Father-of-two Sir Elton John says he “never expected to find fatherhood so joyous”.
The singer-songwriter and his husband David Furnish have sons Zachary, five, and Elijah, three, who were born to a surrogate mother.
Sir Elton said: “I have never been happier. I’m 69 in March and I feel very young inside.
“The body lets you down sometimes. But I think what keeps you young is the willingness to keep learning, the willingness to listen.
“I never, ever expected to find fatherhood so joyous. I expected to enjoy it, but not to be so joyous.
“There hasn’t been one nano-second where I haven’t enjoyed it, except when my children are maybe sick and I worry about them. It’s given me an uplifting tail end to my life.”
Fatherhood has also influenced the sound of his new album, Wonderful Crazy Night.
Sir Elton explained: “I have a family now. I have two children, so I want to make a joyous record.
“My children and my husband are the most joyous things in my life.
“I couldn’t make another record like The Diving Board at this particular moment because I’m so happy with my family.”
The musician created the album with long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin, as well as bringing on board the Elton John Band and rapper T-Bone.
He also revealed himself as a fan of Britpop band Blur, explaining: “My favourite record of the year so far is the Blur record, The Magic Whip, which I think is a masterpiece.”
Sir Elton will be looking forward to Kanye West’s new album, lately renamed Waves – its third iteration after So Help Me God and Swish.
Kanye previously announced it would be the “album of the life”, although he has now tweeted “this new album is ONE of the greatest albums not the greatest”.
Sir Elton said: “Having worked with Kanye West in the studio and Eminem, you can’t dismiss people and if you don’t understand rap music, you can’t say it’s rubbish. You have to see these people at work.
“It’s a different form of music that I wouldn’t know how to do, but it’s incredibly uplifting when you see them do it.
“So it gives me a chance to express my views and say, ‘Hey, Kanye West is not rubbish. He’s actually brilliant.’
“When he’s on form there’s no-one better.”
He added: “We need all sorts of voices out there. We don’t need ‘pap’ all the time – I call it ‘pap’ music instead of pop music – because it’s all auto tuned, it’s all the same writers.
“It takes eight people to write one song? Please, give me a break, and then the song isn’t very good.
“But there are jewels, underneath that excrement, there is a goldmine and it’s the goldmine that I’m interested in.”
Sir Elton John’s new album Wonderful Crazy Night will be released on February 5.