Gig preview: Joan Armatrading at Harrogate Royal Hall

Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading
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AFTER 42 years of touring, Joan Armatrading is undertaking her first solo world shows, and it’ll be her last major tour.

“I’ve always toured with a band before, but as this will be the last major tour that I’ll be doing I’ve decided to do it on my own,” she explains.

It will be a chance for the singer/songwriter to play the songs as they were composed.

“That’s right, I wrote and arrange all my songs and I hear them in my head, so performing them this way – totally solo – will be a great memory for me.”

Originally from St Kitts, where she was born 64 years ago, Armatrading’s parents moved to Birmingham when she was six.

She arrived on the UK music scene with her debut album in 1972 and since then her career has encompassed many genres from pop to blues to jazz and beyond.

Following hit singles with Love and Affection, Me Myself I and Drop The Pilot, Armatrading also sang the theme to the film The Wild Geese which starred Richard Burton and Roger Moore, as well as recording the albums Show Some Emotion and Walk Under Ladders.

Three Grammy Award nominations came her way, as well as an Ivor Novello award and an MBE – so there is no doubt that she is multi-talented both in the songwriting and performing stakes.

For the tour Armatrading promises a journey throughout her whole career and she’ll be playing no favourites as she hasn’t worked out a set-list.

“I like all my songs, that’s why I do as many as I can, she says. “It won’t be just my jazz and blues numbers either, I’ll also do my pop and rock songs. It actually feels good having to think about what I’m doing.

“It’ll just be me with my acoustic and electric guitar as well as a piano.”

In over 40 years of music, Armatrading feels that not one thing in particular has influenced her.

“Everything influences all of us,” she says. “I don’t listen to things in order to do something like it and I don’t copy artists I like. Other people’s music can inspire and it makes you want to be better, but not exactly copy them.”

She does have a special place in her heart for one song however.

“A Kissing and a Hugging used to be my favourite, I sang it all the time,” she says. “It’s a jazzy song and very rhythmic and one of those songs that you can sing ten times in a row and everyone would be different.”

For the UK tour, she is keen to reach everyone.

“What I’m trying to do is sing something from every album, and because it’s my last major tour, in these autumn dates are places I’ve never been to before.

“And I purposely decided, ’cos I’m on my own, to do the smaller venues to try and create a nice little memory.”

Joan Armatrading will be appearing at The Royal Hall, Harrogate on November 4, 8pm, £29.50.

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