IT’S a bit ironic that the phone connection to Charlotte Church in Wales is terrible during our interview – at times we’re cut off and the signal breaks upyou can hardly hear her voice.
Hacking into her phone messages was one of the ways the tabloid press splashed her life all over the front pages a few years ago – 33 stories, according to Charlotte.
And with intimate family matters being leaked – like announcing her pregnancy to the world before Charlotte had even had the chance to tell her mum – it’s no wonder the issue is a huge deal to the one-time child star.
Charlotte received a £600,000 payout from News International who continuously tapped into her private life through various means and the singer gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking.
She still feels strongly enough to be fighting for proper control of the press.
Last week she met David Cameron with a delegation from the Hacked Off group campaigning for a free but accountable media.
Earlier, Charlotte appeared on breakfast TV – not talking about her new EP One, but the real change in press regulation she and the other Hacked Off campaigners want.
"I think, as obviously time tends to do, it makes people forget and feel a little less passionate about it," said Charlotte.
"Unfortunately, I think the same thing is likely to happen as did the last times there have been inquiries into press ethics – which is six times since 1947.
"The people in Hacked Off are being made out as kind of fascist celebrities trying to gag the press.
"But it’s nothing to do with gagging anybody, it’s just having a regulatory body that isn’t controlled by newspaper proprieters."
Charlotte added her energy to the effort because she wants to keep living in Wales.
"I thought ‘No actually, I want to continue living in this country.
"I’ve always lived in Wales."
Has the Leveson experience made her think of adding "politician" to "singer", "actress" and "TV chat show host.
"For a while I thought it would be interesting, but after going to the Leveson inquiry I think I’d lose my sanity in a week!" she laughed.
Besides, Charlotte is just as passionate about the music she is currently making.
After childhood global stardom as the "voice of an angel", then the "Crazy Chick" era of her 2005 pop album when her record company still marketed her as a product rather than a developing artist, the 26-year-old is now actually exploring the music SHE wants to sing.
She said: "As I’m getting older, if I 100 per cent don’t believe in something passionately, I can’t pretend any more. I just can’t do it.
"So I have to pack it in!" she laughed.
Charlotte took a break from music to have her two children Ruby and Dexter with former partner,Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson.
With classical and pop already explored, Charlotte even looked at opera.
But she says now: "I’m happier doing my own thing.
"While opera is a beautiful art form, I don’t know if I could bring that much to it.
"There are a lot of amazing opera singers out there, but you are singing somebody else’s music and words and you can only sing the notes written on the page.
"I just don’t see that much freedom in it."
Since 2005 album Tissues and Issues and 2010’s Back To Scratch, Charlotte’s music and songwriting became more indie rock influenced before starting to work with partner Jonathon Powell, a musician and producer.
"A couple of years ago, I was getting into listening to Radiohead and it kind of changed my life," Charlotte revealed.
"It just opened up loads of musical doors that I would never have opened.
"Most of the things I did in the past were very formulaic and it was breaking free of barriers really.
"It’s all self-funded. But it’s the only way to have absolute control over your music, otherwise it will be compromised somewhere and I’m just not up for it.
"I’ve compromised for a long time and done as I’m told.
"Me and my partner, Jonathon and Jamie Neasomare the three principal songwriters. Me, Jonny and Gethin John – who is Jonny’s business partner – are the producers.
"We sit in the studio for hours at a time figuring out what backing vocals should go on, or whether there is too much reverb.
"It’s awesome and I’d love to do more production for other people in future."
Having decided to release a series of five EPs rather than an album, Charlotte gives herself as much freedom as possible to enjoy all the processes involved in being songwriter, artist and producer.
"We thought if we don’t have to release all the songs together we could make each EP its own thing.
"And you get your music out earlier and faster and without so much pressure – and I find that quite exciting."
There’s a gothic edge and ethereal quality to one of the EP’s songs How Not To Be Surprised When You Are A Ghost.
Charlotte explained how the song – behind a stunning video made by two Cardiff video artists – came about.
"Essentially it’s about what happens when you die.
"It comes from an idea in a Vladimir Nabokov novel called Pale Fire.
"There’s a poem at the start and it says that when you die, time doesn’t exist and that everyone – both alive and dead – are all present. That in itself causes complications.
"But if you can sort it out, that would be your heaven."
Charlotte’s Inverness gig is part of a surprising first-ever UK tour – she’s gigged across the world and performed for Pope John Paul II, the Queen and Bill Clinton.
She laughed: "It’s important to say that our set is pretty rowdy and it can be pretty nasty at times.
"If people are expecting nice classy singing there’s not very much of that!
"A lot of people want to put a tagline on – it’s "the comeback" or "the reincarnation of".
"But it’s more of an evolution in my mind – it’s just the next part along the pathway of a creative life, really."
Charlotte Church and her band appear at Bogbain Farm, Inverness, on Saturday. To see the video for new EP (italic)One song How Not To Be Surprised When You’re A Ghost, go to www.charlottechurchmusic.com