JOAN ARMATRADING became the very first UK female singer/songwriter to gain international success. Three times Grammy nominated, two times Brit Awards nominated, winner of a coveted Ivor Novello Award, winner of the Gold Badge Award, winner of Radio 2’s Lifetime Achievement Folk Award singer/songwriter, Joan Armatrading MBE has come a long way since her birth in the West Indies and her upbringing in Birmingham.
Known as a true craftsman, Joan Armatrading has had unanimous, widespread and, perhaps most importantly, consistent critical acclaim. Effortlessly eclectic, her sound has ranged from jazz to true soul to sophisticated pop, all driven by her passionate guitar. She has performed for Nelson Mandela twice, performing on his 70th birthday at Wembley and then again in 2001 she was asked by the LSE to perform “The Messenger” (the tribute song she had been invited to compose for him – Mr. Mandela danced throughout the performance). Joan has been given the keys to Sydney, is Patron of various charities, has presented and continues to present BBC Radio 4 and Radio 2 series, she has figured large in VH1’s Top 100 voted poll ‘The Most Influential Woman In Rock’, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the John Moores University of Liverpool (2000), was also made an Honorary Fellow of Northampton University (2003), has received a Doctorate in Music from the University of Birmingham (2002), an Honorary degree from Aston University (2006) and received an Honorary Degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2008). Moreover, after years of committed studying, Joan achieved a goal she had held since childhood, she gained her BA Honours after 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). However, more than all that, Joan has been honoured by the Queen of England receiving an MBE.
All the while, no matter the accolade, Joan Armatrading has focused on the music. “I write,” she says, “because I love it.
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.