Ali Campbell was lead singer for the British band UB40 for 30 years. Then, in 2008, after a spectacularly acrimonious split, he launched a solo career. He is a judge for New Zealand's Got Talent. For the record, he really does like red, red wine over white any day.

1. If you were to judge yourself when you started, what would you have said about your voice, your performance?

My voice was fine but I suffered huge stage fright. I would come on stage and instead of looking at the audience I would concentrate on the mic, which would make me go cross-eyed. I would hope back then people would have seen a raw talent and encouraged me.

2. What would your memoirs be called?
UB40/ The litany of Lies. [How to Destroy a Legacy]
3. Have you ever thrown a CD across the room or yelled at the radio?

UB40's new country album was thrown across the floor. Country music mixed with reggae?


I shouted at the radio the other day when one of our top stations here in the UK had a jingle that stated "less music more talk". I want music radio to be about that. Music.

4. What's the most important piece of advice on the music industry you wish you'd had, starting out in 1978?

I think the most important single piece of advice would be to work with a team you know and trust. In this industry there are many pitfalls and a lot of unscrupulous people only too eager to take advantage. Work with people you can trust.

5. What love song not written or covered by you do you wish you'd written and why?
You and I, by Stevie Wonder. There is so much emotion in the lyric and delivery. There are so many fabulous songs out there but Stevie's voice is as moving as you can get.

6. When Britain embraced reggae in the 70s and 80s, why did it resonate so strongly with people and what impact did it have?

It was embraced as Britain was going through a period of great social unrest and reggae music is full of protest songs. It had a huge impact socially as people could relate to a lot of the sentiment in the songs.

7. What stands out for you when judging New Zealand talent?

How varied and unique the talent is. New Zealand is such a wonderfully eclectic place and very culturally diverse. The passion and talent shines through and that is clearly displayed by the array of talent I have seen so far.

8. What is your greatest vice or indulgence?

Reggae music and all that goes with it has been my lifetime's indulgence.

9. What is your greatest fear and how do you overcome it?

I am not a great lover of flying but in my line of work it is an occupational hazard. The greatest way to conquer a fear is to face it. I also dislike spider mites, as they are so destructive.

10. What qualities do you admire in a woman?

Honesty and trust are the bedrock for all successful relationships in life irrespective of what level it is on. I would probably have said something different had I been asked this question 30 years ago.

11. What do emerging musicians have today that you didn't?

Dastardly downloads. Technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. I can't imagine when I started off being able to record an album in my bedroom as people do now.

12. What gives you the greatest comfort?

The sun. I really hate the winter when the daylight is so short and you may not see the sun for weeks on end. I always feel happiest on a lovely sunny day.