Joan looking for musical freedom

Joan Armatrading.
Joan Armatrading.

Joan Armatrading will always play Love And Affection at every gig. But alongside that, she wants the freedom to play her new material.

It’s about moving forward as an artist, she explains.

The good news is that the new material is terrific. The new album is Starlight, the final album of a project of three, each one taking a single focus.

Joan’s music has always ranged widely to include blues, folk, rock, jazz, reggae, you name it. But the past three albums have singled out just the one genre. After a rock album and a blues album, we now get a jazz album.

“Jazz has always been a part of what I do. I have done jazz-flavoured songs, so it is not like I am suddenly saying ‘I want to try jazz!.’ It’s just that I am making an album of jazz. All of them have their disciplines in the writing, whether you write any kind of song, whether folk or classical music. The point is that you write in the language.

It might be ruining the surprise a little, but Joan plays everything on the album. On the past couple, she played everything bar the drums. On this one, she has programmed the drums as well.

And she loves the fact that people won’t be expecting the band sound to be the work of just one person.

“I engineered it myself as well. I love doing it. I have always done all my own demos. I have always done my arranging myself. This isn’t new. I’ve done that from the day I started writing. I can hear what I want to record as I write the songs, and for me part of writing has always been arranging. Because of writing that way, I have always been into the technology.

“So if people think that it is a band that they are hearing, for me, that’s just wonderful. That’s really what I want to hear!”

In that respect, she’s been consistent – consistent in a business which has changed massively around her.

“But not different in a horrible way. It’s great that young artists just starting out can do it themselves. They can make their own music. If you can’t get recording company interest, it is great that they can get on with it, put their stuff on Youtube or wherever. If you want to be making music and playing, you won’t get anywhere by just sitting in your room saying ‘I want to make music’. You can actually do it yourself now.”

And then if you do get that important record label interest, then you can take it to the next level, having already honed your style…

Joan plays Worthing’s Assembly Hall on Friday, June 29 and Southsea’s Kings Theatre on Monday, October 8.