Alison Moyet is not one to rest on her laurels.

The 56-year-old singer/songwriter’s UK album sales have reached a certified 23 million, with more than a million singles sold since she started out almost 40 years ago.

And yet she’s as busy today as ever.

We caught up ahead of her kicking off the Other tour, which brings her to Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion on Saturday, November 11.

How does she feel about it all?

“It is an epic tour,” she laughs. “You know, three months, a whirl of travelling. It’s bonkers really.

“It’s going to be challenging for a woman in her mid-fifties! But that’s kind of the thing that makes me want to do it.

“I love touring. I’ve not done a tour like this - so broad - since the mid-Eighties, so it’s going to be interesting.”

Moyet pauses, and then muses quietly.

“I love playing now, so much more than I did when I was younger.”

Why, I ask her? She coughs, and then continues almost as though she hadn’t realised she’d said her last statement aloud.

“I used to be very well known and recognisable, which meant when I’d go out on tour before there would always be people hanging out at the hotel or following you, so you were much more isolated.

“Whereas now I quite enjoy the invisibility of middle age. People that come to see my gigs they know me, but other than that I’m left to my own devices, which means I really can live a much more full life. Can experience communities and places, and that’s pretty thrilling.”

The best of both worlds then?

“Exactly that,” she exclaims. “I mean, flipping hell, to be 56 and to be able to play concerts, to sing for a living, and to still have the life that I always aspired to which was being part of a community, I’m so blessed.”

Moyet grew up in Basildon attending Markhams Chase Junior School and then Nicholas Comprehensive. What’s it like for her performing in Essex again?

“I think I’m probably more nervous of playing Southend than I am of playing anywhere else, because this is my home town.

“When you spend so much of your life travelling around, travelling to strange places, where you are an outsider, it’s an entirely different thing to be somewhere where you consider home.

“Southend was such an important place for me, for the development of my music. I did foundation years at Southend Tech, but on top of that my first gig was in Leigh, at Queen’s Hotel. I used to play regularly at the Shrimpers Club at Southend football club. We used to play there most Sundays. It really was my learning bed as a musician, was Southend.”

And what is this tour bringing with it?

“My fans that keep coming back know the kind of shapes that I throw. It’s all electronic and bass and there is a decent smattering of hits. I do some Yazoo, and I’ll be doing new material, but it’ll all be on an electronic backdrop so my advice to people would be, if they like being familiar with the set list then give the new album [Other, out now] a listen, to the Minutes because that gets a good sortie and then other than that it’s all of my whole catalogue going right back to my earliest days in 82.”

So, she’s not snooty about playing some of her old hits then?

“I’ve never been snooty about playing my hits, I mean they were hits. I have got songs that I won’t play. I won’t play Invisible for example, people have been asking for that for years and years, especially when I go to America and that was my biggest record there and I won’t play it, that confuses them slightly. But I have to stay engaged. And if I don’t like a song, if I don’t like the way it hits my chest when I’m singing, if I can’t relate to the lyrics, then I have to stop doing it.

“Ultimately I am an artist, I’m not a tribute act. So, I do, do old hits, but not because they were hits, but because they are part of my catalogue, but I don’t care how big a song is, if I’m not feeling it I’m not going to play it, because when I’m performing I’m genuinely in the moment and I’m genuinely giving you everything I’ve got.”

She’s been in the biz almost her entire adult life, what would she had done if things hadn’t taken off the way they did, I wonder?

“When my career took off I was studying to be a piano restorer,” she explains. “So, I think that’s what I would have done. I would have been French polishing and restringing pianos and tuning them. And then doing music around it until I couldn’t be arsed.

“I’ve always kind of been waiting for that, I’ve always half expected the music to give up on me and that’s kind of why I decided to go back to college this year, because it something I was going to do a few years ago when I stopped singing and the stopped singing never happened.

“So, I thought, f*** it, I’m going to do it all at once and it did really fall all at once. But it’s like they say, if you want something doing ask a busy person!”

What’s she studying?

“I’m doing figurative sculpture. This year has been…well. Just as I signed up to college, the record deal came off, the recording was planned. So, I’d be up at 6am, I’d be in London at 8.30am, I’d be going to college till 5pm, then I’d travel to the other side of London where I’d be recording the album and then at the weekends I’d be having to write the songs that I’d have to be recording that evening.

“I mean, I’m a grandmother now and I’ve got my kids and I’ve got the house and one kid living at home and it’s just been seriously, seriously full on.

“Who’d have thought it when in my twenties and thirties I just managed to waste so many years in inactivity.”

Alison Moyet – The Other Tour is at the Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend on Saturday, November 11, 7pm. Tickets from £29. To book call the box office 01702 351135.