Mica Paris

IT'S easy to forget Mica Paris is a singer. The south Londoner is so well-known for her presenting work, her reputation as one of the UK's best female soul singers of the late 80s and 90s has paled since carving out a media career.

However, the 40-year-old is back with a brand new album, Born Again, and back behind the singing mic.

"Going back after ten years is a joy, but terrifying," she says. "I've had to wear a nappy. I really love presenting, but music is different. It's spiritual. You can't put it up against TV, as it's more emotional and powerful."

Born in 1969, Paris' musical roots have always been embedded in soul and gospel ever since she started singing in her grandparents' church.

At 17, she got her first break with Hollywood Beyond, and it wasn't long before her powerful range and sheer soulfulness saw her impact on the UK charts with her debut, platinum-selling album, So Good.

In 1991, she recorded If I Love U 2 Nite, written especially for her by Prince, at Paisley Park. And as the 90s continued, Paris collaborated with everyone from Stereo MCs and Boy George, to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

A brilliant cover of U2's One stood out, but it wasn't until she moved from the stage to the presenters' chair in 2002, that things took on a different direction.

"I've been out of music so long – and because my media career has taken off so well I no longer know how am perceived," Paris admits. "These days, though, there's more pain in the voice. You think you know everything when you're young, and 20 years in the business has been tough, but am optimistic, and the pipes still work okay. Music is very healing, and the songs are all reflective of my journey."

Having hosted radio and television documentaries, as well as appearing on several reality TV programmes, Paris' CV is as long as her arm. However, it's her stint on What Not To Wear that really won her favour.

"I love helping people with their confidence. I never saw the show before I was asked to do it, although I had read about those women (Trinny and Susannah] who put people in awful clothes. The show was a big success and revamped my career."

Though she's well known for her presenting abilities, it's being a singer that gives Paris the greatest satisfaction. At the Jam House next Thursday, she'll be reacquainting herself with fans, old and new.

"It's going to be high energy, a mixture of gospel, soul and jazz – a bit like Al Green's shows. The last time I played in Scotland this big, scary guy came up to me. I felt really nervous, but he had tears in his eyes and said my songs was the best thing he'd ever heard. Those kind of things stay with you."

Mica Paris, The Jam House, Queen Street, Thursday, 6pm, 10 (40 including three-course dinner), 0131-226 4380