JOAN ARMATRADING

The vet­eran singer/song­writer by her own hand and in her own words.

Mojo (UK) - - What Goes On! -

I’d de­scribe my­self as… I think as self-aware, not in a big-headed way, just that I know my strengths and I know my weak­nesses. I like chal­lenges, I like dis­cov­er­ing new things, I like be­ing with peo­ple but I’m not afraid to be on my own.

Mu­sic changed me be­cause… I wouldn’t say mu­sic changed me. I would say mu­sic made me. Ac­tu­ally, per­haps I should say I was made for mu­sic. Writ­ing songs is the thing I love do­ing the most. Mu­sic’s won­der­ful and no­body in­vented it – no­body taught birds to sing or hu­mans to hum. This is why mu­sic is so im­por­tant, like breath­ing, it’s just sim­ply a part of us. Mu­sic’s opened many av­enues for me, I’ve met some won­der­ful peo­ple, been to some fan­tas­tic places, and all be­cause mu­sic is my ca­reer. How cool is that?

When I’m not mak­ing mu­sic… or per­form­ing or writ­ing, then I just do nor­mal things, watch tele­vi­sion, I go for walks, I visit friends, just ev­ery­day stuff. My big­gest vice is… is read­ing gos­sip mag­a­zines a vice? Be­cause I love read­ing them. The last time I was em­bar­rassed was… you know when you’re walk­ing along the street and you trip on some­thing and you look back to see what it was and then you no­tice that peo­ple have seen you do that? That hap­pened to me the other day, and that can be em­bar­rass­ing.

My for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions are… a BA hon­ours de­gree in his­tory. I took an Open Uni­ver­sity course whilst I was on tour and took my fi­nal exam on the last day, driv­ing straight from the air­port to the ex­am­i­na­tion room. I was 51 when I went to the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall for my grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

The last time I cried was… these days I seem to cry at the drop of a hat, at any­thing soppy on the tele­vi­sion, when I think of the in­hu­man­ity of man, and be­cause some­thing is just beau­ti­ful. Vinyl, CD or stream­ing?… I’m ac­tu­ally not too fussed, as long I can hear the piece of mu­sic I want, as long as it’s not scratchy. I asked a mas­ter­ing en­gi­neer if there was any­thing in it, when peo­ple make the favourable com­par­i­son be­tween ana­logue and dig­i­tal, and he said it’s just nos­tal­gia that makes them choose vinyl. My most trea­sured pos­ses­sion is… my gui­tar and my pi­ano. I’m hav­ing two. As long as I had these two I could sus­tain my­self both creatively and fi­nan­cially. The best book I’ve read is… a tough ques­tion, be­cause it’s a bit like ask­ing which is best, or­anges or ap­ples. They’re com­pletely dif­fer­ent things. Even with my own writ­ing, I couldn’t tell you the best one I’ve ever writ­ten. So how do I say Of Mice And Men is bet­ter than Hard Times? Even com­par­ing works by the same au­thor is very dif­fi­cult. I’ve read many Agatha Christie books – is Mur­der On The Ori­ent Ex­press bet­ter than The Mys­te­ri­ous Af­fair At Styles?

Is the glass half-full or half-empty? I’m an op­ti­mist so, half full on the way to be­ing full. My great­est re­gret is… I don’t re­ally have re­grets. When we die… I have no idea. Never hav­ing died, I have no proof of what hap­pens. Hav­ing said that, I do be­lieve there is a God.

“NEVER HAV­ING DIED, I HAVE NO PROOF OF WHAT HAP­PENS.”

I would like to be re­mem­bered… it would be nice just to be re­mem­bered.

Not Too Far Away is out now on BMG. Joan tours the UK from Septem­ber

Her, her­self and her: Joan Armatrading, vinyl scep­tic and Agatha Christie buff.

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