Actor Hugh Laurie has defended his decision to sing the blues despite leading a charmed life, insisting he shouldn't have to be poor to be a musician.

The 'House' star is set to release blues album 'Let Them Talk' next month (May11) and critics have been quick to question whether a wealthy Englishman can tackle the genre, which originated in impoverished African-American communities in the Deep South.

But Laurie is adamant artists shouldn't have to "starve" to record music they love.

"I would probably think the same myself if I were looking in from the outside," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "But at the same time, I just think, really? Is that the way we just operate on this grid system? That we're only allowed to do this if we're that? How poor do I have to be in order to be a musician?"

"This demand that artists starve in garrets, artists in any form. I suppose there's a reason behind that, there's a suspicion that your intent is not serious - I understand that. But this is as serious as I get. There's nothing I've done that is more serious than this".