Joan Armatrading

3 times Grammy Nominated , JOAN ARMATRADING has come a long way since her birth in the West Indies and her upbringing in Birmingham. With 20 stunning albums to her credit, Joan’s subtle and sublime music has touched millions of people all over the world.

Known as a true craftsman, her distinctive vocals and consummate musicianship – she has arranged as well as played every instrument, with the exception of drums on her forthcoming album – have led to unanimous, widespread and, perhaps most importantly, consistent critical acclaim. Effortlessly eclectic, her sound has ranged from true soul to sophisticated pop driven by her passionate guitar.

In musical terms Joan Armatrading has achieved far more than most performers even dream of – she has played, and still does, with some of the finest musicians around. She has received countless gold, platinum and silver discs, she has been nominated for the Brit Award she has been the recipient of a highly coveted Ivor Novello Award, and figured large in VH1’s Top 100 voted poll The Most Influential Woman In Rock…..

But more than that Joan has been honoured by the Queen and is one of the few female artists ever to receive an MBE. In addition, she has performed for Nelson Mandela, been given the key to Sydney, is Patron of various charities, has presented and continues to present BBC radio 4 and radio 2 series.

In 2009, Joan stood down as President, after 5 years, of the highly prestigious Women Of The Year Lunch. This organisation sees women from all walks of life honoured for their unique and often truly heroic contribution to modern day life, whether it be in Art, Science, politics, business or the humanitarian arena. This was a role she took extremely seriously and she is justly proud of her achievements in the organisation, during this period.

After five years of committed studying, Joan achieved a goal she had held since childhood, she gained her BA Honours studying history from the Open University – a feat very few other working artists would attempt, let alone while on tour (she took her final exam the day after the last gig of her 2000 dates).

Joan Armatrading’s dedication to her studies while consistently producing wonderful uplifting music says much about the woman, her vision and her commitment to excellence. Born in St Kitts in the West Indies on December 9th 1950 and moving to England when she was seven, she took her first musical steps on her mother’s piano. Although her father had a guitar it was strictly out of bounds so when Joan saw one for £3 in a pawn shop window she pestered her mother to barter two old prams they no longer used. She taught herself to play and began writing songs at the age of 14.

Leaving school when she was 16 she undertook various jobs, all the while writing songs, until signing to Cube Records in 1971. Her debut album, “Whatever’s For Us”, produced by the late great Gus Dudgeon and written with her friend Pam Nestor, was released the following year on Cube in the UK and A&M in the States. In 1974 Joan signed to A&M world-wide and the career that has followed has witnessed a plethora of classic and memorable songs – “Love and Affection”, “Down To Zero”, “Drop the Pilot”, “Me Myself I”….. Joan has worked with members of Little Feat, Fairport Convention, XTC, the Police and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Musicians such as Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones), Mark Brzezicki (Big Country) Tony Levin (King Crimson), Manu Katche (Sting), Benmont Tench, (Tom Petty), Mark Knopfler and stalwart Greg Phillingames have all joined her in the studio while her list of producers is impressive – Glyn Johns, Gus Dudgeon, Steve Lillywhite, David Tickle to name but a few. The first non-jazz artist to play at London’s Ronnie Scott’s in the main room, Joan has many distinctions to her credit. A long time Ambassador and performer for the Prince’s Trust, she lends her support to various charities across the world. In December 1998 she released a CD, “Lullabies With A Difference” in aid of PACES, a charity for children with Cerebral Palsy.

South Africa has always been close to Joan’s heart. A huge admirer of Nelson Mandela, not only has she performed live for him at his 70th birthday at Wembley Stadium but, in 1999, she was invited to write a special tribute song. Titled “The Messenger”, Joan performed it to the former President of South Africa when he made a private visit to the UK in 2000….he smiled and danced throughout. In 1996 Joan was awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection while a platinum CD was received for her part in the BBC’s “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed.

March 2003 saw the release of the Lovers Speak” album featuring 14 tracks in all arranged and produced by Joan. In addition, with the exception of drums and horns, she played every instrument herself. An exceptional CD that combined strong upbeat melodies, riffs that stuck in your head and passionate, stirring soulful ballads, it was the result of a long-held desire to make a truly solo album.

In 2007 Joan released “Into the Blues” an album that she had always wanted to write and record. The Album Debut at #1 In the The Billboard Blues Chart. Joan Armatrading was the first ever UK Female Artist, to do this. The CD remained at #1 for 12 consecutive Weeks. She was nominated for a Grammy in this category. Again Joan Armatrading was the first ever UK Female Artist to do this. In 2007-2008 Joan toured the world with the success of “Into the Blues” which culminated in the release “Delux Into The Blues DVD” which showed Joan at her best – live on stage, performing material that spanned her illustrious career.

This “creative force” spent 2009 writing and recording new material. You would think that this would be enough. It seems not!! Being such an accomplished guitarist, Joan decided to do a series of 5 interviews, for the BBC, with other guitarists to discuss their different styles and influences.
The sainted quintet of guitarists were an eclectic throng. Mark Knopfler, originally of Dire Straits, is an obvious rocker, John Williams, the classical axeman best known for the tremulous “Cavatina” on the soundtrack to The Deer Hunter, Bonnie Raitt, the flame-haired country singer of “Love Has no Pride”, Bert Jansch, the rumpled veteran folkie of Pentangle, the late-1960s band and  Russell Lissack, the twenty something, floppy-fringed Essex vegetarian from Bloc Party. Again this series has had hugely positive reviews.

In 2010 she released another fine work which headed straight to number 1 in the Amazon overall download chart. THIS CHARMING LIFE is a collection of eleven new compositions that saw Joan return to a more rock/pop format, both commercial yet also contemporary. From the anthemic opener and title track This Charming Life that, has hit single written all over it, to the hard rocking Heading Back To New York City and the “hands in the air” Best Dress On, Joan is back with an album that appeals to fans old and new. A consummate performer, Joan Armatrading is indeed the whole package, an excellent song writer, a powerful vocalist and as a guitarist, she is certainly one of the best  players of today.

In 2012 Joan released her 20th CD a jazz flavoured album called Starlight. The album was followed by a world tour at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013.

In addition to her earned degree, Joan has also received numerous Honourary awards. She was given an Honourary DLitt degree by the John Moores University of Liverpool (2000), a Doctorate in Music from the University of Birmingham (12th December 2002), been made an Honourary Fellow of Northampton University (14th November 2003), received an Honourary degree from Aston University in 2006, and on the 25th of June 2008 Joan received an Honourary Degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In 2013, Joan was again presented with two more Honourary degrees; receiving a Doctorate of Doctor of Music from her Alma matar, the Open University in London, in April 2013 and an Honourary Degree (DLitt) from University of West Indies for her contribution to Caribbean development in October.

Recent News

20
Mar
2014

2015 Can’t Come Soon Enough

Current planning is in the mix for Joan’s 2014 and 2015 acoustic world tour. The schedule so far is for a slew of dates in UK for 2014 and early ’15, before coming across to us in late March of next year. Requests and offers being accepted! Visit her website for more […]

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15
Oct
2012

Joan Armatrading to Tour Winter 2013

Joan Armatrading will be adding north america and australia to her current tour world tour, currently slated for february and march, 2013. Details of the tour (including dates and venues) and upcoming album release are scheduled to be announced shortly. In 1973, Joan was named the outstanding New Artist of […]

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10
Jun
2010

LATEST ARMATRADING ALBUM ‘OFF TO THE RACES’

‘This Charming Life’ is now on the streets and at radio. Initial results at AC Radio are more than positive: #1 MOST ADDED SINGLE Album Debuts on chart at 74* 170 Spins 19 Adds Additional promotion will include initiating a brand new Search Engine Optimization campaign for google face book, myspace […]

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30
Mar
2010

JOAN ARMATRADING’S NEW ALBUM DEBUTS AT #1 ON AMAZON MP3 CHART

Joan Armatrading’s new album “This Charming Life” debuted at #1 on the Amazon MP3 charts during a special pre-release sale this Monday and remains at #2 for today’s official release!  Joan will kick off her European tour in support of “This Charming Life” on May 25th in Belgium followed by […]

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11
Nov
2009

Joan Armatrading to release new album!

As a follow up to her highly acclaimed and Grammy nominated album “Into The Blues”, Joan Armatrading is slated to release her forthcoming album, “This Charming Life”, in 2010! (Europe – March 2010, the U.S. – June 2010, South Africa – August 2010, and Australia – September 2010) Lookout for […]

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10
Dec
2007

A GRAMMY “NOD” FOR JOAN ARMATRADING

‘Into the Blues’, the latest album by acclaimed singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading, has been nominated for the Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. The awards ceremony airs February 10, 2008 on CBS.

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15
Oct
2007

JOAN ARMATRADING GETS EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA ‘INTO THE BLUES’

Folllowing the success of her new release, “Into The Blues”, which debuted at #1 on both the Billboard and iTunes Blues Charts, Joan Armatrading embarks this Fall on a whirlwind tour through Europe, after which she will join Bryan Ferry for a co-headline tour through Australia and New Zealand. The […]

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