Strathclyde but this threw my plan off track. The university allowed me to put my place back for a year but by then I had released my first album which reached number one in the UK and all over Europe so I didn’t take it up.

It’s funny because a music career was something I was excited about but genuinely didn’t think would happen so I didn’t spend a great deal of time pursuing it. It just all kind of happened at once.

When I look back I sometimes wonder how I managed to get through everything I did. I was 19 when my first album came out and the amount of pressure that is suddenly forced upon you is insane, with everyone having an opinion on you. I am always described as an old head on young shoulders and I think that definitely helped me deal with it.


THIS happened every Saturday morning and this might sound odd but I remember it fondly. My mum and grandad were very political but had very different opinions. My mum has always been a supporter of independence and my grandad wasn’t. I got to see both sides of the argument.

We would go to my nana and grandad’s every Saturday morning. My nana hated the arguments so she would take herself off to the kitchen and have nothing to do with it and my mum and grandad would sit at opposite ends of the table from each other and discuss their different opinions.

It often got heated but what it really taught me was how to debate and how it is fine that people have different opinions. My sister and I would just sit and listen and at the end of it, without fail, they would stand up and say “right, see you next week” and have a hug.

It has taught me that people are always going to have different views but it doesn’t mean we are different in every single aspect of life. We still have these deep connections and we can have different views on politics but it doesn’t mean that everything else is fragmented too. We need to promote that we can have these different ideas but we don’t need to go down that toxic route where everything is so divisive. It’s fine to disagree.


HE unfortunately passed away last year. I was devastated: the whole family was. He was just one in a million. I learned loads from him. I learned about absolute unconditional love and loyalty. He just made me smile. I coped with his death by getting every photo I could find blown up into a canvas. The whole place is full of them so my house has effectively been turned into a shrine.

He was a miniature schnauzer and an absolute character. I feel lucky to have had him in my life. I called him Arnold because when my sister and I were about four or five we were desperate for a dog and asked Santa for one for Christmas. I remember coming down the stairs on Christmas morning, opening the door of living room and there, in a Bell’s whisky box, was this little fluffy head peeking over the sides. We named him Jackson after Michael Jackson but my dad ­suggested calling him Schwarzenegger after Arnold. I remembered that when I got Arnold in 2009 so that’s why I called him Arnold.

It is so heart-breaking when we lose our pets but I feel he will be with me for a long time. Loads of people have asked if I am getting another dog but I’m not ready yet – right now I’m happy to live in my shrine!


I was never ­really interested in fitness before but around 2014 I realised I was getting out of breath going up stairs and needed to do something about it. I started getting into fitness then and I just love it. When I am performing now I feel my voice is 10 times better. I can hold notes for much longer than I could previously and I think the gigs are easier for me.

In the past few years I have discovered the joys of lifting heavy weights. It does wonders for my head and I love the feeling of being strong and not needing to rely on anyone else doing things for me. I like feeling like I am a badass woman!

My favourite thing is an Olympic ­barbell. I usually go to the gym and I can’t cope without it so as soon as lockdown started I realised I needed to get one. It gives me a sense of structure because I go out and follow my little routines and it has really helped me.


SHE lived in Milton and would get the bus every day to Bishopbriggs so she would be there when my sister and I would get home from school when my mum and dad were at work. She would look after us and cook our dinner and she did that five days a week.

She was in my life from day one right up until when she died in 2001. She just had such a profound effect on me because she was such an amazing person and was an incredible woman.

Unfortunately she got Alzheimer’s and we had to watch her deterioration. It’s one of my big regrets that she never got to see my career in music because I know she would have been so unbelievably proud.

There have been a couple of great moments that would really have impressed her. She loved Neil Diamond and in 2010 he was doing a special concert for the BBC and I was asked if I would go on stage with him and perform. I remember thinking “wherever she is she will be absolutely buzzing right now”.

The National: Viva Neil Diamond

Then in December I took part in the Vatican Christmas Concert. It was just another one of those great moments where I thought “she is somewhere smiling at this – first Neil Diamond now the Pope!”.

I was standing there talking to the Pope and thinking how have I found myself here in the middle of a whole ­pandemic? But everybody was really nice and seemed quite chilled out considering the situation. I think the Pope struggled to understand my accent though.


IT’S a song from the first album and it has basically changed my life. I wrote it when I was about 16. I had been to a concert with my friends, then on a night out. I spent most of the next day holed up in my bedroom but I had my guitar and I wrote this song that was essentially about the brilliant night out I’d had with my friends and how lucky I was to have these great pals and be able to make these great memories.

The song did well here but really took off all over Europe. In 2008 it was number one in the Netherlands and that started the ball rolling. It shot up the charts everywhere and you couldn’t go anywhere in 2008 and 2009 in Europe without hearing it everywhere you went. It gets played on the radio across Europe just as much now so as it did then so it has become one of these songs that has never gone away.

It has changed everything about my life. It has given me this career and a great fan base. It has meant I am comfortable and my family are comfortable. It totally changed everything and I will forever be grateful to it.


I AM a gadget geek. I love all things gadgetry – they just make my life so much easier. But the gadget I love most is my Apple watch because it gives me such amazing motivation to get up and be active. It has been even more helpful in this crazy past 12 months because it is so easy to get into a pattern of just waking up, getting up and not doing much.

I’m pleased I managed to get my fifth album out. We started making it early last year and we were on a roll when the first lockdown hit and put all our plans out the window. It was to have been released by the early summer but it was put back and didn’t come out till November.

There were conversations about holding it until this was all over but we don’t know when it will be over and I believe music can be a real escape for people so I felt it was important to put it out there.

Thankfully it has had great feedback and was in the top 10 in the UK and various countries in Europe so I can’t complain. The third single from it, Statues, is coming out at the end of next week but it looks like my tour which was booked for April is going to have to be moved.

However I’m booked for the ­TRNSMT festival and I am hopeful that can go forward if they can make good progress with the vaccines. I think we need things to work towards and look forward to.