Joan Armatrading is one of my favorite artists
and her song, Willow, is still one of my all-time
Joan Armatrading's music is effortlessly eclectic
with sounds ranging from folk to sophisticated pop, an apt mix
for a performer born under the palms of the West Indies and
raised beneath the smokestacks of Birmingham, England. By the
early '70s, Joan moved to London and released her debut
Whatever's for Us. The career that followed has seen the birth
of classics - Love and Affection, Down to Zero, Drop the Pilot,
Me Myself and I and The Weakness in Me-two Grammy nominations,
18 gold records and 10 platinum records in seven countries by
1980, plus consistent, enviable critical acclaim. Her latest
album What's Inside has hailed many praises from USA Today
stating "Her rich-timbered vocals and muscular guitar playing
are the strength of this album" to the New York Times calling it
"the more reflective tone of her best 1970s work. The first
single of the album has made its way to the top of the triple A
charts. The influence of Armatrading's work over the past 23
years continues to be felt. Melissa Etheridge chose
Armatrading's Love and Affection for the finale of the first VH1
Duets, performing it with Joan Osborne, Jewel and Paula Cole.
Etheridge has also covered "The Weakness in Me" which
Armatrading claims "is one of the best versions that I've heard
of somebody doing one of my tunes."
Born December 9 1950, Basseterre, St. Kitts,
West Indies. Joan Armatrading was the first black female
singer-songwriter based in Britain to compete on equal terms
with white singers. While Madeleine Bell and P.P. Arnold
predated Armatrading's success, the latter has remained
consistent for 20 years.
The Armatrading family moved to Birmingham,
England, in 1958, and Joan taught herself to play piano and
guitar, before meeting Pam Nestor, also a West Indian immigrant
(b. Berbice, Guyana, 28 April 1948). Both were working in a
touring cast of the celebrated hippie musical, Hair.
Armatrading and Nestor wrote songs together,
but Armatrading was given the major role on Whatever's For Us,
her 1972 debut album produced by Gus Dudgeon. Released in the UK
on Cube Records, the album was a greater critical than
commercial success, and was licensed for North America by A&M
Records. Armatrading and Nestor dissolved their partnership
after the album; Nestor made an excellent one-off single for
Chrysalis in the late 70s, but seems not to have recorded since.
By 1975, Armatrading was signed to A&M
worldwide, working with producer Pete Gage (husband of Elkie
Brooks). The album that resulted, Back To The Night, featured
instrumentalists such as Andy Summers (later of the Police) and
keyboard player Jean Roussal, but again failed to trouble the
The album that first thrust Armatrading into
the limelight was Joan Armatrading, released in 1976. The first
of four consecutive albums produced by Glyn Johns, it made the
UK Top 20 and includes her only Top 10 hit single (and her
best-known song), 'Love And Affection'.
The following year's Show Some Emotion became
the first album to reach the UK Top 10, and 1978's To The Limit
made the UK Top 20, although neither album included a hit
single. In 1979, her partnership with Johns ended with Steppin'
Out, a live album recorded in the USA, which failed to chart on
either side of the Atlantic.
Me Myself I, released in 1980, became
Armatrading's first album to reach the US Top 40 and returned
her to the UK Top 10. It included two minor UK hit singles in
the title track and 'All The Way From America'. Walk Under
Ladders, Armatrading's 1981 album, was produced by Steve
Lillywhite, and among the musicians who contributed to it were
the celebrated Jamaican rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie
Shakespeare, plus Andy Partridge of XTC and Thomas Dolby.
1983's The Key, which included 'Drop The
Pilot' (her second-biggest UK hit single, almost reaching the
Top 10), largely restored Armatrading to international
commercial prominence, peaking just outside the US Top 30 and
reaching the UK Top 10. By this point in her career, Armatrading
had a solid core of fans who would buy every album, but were too
few in number to provide first-division status.
Secret Secrets was produced by Mike Howlett,
with guest musicians including Joe Jackson. While the album once
again made the UK Top 20, it was not a major US success, despite
a sleeve shot taken by celebrated New York photographer Robert
Sleight Of Hand was Armatrading's first
self-produced album, recorded in her own quaintly named Bumpkin
studio and remixed by Lillywhite. This was her least
commercially successful album since her debut, stalling outside
the UK Top 30 and considerably lower in the USA, even despite
the fact that this time the sleeve photographer was Lord Snowdon.
The Shouting Stage (1988) was her most
impressive album in some time but failed to reach the height
achieved by many of its predecessors, despite featuring Mark
Knopfler of Dire Straits and Mark Brzezicki of Big Country as
Hearts And Flowers again demonstrated that
although the quality of Armatrading's output was seldom less
than exemplary, it rarely achieved its commercial desserts.
Armatrading seems to have reached a plateau in
her career that is slightly below the top echelon in commercial
terms, but will enable her to continue recording with reasonable
success (especially in critical terms) for as long as she
desires. She has also contributed her services to a number of
charitable concerts, such as the Prince's Trust, the 1988 Nelson
Mandela Concert and Amnesty International.
She is to be applauded for remaining
unpretentious, and is also in the enviable position of being ble
to choose her own touring and recording timetable. In 1994 she
signed to RCA Records after many years with A&M, and released
Where was Joan born?
St Kitts in the West Indies. Joan
arrived in the UK when she was 7 years old, and has lived in
England ever since.
When Did she make her first album?
When she was 21
Have any of Joans songs been on any
Joan did the title
track for the film 'Flight of the Wild Geese' starring
Richard Burton and Roger Moore.You can also hear the song
Willow in the Whoope Goldbergs film 'Boys on the Side', And
Love and Affection in the film "Soul Man"
Does Joan ever read her fan mail?
Yes. She does not
answer them all personally, but she tries to make sure they
all recieve a reply.
Does Joan write all her songs?
How many guitars does Joan have, and
what is her most recent buy?
Joan owns quite a few guitars. She
takes 7 of them on the road with her. Two Gibson electric, I
strat, I Gibson accoustic, two Ovations, 1 12 string 1 six
string. Her most recent buy is a Tom Anderson guitar which
is like a Fender strat, she has this on the road with her as
Who is Joan's Fave
Will Joan be making a swing through
the South of the USA?
There are plans for
Joan to come back to America next year and hopefully she
will get to the south.
Is Armatrading Joan's real name?
Armatrading is Joan's real name
Has Joan ever done a duet with
No Joan has never
done a duet with anyone.
Does Joan support any charities?
Joan supports a number of charities,
she has played concerts for Amnesty International and The
Princes Trust. She supports many different charaties, not
just those foremost in the public eye.
What is the song "Everyday Boy
"Everyday Boy" is mainly about courage, that is it's
underlying message. It was inspired by someone Joan knew who
What does the cover of Joan's first
on the cover represent the different characters from each
What is Joan doing in 1996?
Joan is currently taking a short break
before resuming her extensive world tour. She has been on
the road since April 1995. She will be touring in America
for a second time during June and July (dates to be
confirmed). And in August she plans to begin writing new
The Unofficial Joan Armatrading Website:
Photos, Dates, Biography, Links and More.
Search For Tour Dates.
72 New Bond Street
Please direct all Press enquiries for Joan
to this email address:
Email Address :
Telephone Number : +44 (0)171 514 5823
Fax Number : +44 (0)171 499 3417
Entourage Talent Associates Ltd.
(212) 633-2600 (New York)