Joan Armatrading looks back on 50 years in the music industry

Joan Armatrading

It’s all part of her celebrations as she turns 50 in the music industry, celebrations that include a live album (Live at Asylum Chapel) from a one-night-only livestream last year as well than a book of his words.

Joan arrived in the UK, flying to Birmingham from St Kitts aged seven to join her parents, taking the bus home. Her debut album was released in 1972. Since then, a three-time Grammy nominee, she has carved out a unique path for herself – the first British singer/songwriter to achieve international success, the first British artist to debut at number one Billboard’s Blues charts. and the first British female artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the blues category.

She has an Ivor Novello Academy Fellowship Award, a Lifetime Achievement from the Radio 2 Folk Awards and the British Folk Festival… and some 50 years have passed.

“I think first of all I just think how lucky I am that people are still interested and still want to see me and want to talk to me and hear my music. If I was still doing gigs, I know that people would always want to come and people ask me to. I stopped doing shows after the last tour in 2018. I just felt it was right to take a step back and slow down in that regard. I don’t ‘ll never stop writing as long as I live, but I’m not touring right now. I don’t want to. After that tour in 2018, I thought I’ve been touring since 1972 and that was enough, but I’ll never say never. Who knows what I might want to be doing in five or maybe ten years, but right now it feels like the right decision. I loved doing what I did but I didn’t want to get to the point where I didn’t know why I was doing it. In some ways, those 50 years aren’t See you at top speed and you just think no, it doesn’t seem like it, but at the same time, it does in many ways. My first album dates from 1972. I started writing when I was 14 years old. I had no beaver sense. I’ve always been very prolific. I’m very lucky and the last album was my 22nd. The first album was 72 years old and the second 75, but that was only because I had decided to leave the record company. And then I had albums in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981 and so on. I’ve always been able to write lyrics and a melody. It’s just something that comes to me. »

Looking back: “I think the biggest change was the technology and the relationship between the musician and the record company. In terms of what I do, how I write, I don’t think I’ve really changed much. I’m still writing and I start with piano or guitar and just write the song, and actually I think what I’m writing hasn’t changed much either. I always write about relationships and how people interact with each other.

The lyric book is a special treat “I think there are about 100 lyrics in it, maybe more. Faber & Faber approached me and asked if I would like to do this and I just thought it was a great idea. I don’t know if they knew about the anniversary.

But it’s great to see how independent the lyrics are: “I think I’ve always wanted to write lyrics that you can take from the melody and still have an idea. Obviously you want to write to the beat, but obviously you want the lyrics to mean something too. It is a very beautiful book. It has a really nice cover and I gave them some notes on some of the songs they used as well.

The live album Live at Asylum Chapel is out November 18 on BMG. The lyrics book The Weakness In Me: Selected Lyrics was released on November 3.


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