Joan Armatrading is prouder of her history degree than her music.
The 'Love and Affection' hitmaker loves songwriting and will continue penning new tunes until the day she dies, but she insists the biggest accomplishment of her life is graduating with a BA Honours, which she studied five years for through the Open University and completed in 2001.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, she said: “I love writing songs. . . and I’ll only stop when I’m dead!”
“That has to be when I got my BA Honours degree in history."
Asked what she is most proud of, she said: “I had to really work for that. When I’m coming up with songs . . . no problems, no angst.
“I can write for five minutes or two days and stop when I want to. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been given that gift.
“But when I did my degree, I had to learn how to phrase answers and discover the right words to use.”
She also holds six honorary degrees, doctorates or fellowships from various universities.
Joan's 50-year music career has been marked with the release of a new live album today (18.11.22).
The 71-year-old music legend's ‘Live at Asylum Chapel’ LP is out now.
It comes after the BBC recently honoured the singer with a screening of the show, which was streamed worldwide during lockdown last year for one night, and was followed by the documentary about her life and music, ‘Me Myself I’.
Joan said: “Fifty years is a long time but for me it’s flown by and I still get the same thrill from writing songs as when I started.
“This live album is a great way to look back and also bring my story right up to date by including songs from the latest album. I’m really happy that so many people still want to listen to them and sing along.”
Joan’s concert from south London’s Asylum Chapel featured some of her most famous songs including ‘Drop the Pilot’, ‘The Weakness in Me’, ‘Me Myself I’ and ‘Willow’.
Songs from her latest Top 10 studio album ‘Consequences’ also got their live debut, such as ‘Natural Rhythm’, ‘Consequences’, ‘Already There’, ‘Better Life’, ‘Glorious Madness’ and ‘To Anyone Who Will Listen’.
The album features Joan’s live band – Jennifer Maidman on bass, Paul Stewart (drums), Alex Lee Richards (keyboards) and Jamie Anderson (saxophone.)
Arriving on her own to join her parents in Birmingham from St Kitts aged seven, Joan taught herself to play piano and guitar before becoming Britain’s first female singer-songwriter to gain international success.
She has produced and played every instrument on her records since 2003.
Her admirers range from Bob Dylan to Arlo Parks and she is the first UK female artist to debut at No.1 in Billboard’s Blues charts and the first female UK artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the Blues category.
She has an Ivor Novello Academy Fellowship Award, Lifetime Achievement from the Radio 2 Folk Awards and an MPG Outstanding Contribution Award to UK Music.
Awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth in 2001, she was given the CBE in 2020.