Joan Armatrading

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About Joan Armatrading

As a singer and guitarist with a gift for writing thoughtful, compelling songs in whatever style she chooses, Joan Armatrading blazed a path for Black women in music while remaining utterly her own thing. Born in 1950 on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and raised in Birmingham, England, Armatrading first emerged as a folkie singer/songwriter in the ’70s. She soon developed a knack for matching the sensitivity and subtlety in her lyrics with musical directions that were sometimes surprising. After mixing folk with jazz, R&B, and disco on the self-titled third album that became her breakthrough in 1976, she adopted a tougher rock sound on 1980’s Me Myself, I, made with members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Though wider mainstream success eluded her after her early-‘80s peak, later self-produced efforts like 2018’s Not Too Far Away and 2021’s Consequences showcased new depths in Armatrading’s writing and performing, along with her reliably sharp eye on relationships and penchant for reinvention.

Basseterre, Saint Kitts
December 9, 1950
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