Next month marks the return of one of the UK’s most enduring and versatile singer-songwriters: Elvis Costello, whose new album with his band The Imposters, The Boy Named If, is out on 14 January. Alongside the release, he’ll answer Guardian readers’ questions, which you can post in the comments section below.
Initially rooted in the righteous anger of the punk scene and the populism of pub rock, Costello has been a fount of strident, melodious songwriting since his breakthrough in 1977. Oliver’s Army, Pump It Up and I Don’t Want to Go to Chelsea are defining moments in the new-wave era, while ballads such as Alison remain equally celebrated.
His impeccable and far-ranging taste meant that soul, jazz and country music were also folded into his sound as the 80s progressed, but his pen remained sharp: commerce, Margaret Thatcher and – on the peerlessly beautiful Shipbuilding – the cruelty of war were among his lyrical targets. He was also a producer on classic albums for bands such as Squeeze and the Specials, and other collaborators down the years have included Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach.
Opera, New Orleans R&B, a ballet score, orchestral works, piano jazz … Costello has stayed inquisitive and adventurous in the decades since, his creativity only briefly curtailed in 2018 by an “aggressive” prostate cancer which he managed to beat.
Now back into a groove of regular albums and tours, Costello, 67, is ready to answer your questions on his remarkably varied career. Post them in the comments section below by 3 January. We will publish his answers in the 7 January edition of the Film & Music print section, and also online.