“If you want twee don’t ask me. I’m not that person,” Mica Paris tells me firmly as she prepares for her evening performance in Fame The Musical.

The famous soul singer, one of the UK’s most respected female artists, with a career full of Top 10 hit singles and albums worldwide, should know.

After all, she signed her first record deal aged 17 and now approaching her 50th birthday, she has six musicals, numerous albums, TV appearances and books to her bow, as well as a new Radio 2 show.

With Fame The Musical garnering rave reviews all the way to the West End, she is still at the top of her game.

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So what’s her secret? “You have to fight for quality, integrity and self worth,” Mica says. If you haven’t got that, then forget it.

“So I take things on that I can be proud of, which isn’t great for my bank account, but you cannot buy credibility.”

Perhaps she means that despite never doing anything by halves, is a pro, and understands the industry like no one else, she still loves what she does.

And Fame is the perfect example: “In this day and age it’s important to remind people that getting up on stage is a result of craft and training, investing in what you do and loving it. And that there is also a darker side of fame.”

One that Mica seems to have traversed successfully, despite springing to fame at such a young age.

Oxford Mail:

“That’s what people think, but actually there is a whole story behind that even though it may look that way. I was raised in the church, my grandparents were ministers and I had a very strict upbringing actually, with lots of choir practice,” she laughs, a deep rumbling infectious bubble of a chuckle.

“I was winning awards and performing aged 11 at Wembley, but with the Pentecostal church. So I was a little star way before I signed my record deal.”

And did that help? “Absolutely, that helped. I’m not religious but I am spiritual and my morals are Christian. So I was taught from a young age to be a vessel for the music and to share my gift. There is no arrogance there. It’s about giving. Your voice is not yours, it’s for others. So it’s about selflessness and respect.”

Isn’t that what Whitney Houston said as well? “Yes, but we are also human and she gave too much.

“I knew her well and she didn’t know when to stop giving and keep something back for herself, until there was nothing left. She was the most giving human being I knew. It’s easy to be judgemental, but everyone wanted a piece of her and they just took and took, from an early age.

“One could easily go that way, and that’s why you have to stay strong and have purpose, because there is so much pressure to deliver the goods.

“So I treat my job and my voice like an athlete would. I’m going to be 50 next month so I really look after myself and go to the gym three times a week.”

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When not on stage Mica takes on other projects like Strictly in 2006, which she famously hated: “I looked like such a twit,” she recalls. “My dad rang me and said: ‘you’ve got a fantastic voice but you cannot dance, but I’ll try anything once.”

“It’s nice to do other projects though because when I come back to singing afterwards, it always feels fresh.”

So no dancing in Fame? “Honey, no one wants to see that again, and the script is powerful enough without it.”

Playing teacher Miss Sherman, Mica says there is a great dynamic between her and her students. “I leave the moves up to the others,” she laughs, “because we have such an amazing cast with Jorgie Porter and Keith Jack. And Miss Sherman understands the pitfalls of fame, what it takes to be a star and how her students need an education to fall back on.”

“It’s powerful, I’m telling you, which is why this adaption has caught the public’s imagination, because it packs an emotional punch. That’s why it’s won so many awards. ”

“Besides, it’s rough out there at the moment and people need to forget about things for a while.”

Not that you can forget about Mica, she knows where she’s going, two left feet or not.