APPEARANCES can be deceptive. Witness this picture, where Tracey Thorn is holding a microphone, as she did so many times when performing with Everything But The Girl, but Tracey hasn't sung in a concert hall for 15 years.

There's been a recording for Jools Holland's Later on BBC2 – though not a live one –and a karaoke pub cameo, under the influence, but not even hypnotherapy has cured the stage "yips" for Tracey, now 52.

Out of shot from this photo, Tracey is in fact sitting down, in early-evening conversation in a Harrogate hotel with broadcaster and journalist Tracey MacLeod at last weekend's Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.

Tracey asks the other Tracey exactly the right question she should be pitching first up at the singer-turned-author. How come she is happy to be in the company of an audience, so at ease too? It is different, explains Tracey the author; singing requires emotion; this festival face-to-face is just a conversation. So, no Thorny issue there, then, for Tracey the singer.

The Traceys are here to discuss Naked At The Royal Hall, Thorn's sequel to her autobiography, Bedsit Disco Queen. This time, with the same wit, insight and astute analysis but no resolution to her own dilemma, she is essaying a study of the art of singing, both her own and that of others. Not least her favourite, Dusty Springfield, who suffered from stultifying self-doubt in the studio and never loved her own voice, a revelation that saddens Tracey.

Ultimately, Tracey Thorn admires authenticity in singing, she says, and yet she loves the manufactured The X Factor, sings in a faux American accent and sounded like a sensuous mature diva even when she was a teenage London girl from next door. So, where lies the Naked truth with Tracey, so assured in type, Twitter and discussion, and yet the stuff of contradiction in song.

Has she resigned herself to never performing in concert again, I asked as she signed books. No, she hasn't, but don't put a date on it.