Growing up in the London projects, Elton says he never could have dreamed of such success. "Music was something I grew up with and I loved passionately and I always wanted to be involved in," he says. "I never really imagined being a singer. I was an organ player in a band, and I got fed up while doing that."
Elton says he then auditioned at a record company, which was also looking for songwriters. "I said I couldn't write lyrics and they said, 'Well, there's some lyrics from a guy from Lincolnshire,' who turned out to be [Elton's longtime collaborator] Bernie Taupin," he says. "I started writing songs for other people and nobody recorded them, and so in the end I recorded them myself and became a recording artist, which wasn't on my radar. Everything that happened after that was the biggest surprise."