Julia Fordham began her singing career in the pubs of Southsea and on Radio Victory jingles.
The singer from Hayling Island went on to become a backing singer for Kim Wilde and Mari Wilson, before launching her own hugely successful solo career.
With hits like (Love Moves) In Mysterious Ways, she’s sold more than three million records worldwide.
She left Hayling for Hollywood and now lives in a lush green paradise on the outskirts of LA called Topanga Canyon.
But she still comes home once a year to see her parents, Roy and Muriel.
And she likes to revisit her old haunts in Portsmouth and Southsea when she’s back.
‘I recently took my daughter, Marley, to the fair at Southsea,’ she says. ‘I went there with my granddad when I was eight. Now I’m taking my own child on the same rides!
‘I love that seafront. I have the Malibu seafront now (we live right near the beach here), but I think we have a pretty fantastic esplanade at Southsea and I love the cobbled streets and terraced houses of Old Portsmouth.’
She’s back in Southsea this weekend, when she’ll be playing two shows at The Cellars at Eastney tonight and tomorrow as part of her first full UK tour in 20 years.
She also has a new album out. Under The Rainbow is a compilation of her old favourites re-recorded in a stripped back acoustic fashion and featuring a new title track.
It’s another collaboration with the man who produced all her early albums, Grant Mitchell (who, coincidentally, used to live in the Isle of Wight).
Despite having Grant on hand for the tour, Julia admits she’s a little nervous.
‘That’s my personality type,’ she explains. ‘I want the shows to be wonderful, perfect, special.
‘I’m particularly excited about The Cellars shows,’ she adds.
‘I haven’t played in Portsmouth for years.
‘On Saturday it’ll be full of friends, relatives, acquaintances and old colleagues, so it’ll be a right old knees-up.’
Tickets have already sold out for tomorrow’s show, but they’re still available for tonight: £21 in advance from (023) 9282 6249 or thecellars.co.uk or £23 on the door from 7.30pm.
n See a video of Julia performing The Lifehouse Medley at a Pete Townshend tribute earlier this year at portsmouth.co.uk/video.