Charlotte Church is the most down to earth person I've ever met, including non-famous people who weren't even child stars. She's self-deprecating, opinionated and honest to the point that, if I were her publicist, I probably wouldn't let her interview.

Luckily for me, that's not the case, and when we meet she happily talks me through her all-time biggest regrets, slags off everyone from Simon Cowell to Rupert Murdoch, and compares herself to Susan Boyle.

Her music taste is surprising (who knew Charlotte Church was into Burial and FKA Twigs?), but not as surprising as her plans to make electronic music herself.

Charlotte, I've been a really big fan since Tissues and Issues...

Which was a horrendous title...

Yes, why did you call it that?

It's what my Mum's friend used to say to me when I was upset, "Just tissues and issues babe." I thought, "ooh, I love it for my album title". And nobody stopped me.

Ha! What do you think now when you look back at that, at your first foray into pop?

It sounds so young to me, it's sweet but it's embarrassing. It's like everyone knows what you wrote in your diary when you were seventeen. It was the first time I'd ever written, I went over to Atlanta and worked with this guy who'd produced Brandy and Monica, got my album together, presented it to the dude at Sony and he was like, "Right, it's not great, let's slap a couple of singles on it," and I was like, "FUCKKK YOUUU this is incredible! What's the matter with you!" So I feel a certain amount of disconnect, cause 'Mood Swings' and 'Crazy Chick', all of the singles, I didn't have much to do with making those.

I feel like you had a fraught relationship with the music industry...

Well I didn't do my A levels cause Sony fucked that up for me. They said "Oh look you don't have to do your A levels, we fund loads of universities in America, we'll totally be able to get you in, so you just relax and release this Greatest Hits album... at fifteen."

Ha, so precocious. But hey, how many people without A Levels have been on 'Have I Got News For You' and 'Question Time'?

Yeah I've done ok but I like the idea of it. I'd love to go and do a degree in phsyics. It enthrals me. It's good to keep your brain going.

Talking of which, I listened to your John Peel Lecture on the music industry's treatment of women. It's good that you talk out on this stuff.

Yeah I really enjoyed doing that. I've just got older and I can't be fucking bothered with the shit. An "I don't give a fuck attitude" is a luxury I can afford.

How do you think it differs to Rihanna or Miley's "I don't give a fuck" attitude?

Because it's not about money. Also I don't know how they feel about the whole thing but I find it incredible complicated, fame and whatnot, child star stuff. It's such a weird psychological thing to go through, but some people like it, they get incredible inflated egos. I haven't got a very big ego, I feel like I've always had a reasonable amount of perspective.

Yeah that's the thing about you; you're normal and liked. You've said in the Leveson enquiry that you've lost all credibility but I don't think you have...

The thing that always flabbergasted me is that people thought I was really fame hungry and that sort of stuff, that I loved being in the papers, which I didn't. But I also made some really bad choices.

Like what?

Stuff I regret, like doing OK when my kids were born.

Was that so you had some control over what went in the media?

Yeah there were like 15 photographers outside my house every day and they'd follow us in the car or whatever, partially to do with that. Partially cause there was a shit ton of money and it wasn't solely my decision. There were two parents, if you know what I mean. I regretted it straight away and gave some of the money to charity.

I have had some absolute humdingers though, like when I did 'Rear of the Year'. It was when I was 16, which is highly inappropriate. Someone in the ether fucking picks a female with an ass and says that's the nicest ass. I was like, "Oh thank you, of course I'll do a photo shoot in your stupid rear of the year jeans."

Well if that was nowadays you wouldn't even be allowed to wear jeans, maybe hotpants.

Ha, true. Anyway, that was an incredibly bad decision.

I think with you, all the stuff in the papers about getting pissed, no one really took any notice of it. It's a bit like the Nigella thing, no matter how horrible the headlines are, people still love Nigella.

Yeah, but at the time it was horrible, it felt huge, all encompassing. Now I can look back and think, "It's only gossip. It's part of human nature."

What do you think of the Daily Mail?

I fucking hate the Daily Mail.

My favourite headline was "Charlotte Church invents new diet, breathing in," which is really hilarious.

No way! Ha. God I hate them!

And Rupert Murdoch?

I don't really care. I just think these things are bad for society, negative, shit-stirring, not factual, lazy. I can't believe how much time so many people have spent of their lives writing about my weight, you poor people. Now and Closer and Heat; "You're a really healthy role model." It's like, "THIS IS JUST MY NORMAL SIZE."

Did I read you did karate to stay fit?

That's a total lie.

Imagine if you were a black belt.

My favourite headline ever was the Sun, "Charlotte the Scruff has a Puff."

Is that when you started smoking?

Yeah, when they tried to insinuate that it was a huge roll up and it was quite evidently a Berkley Menthol. Use some deduction here people!

And then of course because you're a "celebrity" (I fucking hate that word), it's like, oh you should have a perfume, you should design underwear, you should be an actress.

Did you know Mariah Carey's perfume is called Bling Ribbon?

Bling Ribbon? Wow. Yeah I always said if I ever had a perfume I'd call it "Sty". I can't take that stuff seriously. I always used to think, "there's a person who does this for a living who's really good at it." It felt a bit much, a bit indulgent.

You had a TV show though... How did it come about?

I think it was cause I did 'Have I Got News for You', which is weirdly what I get commented on more than anything else.

Did you have Jordan on your chat show?

Yeah. She's weird, she's so cold. I think she's a robot or maybe an alien.

She's probably just had so much shit said about her that she's put a guard up.

Do you reckon? She's so cold. A really, really deeply odd person. Sometimes I had great people on. I had Gwen Stefani on but she was really American about the whole thing. She looked really cool. I had Amy Winehouse as well. It was just before Back to Black cause I loved Frank and so I asked if they could get her.

How was it singing with her?

She was a mess. It was tough, really tough actually. It's on YouTube.

Does it look a bit sketchy?

Yeah, just a bit. The first series was much better and I enjoyed it a lot more, but because it was successful rather than leave it alone they took it on and on and it became a visual version of the pages of Heat magazine.

Did I hear that you were asked to judge on X-Factor?

Yeah, I said no.

What do you think of Simon Cowell?

I don't think that much of him. I don't know him personally but he said something weird to me at an award ceremony once, which was like, "Hey Charlotte how's your sex life?" And I was thinking "what the fuck".

How old were you then, about 16?

Ha, no. But I went on Michael Parkinson when I was 16 and he asked me a similar question. I think I said, "How inappropriate, I'm not answering that."

What was most nerve racking; performing in front of Bill Clinton, the Queen of the Pope?

Probably the Pope.

Because you'd already denounced Catholicism?

Ha no, because my whole family were fucking Irish Catholics and were like, "take 15,000 rosary beads to be blessed". My mum lost a few rosary beads on the plane.

Is that a metaphor?

Absolutely. But then also I wasn't very fearful back then cause I was a kid. And I didn't care because I was way more interested if the girls back home had been to the under 18 night in Zeus without me and if so, who had got off with who.

You had FOMO before there was a word for it

What's FOMO?

Fear of missing out.

Yeah, totally. All through my teens, 12 to 15, I'd just be on the phone to my friend Abbey running up ridiculous bills cause I'd be in like Hong Kong or wherever.

When was the last time you went out in Cardiff? Do you literally get mobbed?

No, never! Cause I'm always out and about, it's where I live. No one gives a fuck.

Yeah but you're like THE Welsh national treasure.

No, everybody's great, I never get any hassle, and I've been out to a number of places in Cardiff throughout my life.

Trawling Cardiff Bay waiting to get spotted...

Yeah, "HEY! Notice me!"

You never moved to London?

No when I was younger my family wanted to move to America because that was my biggest territory where I was most successful. Especially when all the press stuff started getting stressful, they were like, "Come one let's just go" and I was like, "No way, I'm staying in Wales forever".

Why were you so big in America?

Just a commodity, it was really weird. The way it happened to me was sort of like how it happened to Susan Boyle.

Hahaha

You didn't expect that did you! I love comparing myself to Susan Boyle. How she just sort of blew up. She was HUGE in America, sold millions of records. Made Simon Cowell a shitload.

Tell me about what you're doing now, a series of EPs? Why?

When I first started this project with the band we had a shed load of material and you can do whatever you want to do in this current state of the music industry, anything goes, so for more freedom, we didn't really want to have to make one cohesive big piece of work and I sort of wanted to be free to be able to experiment and not have to make it all a structured form. It's enabled us to grow as writers and producers, but it's tough cause I self release and it's all self funded.

Plus it's less commercially viable to do EPs than albums though cause people aren't used to it

Yeah, absolutely, and some people don't review EPs. 5 will probably be an album but I don't know cause at the moment I sort of want to be the whole band thing to bed and go in a more electronic direction because that's what's floating my boat right now and widen my parameters of who I'm working with.

What kind of electronic stuff?

I'm massively into a guy called Baths, his new album Obsidian is just stunning. I've just discovered FKA Twigs who is incredible. I can't believe she used to be Jessie J's dancer. She's brilliant. I've just got a Burial vinyl.

I'm quite surprised to hear you say you're into Burial! And still collecting vinyl.

I like it. I just think it's nice to collect things. It's nice to have stupid little hobbies like that. I really want to buy a telescope and start doing amateur astronomy. Cause I'm a total fucking nerd.

What is it about electronic music that appeals to you?

There's something about it, it's so inhuman, anthropomorphic. I just want to make future music now.


Church is playing a launch show at London's Riverside Studios tonight and at Unit 31. Her FOUR EP is released on March 10th.