You’ve gone from popstar to celebrity gardener and back again. Why did you take a break from music?
I’ve been a pop star since I was 20 years old, so by the time I was 36, it started to feel a bit like Groundhog Day. I just felt if I didn’t get off the merry-goround, I was either going to get pushed off or my life was just going to keep going round and round instead of going forward.
You had massive commercial success with ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’. Did you never want to break America?
I remember when it went to number one, I just didn’t have that blonde ambition to go over there and conquer the world. I’ve never had that kind of ambition, so I’m glad it didn’t happen for me there because I’m very much a home girl, I love the UK.
Why do you think ‘Kids in America’ is still as popular today as it was in 1981?
My brother wrote it in his bedroom when he was 18 years old and we were living in our mum and dad’s house. The reaction that I get to that song is immense – there is a magic to it and an energy and attitude. The record’s fresh production has stood the test of time, like all great works of art.
You merrily entertained passengers on a train with renditions of your hits after a night out during Christmas 2012. Were you shocked at the viral sensation that you became on YouTube?
It was done with a lot of fun and festive spirit. I was with my brother and I just thought, ‘It’s Christmas, we are on a train and we have a guitar’. So we just went for it. I never dreamt in a million years that we would have two million hits on YouTube. It actually gave me a kick up the backside to get on with the Christmas album, which I released last year.
You will perform an acoustic set in Dubai. What can we expect from the gig?
I’m part of a ’70s band and we go out and do all kinds of gigs. The acoustic set has developed gradually over the years. I figure Dubai is my chance to focus on an acoustic set in an intimate environment – I’ll play my biggest hits, plus songs I love from the ’80s, along with a few surprises.
You’ve been in the music industry for more than 30 years, do you have a favourite gig?
The Bad Tour with Michael Jackson in 1988 was phenomenal. I did 32 concerts with him while he was at the peak of his career.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
We are going to do some acoustic concerts for Christmas and we will be performing across Europe for the rest of the year. We are also finishing a new album, which will be released in 2015.
Free before 6pm, Dhs150 after. Saturday October 4, noon-3am. Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).