When I first became a music therapist many years ago, I worked with small children between the age of 3 to 5 in a community setting where both typical children and children with disabilities attended during the day. There were about 20 of them in the class. Half of them had disabilities, such as autism and Down Syndrome, while the other half did not.
To be such an open book as a songwriter and a person in general I find that I am much more vulnerable and exposed. I am simply putting my weaknesses, loves, dreams and fears all in one place for anyone hear. It worries me sometimes that I expose so much of these inner worries and secrets that one day someone could turn around a use all my own words against me.
I've been eagerly anticipating the start of this year's 30th anniversary BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest, which has been firmly in my diary for the last 18 months. I've been following the months of preparation leading up to next week, to the extraordinary, challenging competition, which viewers and listeners around the world have the chance to see - and it represents the culmination of many, many months of musical preparation by each of the candidates. It's a world-wide event, a fantastic platform!
Every night my mother would put us to bed to classical music, my younger brother would fall asleep instantly, but I was different and I couldn't sleep until the record was finished. I would secretly leave my room and stand in front of the mirror that was in the long corridor next to my room and I would dance and pretend I was Montserrat Caballé in La Traviata.