Dubbed "The Voice of an Angel" aged 12, Charlotte Church became a classical music wonder-child in the '90s.
Brief stints as a popstar, chat show host and reality TV judge followed, but now one of Wales's finest voices has turned her vocal talents to a rockier soundscape.
Digital Spy caught up with Charlotte to talk about her change in musical direction, what she thinks about her pop career in hindsight and whether she'd ever make a return to classical music.
Congratulations on the new EP 'ONE'. How have you found the reaction?
"It's been pretty awesome thus far and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I think I expected it to be - and I hate this phrase - more marmitey, but it's been mostly positive which is weird. You're kinda just left waiting for the backlash!"
You're almost going back to your roots because the vocal feels more operatic than your pop stuff.
"In parts, but they're also horrifically harsh. It's the first time I've been able to use the entirety of my voice, but it's also the first time I've known how to. Everything was super DIY, so I had lots of time and the freedom to not always make a beautiful noise. Sometimes it needs to sound nasty, hard and a bit too intense that you think your head is going to blow."
This time you don't have the big label behind you; how has it been different?
"It's massively different. It's actually harder in some ways because you're trying to do everything on as much of a shoestring budget as you can. Everyone who's working on it has to be passionate about it, but that's the best way to do things. If you're really trying to make something creative, a lot of the time it's compromised by the big conglomerates and has to go through a board of 10 people that have different opinions and gets diluted."
Why are you releasing EPs instead of a full album?
"It's basically a series of five EPs and there are a couple of reasons why we did it like this. For me, the concept of putting years of work into an album and trying to perfect it, then pushing it and then squirrelling away in the studio for another two years, whereas with EPs we're writing and recording as we go along. If we're writing better stuff and it's evolving constantly, there are no boundaries. Although it will all be cohesive, it doesn't have the same restraints as an album.
"Also, for many reasons, I don't want to go on TV and for it to be a 'reinvention' or a 'comeback'. I'd like people to discover it through word of mouth. When you find stuff like that, you feel a bit of ownership and I like that."
In the song 'Judge From Afar' you react to the user's comments on a MailOnline story - does that consequence of celebrity culture still frustrate you?
"The thing is, it's my own fault for looking. You just shouldn't for your mental health, it's just a bad thing. It's something I've had to live with for a long time, but it's just the way things are going with the web. You can be anonymous and say vitriolic things, but if it makes them feel better about their lives then whatever. That's the way you have to view it."
You started in the music industry as a child star and you've been through a few genres, but how would you say you developed as an artist?
"I think as a teenager I was pretty impressionable and I was led a lot. I was in a big company that were making a lot of money and I was essentially a product. I think it's changed a lot in the sense that I'm no longer a product and am an artist now - at least, I hope so. I'm not embarrassed about any of the musical choices I made - I laugh at them sometimes - but I don't regret it because it's all part of where I've got to.
"I couldn't have gone completely solo without having done Tissues and Issues and the bureaucracy that surrounded it. I suppose I've become more well-listened, read more books, met interesting people and just become a little more worldly."
Would you say you understand yourself more as an artist now?
"I'm more stronger in my conviction of what I want to do. When you're first trying to write, people tell you, 'That's no good, it's pretty s**t really'. It knocks you for six so you generally tend to go along with it. That was the case with 'Crazy Chick'. I presented an album that I had been writing with different people when I was 16/17, to which the record company said, 'It's alright, it's not great, so we'll slap a couple of singles on it and get it out'."
How did you react to that?
"I was furious and then it was 'Crazy Chick' and this, that and the other - so I hated that song from its conception. I understood it was a pop hit, but I hated it because it didn't mean anything - I don't think it helped anyone with their emotional problems - and it was just a bit of throwaway pop, which I wasn't about."
If you could give your 12-year-old self a piece of advice now, what would you say to her?
"Don't be swayed. I always knew - not in an egotistical way, just self-belief - that I was a good singer. So probably not to be swayed, but that's difficult because you go through those tumultuous teenage years anyway. Because I'd been in the industry since I was 12, I thought there was only one way of doing and that's how I did it. I wasn't aware that I could go on the interim and work with a band. I always listened to bands, but I never thought it was a possibility that it was something I could do."
Are you a fan of chart music?
"Not really, from what I've heard of it. I watched the chart rundown on MTV today and every track had that dance synth from the '90s. They all had the same four-chord bash. I listen to Radiohead, Bjork, Sigur Ros and some classical and jazz stuff. Also some '80s - I've actually just fallen in love with the Drive soundtrack. It's phenomenal. We've been quite influenced by that recently in the studio. I really do try not to be an indie snob about s**t and listen to everything."
Would you ever return to classical music?
"I kinda thought I would a couple of years ago - I thought I'd like to do an opera. It's a beautiful artform that I'd like to master because I never did. Then I thought why? It's a difficult path and I'd have to go back and study for around a year. I could possibly not be that good and I could possibly have the opportunity to do it, but unless I was absolutely brilliant, I wouldn't bother. There are a lot of brilliant people out there.
"The only way I would possibly do it is to write something original. That kind of interests me because it's a bit free-er. It would be classical in its nature, but with bits of Sigur Ros."
If the BBC approached you to do 'The Voice', would you consider?
"No, not unless I could entirely change every bit of the format! Essentially all of those shows have good points and bad points. It's kind of a shame what happens to the people afterwards. A lot of these people go in with a spark and little style of their own and then get moulded into this whole new sellable product. And actually, they were much more saleable at their first audition. Why change them? That's what I don't like about the process really."
Charlotte Church's new EP 'ONE' is available to download now.
Listen to Charlotte Church's 'The Rise' below: