Kiwi singer songwriter Anika Moa has released her first album in more than three years - and it's for babies. Moa and partner Azaria Universe had twin boys two and a half years ago.

1. The twins are Taane and Barry: why Barry? Will he hate you for that?

Yeah probably. I hate myself for it. Ha! It's Azaria's granddad's name but I called him that. It's just such a quirky name, you know? Bazza. I was telling my mum on the phone, there's Taane Diamond and she was like "ohh kia ora" and Barry Kowhai and she was like "sooo, what was the name?" Oh but Barry. He's just so gorgeous.

2. Has motherhood changed you?

Maybe I care about children a little bit more and understand mothers and what they go through to have children. But being a musician you have to be really selfish and go away and write and tour. Definitely my love for other human beings has doubled. I find myself crying at ads. Crying when I watch them sleeping. And I can't go to any old launch or gig now. You have responsibilities. When I tour I take my family with me. They're gypsies those boys. They've got the Moa in their blood.


3. Do lesbian mums do anything differently?

Obviously the kids don't mind that they've got two mums. They don't know any differently. But I notice a difference when they're around men. They love having that male presence. We try to make sure there are a lot of uncles around and my male friends to influence and guide them in that sense. They just have a quiet excitement about being around fullas. I hope when they're older they'll love that they've got two mums and understand why.

4. What is the worst of sleep deprivation?

It's like a David Lynch movie on repeat. That's all I can say. It drives me crazy not being able to sleep.

5. You released your first hit album Thinking Room in 2001: Have you changed much from your 21-year-old self?

As you age you experience things and tend to grow a little wiser. But I haven't learned how to keep my mouth shut, how not to have a big mouth and not have a fully formed opinion, which gets me into trouble all the time. But I love it. I love that I can't sit still. I love talking. My enthusiasm for life has only grown. I appreciate being sad and I appreciate being happy. Why wouldn't I? This is the time in my life when I have it all - good music, great friends, a fantastic family and two amazing sons. What more could I want?

6. Has it been easy making the music business work for you?

Yeah, it has. Back when they signed me to this [Atlantic Records] deal [in 2001] I was still trying to confirm who I was. All my friends know I don't like being pushed into things and don't like being told what to do. And I couldn't fathom how I could be the person they wanted me to be - to always wear makeup and nice clothes. I like bare feet, I swear, I'm not skinny, I'm just me. Now I've released so many cool albums, some have gone better than others but I love them all, and now I've got a baby album. So it has been easy. I just asked for what I wanted and then I got it and then I wrote songs.


7. Are you easy to work with?

I have changed my managers a fair bit during the years. I feel like I might be famous for it ... [singer] Hollie Smith said "you go through them like undies". Yeah, I am hard on them. Because I work hard and I expect them to work hard too. And they do. Generally.

8. Are you obsessive?

I've got a cleaning obsession. I developed it from my mum who used to work at a motel and she would take me on her jobs. There's nothing like those hospital corners. Cleaning develops into a way of thinking things through. When you're vacuuming you're going 'that lyric should go with that one' or working out your problems, planning your schedule. I'm full on. I can't sit still. But then I'm lazy too. I'll drop it for two days a week and go all slouchy on it.

9. What do you want to teach your children?

To love with all their heart and not be scared of taking risks. To grow up to be strong, healthy men who are good to their partners - wives or husbands. What would I do differently from my parents? I would never leave my children like my dad did. He died six years ago, but we're all good. I'm a lot like my dad. We're both musicians and have these wild imaginations.

10. Why did you write Songs for Bubbas?

I had to listen to the Wiggles for a year. Hot potato, hot potato. Hot potato, hot potato. I wanted to stab someone in the head. The baby album is a remedy against that. And there's a big gap in the market. I'm going to do one album a year for as long as I can for them, and do books. The song The Adventures of Barry and Taane will be made into a book.

11. What are the best and worst aspects of celebrity?

Best? The free shit. Worst used to be for me gossip pages. I hated people talking about me and my love life. Now I talk about it so it's just, whatev's. I never used to read reviews for my first two albums, now I enjoy reading them, for the way they pro and con my music. Generally speaking people think I'm a good songwriter and that's all I care about.

12. What lyric do you wish you had written?

Joni Mitchell's Blue.
Blue songs are like tattoos
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away