Tracey Thorn knows a thing or two about the vicissitudes of pop stardom. As one half of Everything But The Girl her warm, melancholy voice was the soundtrack of student life in the post-punk era, but when fashions changed the band was dismissed as purveyors of bedsit angst and dropped by their label. When her partner Ben Watt was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease, her career seemed to be over, until the success of ‘Missing’ turned the duo, much to their surprise, into a globally feted dance act.
But Thorn has never courted celebrity, eschewing the limelight even when it sought her out, and success has always been delivered on her terms. She left her original band, the Marine Girls, to study for an English degree, turned down a slot supporting U2 and retired to raise children in the wake of her greatest success. Recently she returned to the studio as a solo artist, receiving rave reviews for her latest album – a Christmas record – and for her memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen. In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea, she reflects on her extraordinary career, and the changing nature of pop stardom in the X Factor era.