Joan jazzes up her life with new twistsCity musician Theo's big chance
Joan Armatrading is always looking for a new challenge, whether that's running her first marathon at the age of 57 or simply playing a new venue.
It's that restlessness which ensures the three times Grammy-nominated star is always looking forward not back.
So having now passed her 60th birthday Joan, whose hits include Love and Affection, Willow, Drop The Pilot and Me, Myself I, has made her first jazz album.
Starlight is still distinctly Joan Armatrading but has a jazz flavour to follow her two previous albums, the blues influenced Into The Blues (2007) and This Charming Life (2010) which was firmly rooted in the rock/pop genre.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Starlight is a collection of ten new compositions that sees Joan mix her love of jazz with what we expect from her as a singer, guitarist and songwriter.
She says: "In 2003, I decided to do a trilogy – blues, rock and jazz.
"People have been a bit surprised but, in a way, I'm surprised at their surprise. I have always written songs that have had a jazz flavour. All I have done is stick to that one aspect of my work, that one genre. I hope that after a couple of listens, people will get into it.
"When I did the blues album, at first I found it quite hard to sit down and just think of songs in that style but once I got going the tracks came quite quickly.
"The jazz songs were harder. It's a very complicated way of writing. You have to follow some conventions to make it what it's supposed to be, more so than in other genres.
"And remember that I'm the one playing all the instruments. So, when I'm playing the bass, I have to remember that it's got be a jazz sounding bass. It's a big challenge but nice to see just what I can do."
Joan, who can be seen at De Montfort Hall on her autumn tour, has won a clutch of awards, but is just as proud of gaining her BA Honours after five years of studying via the Open University – taking her final exam the day after the last gig of her 2000 tour.
For Joan, it was more satisfying than even her MBE.
"The degree was the award I really wanted," she says. "I worked for five long years, studying very hard and taking hard exams. Somebody told me they had tried many times to do an Open University degree course and couldn't manage it.
"They said 'how do you do it?' I said, 'you start the course and then make sure you finish it'.
"It has given me the most satisfaction. Not even as much ... the most."
Joan was born in St Kitts but moved to Birmingham as a child, teaching herself to play the guitar and write songs in her teens.
"It might have been in my genes," she says. "My father was in a band in the West Indies. He had a guitar that he hid from me and that's what got me interested because I wasn't allowed to touch the one he had.
"I saw a guitar in a pawn shop that cost £3 but my mum said we hadn't got the money but we had two old prams and if they would do a swap I could have it. I got the guitar and still have it."
Joan's first job was at an engineering works but her love of music cost her that employment. "The boss of my boss had a daughter and asked me to teach her guitar and I think my boss wasn't too happy for some reason, so I got the sack."
Thankfully, a music career beckoned and Joan released her debut album in 1972, signed for major label A&M in 1974 and started chalking up hits.
Since then, she has never stopped writing, recording and touring.
She counts performing twice for Nelson Mandela among her proudest moments and, in 2008 and just one month from her 58th birthday, ran her first marathon. She completed the New York race and helped to raise £76,000 for charity.
"I wanted to do one marathon. It was an ambition of mine," says Joan. "I enjoyed the training but touring isn't conducive to keep that up so I haven't carried on."