Sharleen Spiteri tells Andy Welch why she's finally ready to do her own thing.
As one of the main songwriters and the singer in chart-topping group Texas, it was natural Sharleen Spiteri would become the figurehead for the band.
Couple that with the fact she's friendly and down-to-earth, not to mention really pretty, and it's easy to see why you wouldn't recognise the other four members of the Scottish outfit if you walked past them in the street.
With such star qualities, Sharleen has always been perfect solo artist material, and - after years of refusing record label requests to write her own material - she's finally setting off on her own.
"I hadn't really thought about doing this before. There was no masterplan, honestly," she says of her first solo album Melody, which is released today.
"Ever since we had our first hit, I Don't Want A Lover, the record company had been saying, 'Give us a solo record.' But I'd always stuck to my guns and said, 'No'.
"But I just felt ready. It wasn't a case of 'now or never' or anything like that. It just felt right," she continues.
"The music I was hearing in my head just didn't fit with Texas, so this is arecord Ineeded to make on my own."
Work on Melody began around two years ago, shortly after Sharleen broke up with her long-term partner and father of her five-year-old daughter, Misty.
"A lot of things changed in my life then," she says, openly.
"Splitting up with my daughter's dad made me question a lot of things. Everything. So much changed and I needed to step up to the challenge."
As a result, Melody is a very personal-sounding record. Take the title of current single All The Times I've Cried, for example, or the lyrics of I'm Going To Haunt You - "Now I don't need you, and I never did before".
"I've always had a mix between things that happen to me and things I've observed. This record is very me, though," she says.
"There was no other way round it, really. That had been my life, and I didn't really have anything else to write about at the time.
"Writing about things helps you get over it, definitely," she continues.
"You know that feeling when you have to take lots of little short breaths, but you're dying for a really deep breath? Well you write the songs, get it all out, and then it feels that you can take a deep breath again."
Musically, the album is about as retrosounding as it gets, but while Texas's blue-eyed soul was informed by the classics of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and The Supremes, Melody takes its influence from the era before.
Sharleen explains: "I went to the 1950s for this. I'm really into people like Lee Hazelwood, Bobby Gentry, Ann-Margaret, Francoise Hardy and The Shangri-Las, so I explored them.
"I'm Going To Haunt You is my tribute to Nancy Sinatra. I also loved the open sound Lee Hazelwood's recordings had, so I wanted to recreate that in my arrangements.
"It's about finding space for all the instruments, and using them to accentuate the vocals. That was my flat-plan for making the album."
Getting her dad to paint the inside of her garage must have also been on that same blueprint, too.
To create the right sound for the guitars, Mr Spiteri was roped in to paint the walls with a high-gloss paint.
"The fumes nearly killed him," she says. "We put all the guitar amps in the garage when we were recording, and I wanted the sound to smack off the walls rather than get absorbed into the stone."
When recording in a studio, "leakage" is an age-old problem. It happens when recording, say, vocals, and the sound from the singer's headphones can be picked up by the microphone and is committed to tape along with the voice. Or when a drummer plays their kit and the sound of the high-hat is picked up in the bass drum microphone.
Leakage causes problems during the mixing stage when, if the producer thinks the vocals should be louder and turns them up, they'll get whatever has leaked onto the track as well.
"It's something that's driven me insane for years in the studio," says Sharleen, who produced nearly all of the record herself.
"So this time, I recorded everything totally separately. The drummer wasn't happy when I told him he had to play along using only the bass drum and floor tom.
"Everything is put on separately so I could control the volume of everything in the mix. It's a backward approach, I suppose, but how I wanted to do it."
At this point, Sharleen's phone rings. She excuses herself and answers, and it's her manager who has some arrangement for tomorrow's photo-shoot.
"I need aPA," she says as she finishes the call. "I won't have one because I'm too much of a stickler for knowing what's going on.
"At the moment, we're arranging a photo-shoot, the video, artwork, everything. I've never organised a wedding, but I think if I had to, I'd be really, really good at it."
Sharleen's daughter, Misty Kyd, crops up in conversation a lot. The 40-year-old says she likes nothing better than lying in bed with her daughter watching a film.
"She's really into Alvin And The Chipmunks at the moment. And Amy Winehouse. She's obsessed with that album, but who isn't?
"Misty wanted to go out for a meal the other night, so she disappeared upstairs to get ready.
"She came back 10 minutes later with make-up on, so I had to walk into a Chinese restaurant with a five-year-old wearing Amy Winehouse eye-liner!
So what does the solo album mean for Texas? Their last album was released in 2005 but there's been no announcement that they've split up. What if Melody really takes off?
"Everyone's doing their own thing. I suppose they're waiting for me to say, 'Yes, let's do another record,' which is what normally happens," she says.
"But at the moment I just don't know. I don't know if Texas will make another record, I don't know if this solo thing is my future or whether it's just a diversion. I'd be lying if I gave you an answer."