My father is a violinist. As a child growing up in Baghdad, he was really obsessed with these Jewish musicians who played in teahouses where poets and prostitutes hung out. It was just unheard of for a boy from a strictly Islamic family to enjoy this music and want to play the violin. Luckily, he eventually won a scholarship to study in Budapest, which is where he met my mum. Although he was familiar with the Western greats, it was really my mother whose deep love for classical music introduced me to that world. I was about five when she bought a huge box set of records off the TV with all the big rock stars in it – Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Chopin and Schubert.

While I grew up listening to classical music, I was also very much a child of the 80s. My mum fell in love with Michael Jackson not long after moving to Australia, and his music was everywhere when I was growing up – Off the Walland Thriller.

Not long after that U2 started to eclipse for me everything that Michael Jackson was doing. And because U2 covered a few of his songs, I started to...

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