Anastasia Walker was sitting in her pyjamas, eating Coco Pops and watching Jeremy Kyle, when she got a phone call that changed her life.
“Pink’s really interested in bringing you out on tour,” her manager said. Not just for one date or two, but every night of her European stadium tour.
“It’s totally mind-blowing,” says the singer, who’s fronted the in-your-face pop trio Bang Bang Romeo since 2010.
“You work your whole career to get to this point, to play these stages – and now we’ve done it.”
When the BBC catches up with Anastasia [Stars to her friends] she’s back in that same living room, wearing the same pyjamas, enjoying a three-day break from Europe’s enormodromes.
“It feels weird not to be on a tour bus,” she laughs. “I’m walking around the house, wobbling and holding the walls because I’m so used to the motion of the road!”
Beer mat beginnings
It’s not difficult to see why Pink chose Bang Bang Romeo as her opening act. Their defiant spirit and messages of tolerance chime perfectly with the star’s own nonconformist brand – while Anastasia is one of those rare performers whose powerhouse vocals are a perfect match for her exuberant stage presence.
She’s been performing since the age of seven, when she grabbed the mic at her local pub’s karaoke night.
“I sang Dancing Queen, and someone picked me up and put me on a table so people could see me,” she recalls.
“I’d never sung in front of anyone before, but the place erupted. I was signing beer mats afterwards!”
“After that, it was like, ‘Alright I can sing, I need to learn guitar’. And I did my first ever gig on my own when I was 14 in the Vintage Rockbar in Doncaster.”
But at the same time as she was building a name on the local music scene, Anastasia was struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.
“I was a young teenage girl in what was essentially a mining village,” she says. “I’d never met a gay person in my life and no-one at my school was openly gay.
“So coming to terms with my sexuality was really tough. I was that scared of coming out, or accepting it, that I turned to self-harm.”
It was the support and understanding of her family that helped her face down her fears.
“I was very lucky when I came out to my dad and my grandparents, because the general vibe was, ‘Yeah, so? What do you want for tea?’
“It was so blase, it was brilliant. What a beautiful thing, that I was able to be brought up like that by my family.
“And I think I asked for fish fingers.”