Six months ago, Amy Macdonald was driving home from Perth in tears. Her performance that day at BBC's Biggest Weekend was being discussed on the radio. Given a slot of just 40 minutes, the Glasgow singer had thought hard about what songs to play. She had chosen well.

"Ken Bruce and Sarah Cox had gone into the crowd and people were saying: 'We were blown away by Amy'," Macdonald says. "So many people were saying such amazing things about our gig. I was so moved by how nice everyone was being that I had started crying.

"Just then, my manager texted me, saying: 'Hearing this on the radio feels like one of those really special moments'. It did. That's exactly how I had felt on stage; it felt like one of those amazing occasions you don't forget."

The experience sparked the idea for her forthcoming collection Woman Of The World, selected highlights from Macdonald's career spanning back to 2007, when the then 19-year-old released her debut album This Is The Life.

Direct and peppy, her folk-flavoured pop songs were given heft by some acidic lyrics and rich, resonant vocals that made you turn up the radio a notch. There was lived-in grit there, a teenage contralto with the confidence that comes with having something worth sharing.

Six months after its release, This Is The Life climbed to No1 in the UK albums charts, helped along by hit singles Poison Prince, Mr Rock & Roll and the album's worldly-wise title track, a No1 single in six countries and a top 10 hit in a further 11.

Macdonald would go on to release three more albums over the coming decade, her most recent being Under Stars, released last year. Selections from all four feature on Woman Of The World, a best of inspired more by the enthusiastic Perth crowd than chart figures.

"To me the term 'best of' is quite embarrassing," Macdonald says. "I think of Madonna and Bruce Springsteen and all these amazing artists. I don't really see myself in that kind of gang, unfortunately. I'm someone that maybe people who don't know a lot about me actually know

more of my songs than they think they do. Seeing that massive response at Perth, the reactions of so many people, made me feel a collection album was a great idea."

As well as looking back, Woman Of The World hints at the future with new material. There's the piano-driven Come Home, a steadfast heart-warmer where she pledges to be "waitin' for you to come home" and the title track, a stirring statement about female autonomy and resilience.

The former song is not necessarily about Richard Foster, the former Rangers and Aberdeen footballer Macdonald married in June. Currently playing for St Johnstone, the 33-year-old is with Macdonald when we talk at King Tut's in Glasgow.

He cuts a figure not unlike his wife; tall, elegant and softly-spoken. For a couple used to attention, they are unshowy and unassuming. Drama, you sense, is not where they're at.

Back in 2008, when Macdonald got engaged to Partick Thistle striker Stevie Lovell, you can bet she saw the irony in having put out a track called Footballer's Wife, a barb against pneumatic WAGS and celebrity culture emptiness.

Ten years on, she is another footballer's wife, but you really can't see her trading songwriting for professional pouting on reality shows anytime soon. The suggestion is a touch ridiculous; even as a Bishopbriggs teenager shunted into the spotlight, she had the self-posession to keep the head and not be a pushover in an industry not necessarily known for its ethical treatment of young women.

Despite its themes of strength and sisterhood, Woman Of The World was not intended as an explicit nod to the resurgent women's rights movement, says Macdonald. Instead, both new tracks were written around three years ago for British Disney film Patrick, a comedy about an unruly pug and his exasperated owner, played by Beattie Edmonson.

"Woman Of The World was meant for her character," says Macdonald. "I got told she was a strong, independent female, doing it on her own. I didn't really need to think about it or see anything as I wrote it from my own personal experience. Since I was 18 I was in the record industry doing my own thing, and I had to be that strong person."

She continues: "I think some people hear it, or read the title, and think I must have written it because of everything that's been happening in the world. But it's one of those strange coincidences. I'd never jump on a bandwagon; sometimes people do that and it's not what I wanted to do."

Macdonald says, though, that she welcomes how conversations about gender and power have changed in recent months. "Things that were maybe acceptable in the past, people are now saying: 'You know what? This shouldn't be acceptable,'" she says. "I think we all know it happens, and while I'm very quick to say that nothing like that has happened to me, that's until you really think about it. You think: 'Well, there have been people who have maybe had their hand in inappropriate places and things like that', but as a female, that's just always been normal. The great thing now is that are people are saying that this isn't normal or it shouldn't be normal."

"What's been really empowering is people realising that things they had to deal with in the past, just brush off, now they don't actually have to deal with them, or shouldn't."

Compiling the new album inevitably involved taking stock of the last decade or so. Now 31, Macdonald says she has few regrets about spending most of her 20s in a whirlwind of writing, recording, promotion and touring, although she could have done without the stress.

"The pressure was immense," she says. "I don't think I appreciated at the time how much I hid it. I was a teenager with all these songs and I was just suddenly thrust out there. My first album was an incredible success, and that just gives even more pressure."

As the success of This Is The Life dominoed around Europe, so did the touring and promo commitments. They were to stretch out for two and a half years. "You'd come to an end of a promo trail and then you'd get an email saying the record had been playlisted highly in Italy or Switzerland, so we had to go there. There was no time that I had to myself, ever. And then, halfway through 2009, the record company were like: 'Right, we need another album'.

2010's A Curious Thing saw her having to "push with everything I had", reworking some older songs and somehow finding the time to write others from scratch.

"I don't think the label appreciated it, because there weren't a lot of people like me, a lot of singers who were doing everything on their own," Macdonald says. "These days, most people have a team of about eight or nine writers. It's all smoke and mirrors, that side of it."

She continues: "The album came out and thankfully it did well, so that meant I was still kind of going. And then the third album came out, and it did a bit better than the second one. Every time, you felt like you had a stay of execution because you've done okay, you're still going."

The five years between Under Stars and 2012's Life In A Beautiful Light was Macdonald's longest span between albums. It shows: though rarely diverging from her characteristic sound, her songwriting is her most consistent.

Under Stars was written during a key shift in the record industry when streaming revenues were beginning to make their way back to labels and artists. People may not be buying physical albums like they used to, but they're still listening to them online. And whereas an album sale was a one-off payment, streams make money with every listen.

The outlook is positive for artists, Macdonald says. "With Under Stars, it felt for once that the label were chilled about things," she says. "And that's because the landscape has changed massively due to streaming. I think record labels are making incredible amounts from streaming now whereas before, the industry was at a real crossroads. No-one knew what was going to happen so they were desperate for things to go well, no matter what. Now it's not so cut-throat, it's not that they have to sell every last album."

"In a way that's great for artists as it means you have more creative freedom. As an artist, you don't have someone breathing down your neck saying: 'You must do this, you must do that'. There doesn't seem to be the culture that was prevalent in music before where if you didn't have an instant success, you were binned. It seems there's a lot more opportunities now, more support for artists, more of a platform to build as you go along."

Her 20s have taught her the value of downtime, something she is firmer about these days. She'll take her next break in spring, following an extensive acoustic tour across Europe. As we talk, a camera crew from the Netherlands prepares for an interview with Macdonald. "I have a lot of fans in places like Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and I spend a lot of time there," she says, motioning over to the area where they are setting up. That recess in King Tut's, usually home to a couple of pool tables, is where she remembers preparing for her first gig at the venue in 2006.

Her publicist Gordon Duncan had secured her the gig, put on primarily as a chance for journalists and bloggers to hear the young musician live. Ainslie Currie was on hand too, Macdonald's make-up artist since that night. Duncan and Currie are here today. Manager Chris Kiely, who helped put

together Woman Of The World, has also been with Macdonald throughout, first as guitar tech, then as tour manager.

"A few years ago, he became my actual manager," she says, laughing. "I joke with my band that it's a good job with me, that you can climb the ladder. Back then, I was so young, I was 18. I was so out of my comfort zone. I was like: 'Who is this woman putting make-up on my face? Who is this guy who is telling me I'm going to talk to press?'"

Duncan speaks up from a table nearby. "I remember that night the Evening Times interviewed you outside and they wanted a picture of you with your guitar over your back," he says. "And you were just like: 'But I just wouldn't do that.' I remember thinking: 'Fair enough'."

"I'd be exactly the same now," says Macdonald. Rather than affect rock star poses, Macdonald prefers walking the dogs and the simple pleasures of being out with friends, she says. That her name is now etched into the stairs at King Tut's was spotted by a pal one night.

"I had gone to the bathroom and she said: 'Come here, you have to see this'. I didn't know. You've got Oasis and Franz Ferdinand; all these iconic bands that have played here, and there was my name just kind of tucked in there as well. We had a right good party that night because of that."

Macdonald returns to Tuts on November 30 to play an intimate fundraiser for Nordoff Robbins, and the music therapy charity will also benefit from money raised the following night at the SSE Scottish Music Awards at the SEC.

A week after she performs at the awards ceremony, Macdonald will take part in Social Bite's Sleep Out. Twelve thousand people are expected to take part in the December 8 event, which will see Macdonald and KT Tunstall each playing sets in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Macdonald played the first Sleep Out last year, helping to raise £4 million towards tackling homelessness.

"People say: “Couldn't the government just do this or that thing to solve the problem," she says. "Well, yes, they could do this or that thing, but to do that, we have to pay more tax. And since no-one wants to do that, we have to do other things. That's why Social Bite resonates with people,they are bold and get results."

Woman Of The World: The Best Of 2007 is released on November 23