Music legend Paul Carrack under pressure to deliver good show at Sheffield City Hall

Paul Carrack plays Sheffield City Hall on Saturday.
Paul Carrack plays Sheffield City Hall on Saturday.

Paul Carrack definitely has energy – aged 63, he is on a tour which includes a hometown show in Sheffield.

The singer-songwriter plays Sheffield City Hall on Saturday.

He says: “I am looking forward to it.

“The Sheffield shows are always special to me because all my family come along – and I love playing the City Hall."

Carrack was raised in Crookes.

He lived above a corner shop, but in his late teens hit the road as a musician.

Paul Carrack

Paul Carrack

“They were such different times then,” he says. “You learned on the road and your apprenticeship was playing as many gigs as possible.

“I am always asked for advice about how to make it in the music business today, but to be honest, these days, I wouldn’t have a clue what to suggest. It was a very different time when I started."

His apprenticeship paid-off.

After spells in Ace, Roxy Music and Squeeze, Paul,

Paul’s solo work includes his latest album, Rain or Shine.

It was an ambitious project – the album followed an epic 10-month run of shows, including a massive two-leg UK tour, international dates and a run of gigs in Europe and North America with Eric Clapton, who personally invited Carrack join his stellar band.

Paul says: “I thought there was no way I’d be doing an album in 2013.

“But producer-musician Peter Van Hooke, who’s an old mate, started to come around to badger me about it.

“So I started writing, and I had five tunes pretty quickly – that’s always kind of the way I do it anyway, I don’t write until it’s time to do an album."

“I had a few little nuggets lying around, because I’ve started now putting little riffs and things on my phone.

“I think they say if you want something doing, give it to a busy man.

“The fact is, I was just in the mode of work and my voice was sounding good, because I’d been doing all those gigs.”

He will be playing some of Rain or Shine's material live at the City Hall.

But while he has played the songs dozens of times, at dozens of shows, no two sets are the same.

Paul says: “I always try and keep the whole set fresh as I have been doing this for a long time, but the songwriting formula is very much one that’s tried and tested.

“It’s generally a couple of verses, then a chorus, then a couple more verses. I am always messing about with songs though.”

To keep the set ‘fresh’, Paul admits he often changes the delivery of the song.

“I vary inflection and nuances in a set,” he says. “It’s good to alter things live.”

His modesty about his career is striking – Paul is far from a rock’n’roll diva.

“I love what I do and I am very lucky to be doing this,” he says. “I never take it for granted, but nor do I feel under pressure from a record label or anything like that.

“I have my own pressure, wanting to give the 1,000 or 2,000 people who’ve come and paid to see me a show they will enjoy. That's a pressure, but it's a good one and one I am never complacent about. I want people to have a good time.”

He is renowned for his voice – big, soulful and bluesy.

It is a voice that fuses a natural ability with a long-standing love affair with artists such as Ray Charles – and a voice which will soon be filling Sheffield City Hall.

“Touch wood, so far the tour is going well,” he says.

“I started it at the end of October and it's been pretty constant since then with various gigs in Scotland as well, but it is fun and I am used to life on the road.”

This tour will showcase material from Rain or Shine, alongside soul covers by the likes of Charles.

Rain or Shine follows the 2012 album Good Feeling, which included radio hits such as Time to Move On.

But Paul is not just a performer. He is, literally, a one-man-band, running his own record label as well as taking care of his own live shows.

And there is no stopping him.

“The options are, get stuck in and do as much as you possibly can, or get fat and lazy,” he says. “I think work’s quite good for you.”