Five Minutes with...Joan Armatrading
With more than four decades in the industry, and with a back catalogue that includes some of the most memorable songs of the post-war era, including Love and Affection, Willow and Me Myself I , to call Joan Armatrading a legend would be underplaying her status. Ahead of her visit to Sage Gateshead in September, she talked to us about her new album, Not Too Far Away, the art of song-writing and her relationship with fans.
Q: How do you prepare for the tour?
A: The tour will be solo so I have to work out what songs can I do an arrangement for that will really work. This tour will be acoustic, but I’ll play piano as well. So it’s a question of thinking what songs are really going to work as acoustic?
Q: We know you don’t begrudge playing the hits, because they’re part of people’s lives.
A: Absolutely, I look forward to playing Love and Affection. I would never dream of doing a concert where I didn’t play it. Why would I? That’s the song that got me known.
Q: Joan, the first thing that strikes us about ‘ Not Too Far Away ’ is what a positive album it is.
A: In all my songs the words are pretty much positive and the music is always up. The music is always something that I think will try and make you smile.
Q: You’ve done pretty much everything on the album, haven’t you?
A: Pretty much, yes, I wrote everything, recorded, engineered, programmed the drums, I’m playing everything, I arranged everything, I wrote and arranged all the strings and, yes, sang it all, did everything. But that’s just because I can, and I love to do it.
Q: Describe your relationship with your fans?
A: I’ve been very lucky with people who’ve stayed with my career, and I’ve had a very long career, but I didn’t have it on my own. So you need the loyal fans, and I’m happy to say I have some very loyal fans, and you need the new people to join in as well. That’s it, really. I love doing live shows because there’s always such a great mix of people. I’m a very lucky person.
Joan Armatrading’s new album Not Too Far Away is out now.