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‘Everyone keeps telling me the name of my new album,” says Lisa Stansfield in an equal blend of good humour and mild annoyance. I put it to her that the whole Internet seems to believe it’s called Seven - there’s even a review page for it on the Express website. “It’s not got any title yet, I have no idea why people keep calling it that. They’re making me start to think, actually, it’s not the worst name in the world.”

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Of course, fans of Stansfield will know she’s rarely the sort to bow to such public whim and speculation. On the back of nearly 20 million record sales over the course of her career, the 46-year-old soul singer has risen above chasing trends and celebrity to the extent that she has only just reappeared to record her seventh album, her first in nine years.

“I’ve been in the business so long, you start to feel it,” Stansfield says. “And it just didn’t feel right. For the last however many years in music, there’s been so much going on, but not a box that I fit into. And, look, I wasn’t going to try and force my way into a genre. I’ve tried it before, it doesn’t work.”

Referring to her last album, The Moment, Stansfield maintains she is glad she tried a pop record, but is typically forthright about its commercial success. In comparison to her major successes in the late 1980s, which catapulted her to the top of the charts with hits like All Around The World and You Can’t Deny It, the album failed to make a significant impression.

“I think sometimes you fight against what comes easily to you because you think if it’s easy it’s not going to be good. But I was brought up on soul, my mum always used to play it, and that’s what I’m going back to now. There’s this real connection between Northerners and soul.”

Recently, however, the north of London rather than England has been home to Stansfield and husband Ian Devaney. When they were house-viewing in Belsize Park five years ago, she notes how the heavens themselves literally shone on Hampstead during a rainstorm and persuaded them to settle there instead.

The house has overseen a stormy time in Stansfield’s personal life too and ultimately that is what shines through in her new songs. Reflecting on the emotional loss of her mother and the move over from her Ireland home, the woman singing at Hampton Court will be one possessing a renewed sense of her own place in life.

Bubble

“When you take yourself out of the limelight for so long, you can lose yourself and the people around you. You create a bubble and you need to pop it.

“These last few years particularly have made me think about the things I can change, rather than what I can’t. Even if you can’t change the things we’ve been talking about like fame or money, destiny can show you a path that you know is meant for you. Hopefully I’m on that path now.”

Alex Bellotti

n Lisa Stansfield plays at Hampton Court on June 14.

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