Speaking from her home in Midlands, Jer Bulsara reminisced about her son’s lifelong love of music, his desire to be an English teen and the family’s move from Zanzibar (where Mercury was born Farrukh Bulsara in 1946).

“He used to love playing records all the time and then sing – any sort of music, folk, classical or Indian music,” Bulsara told BBC Asian Network’s Dil Neiyyar.

Even though he was initially unhappy when he was sent to boarding school in his parent’s hometown of Mumbai, Mercury’s talent for live performance soon manifested itself.

“Any sort of music in the school he used to play and sometimes he used to play at the weekends because it was [near] a holiday resort,” Bulsara explained.

“So foreigners used to come to the hotel and he was asked to play piano for them, and all just for a free dinner. He used to do that. He used to love it and it was great.”

Although he had already formed a band, The Hectics, at boarding school, his parents pushed their then 16-year-old son to pursue a career other than music when they relocated to Britain, something Freddie had dreamed of for a long time.

“He really wanted to come to England,” Mercury’s mother said. “Being a teenager, he was aware about these things in Western countries and it attracted him.

“He knew we wanted him to be a lawyer or an accountant or something like that, because most of his cousins were. But he’d say, ‘I’m not that clever Mum. I’m not that clever.’”

Bulsara revealed to BBC that the world came close to losing some classic Queen tunes because of Mercury’s rather unusual hiding place for them after they were written.

“He used to write some of the songs down and tuck them under the pillow before going to college. I used to tell him, ‘Don’t you put rubbish underneath or I’ll throw it away!’ He used to say, ‘Don’t throw it away Mum, it’s very important.’”

When the singer’s rehearsing at home began to elicit complaints from his parent’s neighbors, he decided it was time to strike out on his own and he found an apartment in the central London neighborhood of Kensington. His mother said there was one thing, however, that her soon-famous son couldn’t find in his new life.

“He used to phone me because he used to love home cooking. He’d say, ‘Mum, I’m coming home’ and he’s come home in his Rolls Royce and the neighbors were all excited about it.

“But nobody bothered him, they were all very good and used to respect us and him.”

And when Mercury returned to his life of fame and high style in Kensington, he didn’t go empty handed.

“When he used to go to studio for his music, he loved the cheese biscuits that I used to bake,” Bulsara explained.

The singer’s Mum told Neiyyar that she couldn’t be prouder of him and is thrilled that the people of his old neighborhood have chosen to honor him – although she apparently couldn’t resist throwing in a little guilt for good measure.

“I thought that they’d have done it earlier, a lot earlier. A long time earlier. But anyway, I’m very proud.”

Listen to Dil Neiyyar’s complete interview with Freddie Mercury’s mother Jer Bulsara on BBC iPlayer.