'I often take my children on tour. I order them room service, wash their clothes in the sink - then do my show'
'I get inspired by young artists' … Diana Krall
What got you started?
My family. My dad's mum and dad were coal-miners; they had a piano, and loved music like Fats Waller. Then on my mother's side, there were 10 kids, all Lutherans – so I had the whole Lutheran hymn influence on top of that.
What was your big breakthrough?
Getting a record deal when I was 26 – although I was still playing seven hours a night in piano bars to support myself until my 30s, when I started touring.
Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
Time away from the people I love. I've been home a total of three weeks this year. But I take my children with me often as I can. I'm often in a hotel, ordering them room service, washing their clothes in the sink, then doing my shows at night and getting up at 7am.
What advice would you give a young musician?
You don't really need to give anyone advice: if they want to do it, they'll figure it out. I think it's the other way round – I get inspired by young artists.
Is jazz different for women?
The other night my [male] guitarist was in a restaurant, met a bunch of people and was invited to a party, and was out till five o'clock in the morning. I thought: "I want to go to a restaurant by myself and see if I can get invited to a party!" But it's just different.
What's the worst thing anyone has ever said about you?
A newspaper journalist once called me a "cow" in print. I was pregnant when I did the interview, but I couldn't tell any-one. I'd just thrown up, and when I sat down I got stage fright. But I think the guy was actually just in love with me.
Complete this sentence: At heart I'm just a frustrated ...
Ice-skater. Downhill skier. Hockey player. Inner-tube racer. Astronaut.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"Shut up and sing." It's what I tell myself every night on stage when I'm talking too much.
Which other living artists do you most admire?
My husband [Elvis Costello]. Sam Taylor-Wood. Sonny Rollins. Nick Lowe. And the great Haida [native Canadian] artists Robert Davidson and Don Yeomans.
What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?
I don't know. I'm not done yet. Can you ask me when I'm closer to the light?
Born: Nanaimo, Canada; 1964.
Career: Has won two Grammy awards and released 14 albums; Quiet Nights, is out now on Verve.
Low point: "The most devastating thing was when my mum died. Then I met Elvis [Costello] and we wrote [the 2004 album] The Girl in the Other Room about it. But I don't see my career in terms of highs and lows."