Howard Jones, who enjoyed a string of hits in the 1980s, is bringing his “intimate evening of songs and stories” tour to City Hall on Sunday – Valentine’s Day – and is expecting plenty of couples in the audience.
“I expect a lot of people will be bringing their sweetheart with them,” he laughs. “I’ll definitely mention it.”
The solo show offers a trip through Howard’s 30-year music career, in which he enjoyed top-10 success in the US, as well as the UK, with songs such as Things Can Only Get Better, Like to Get to Know You Well and No One is to Blame.
Many of these were composed on his favourite instrument, the piano, and in the show Howard will share behind-the-scenes stories and the inspiration behind the tracks, as well as performing the classics.
“I do two kinds of shows,” he explains. “I do the band stuff and play festivals and bigger gigs, which I really enjoy, but I also do these acoustic shows, with the chance to reveal myself.
“I’ll talk about why they were written, the inspiration behind them, some of the history. It’s a much more intimate thing, but I really enjoy that too.
“I know when I go to shows, I always like to come away thinking I know the person behind the music and that’s what I want to do myself.
“Experiences I had at the time I put in a song and I think the audience can relate to those experiences.”
And, despite those experiences being 30 years old, Howard says there is growing demand for his music.
“People want me to come and do shows,” he says.
“If you look at the people who grew up with the music in the 1980s, they’ve had families and now they want to go out again – they can afford to.
“I also think the perception of the 80s is changing.”
Long-considered an embarrassing decade of big hair and even bigger shoulder-pads, 80s culture is enjoying a revival, with stars appearing in reality shows and bands such as Duran Duran enjoying hugely successful tours,
“It was viewed with derision,” admits Howard.
“I think that was terrible, you’re tarring a whole generation of people who love that music, that culture.
“It’s changed now and that’s right.
“When I think about the 80s, it was a very diverse time with the electronic-synth pop, but also rock, reggae and ska – virtually every genre of pop music was going on side by side and that variety meant there was something for everyone.”
However, much as he enjoys looking back, Howard is still looking forward.
“I just keep doing what I do and trying to improve and keep on writing, keep making records and keep working on my singing and playing.
“I try to do different things that force me to learn new things.
“When my deal finished at the end of the 1980s, I started my own label, so I run my own career and that keeps me busy.”
n An intimate evening of songs and stories with Howard Jones is at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, February 14.
For tickets, priced from £22.50, visit Sheffield City Hall
Support comes from Elise Yuill, a Devonshire-based singer-songwriter fast establishing herself in the contemporary folk scene.