Music had a massive impact on me when I was growing up. My dad loved the theatre and my mum, who is Welsh, loved music. She would play the piano and take her little brother, my Uncle Tom, around all the chapels to sing. My gran also loved to sing.

Michael Ball

Michael Ball. Photo © James Hole.

When I was eight, we moved to South Africa for three years for my dad’s work. There was no television. It was the time of Apartheid, so there were sanctions and very little happening culturally. You’d occasionally get people coming and doing concerts, but our entertainment was listening to the radio, to the BBC World Service.

The house we rented had a piano, sheet music and an amazing record collection, so my mum took up the piano again and she would play the sheet music. It was all the American songbook classics. We would spend hours together. That’s how I learnt to sing, I guess. I loved it.

In England, we went to the cinema a lot. I was obsessed with The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins...