Joan Armatrading at Bluesfest in Byron Bay last year.
Joan Armatrading at Bluesfest in Byron Bay last year.

Joan Armatrading headed down under

ONE of the world's most prolific songwriters and musicians, Joan Armatrading, is heading to Australia on her first solo world-scale tour, which will also be her last world tour.

Armatrading has released more than 20 acclaimed albums, received three Grammy nominations, is a Brit Award nominee and has received the highly coveted Ivor Novello Award.

She will tour the country in December and said she was looking forward to returning to this part of Australia "very much".

"I enjoy going to the different cities," she said.

"I'm lucky I get to do that - I get to travel."

And travel she has. To many different countries and cultures with different customs.

"I've come to expect that (seemingly strange crowd behaviour) that's a character of that city," she said.

"I did a gig in Yugoslavia and at that time, they weren't allowed to take the lights off in the theatre, and there were and guards at the back with these massive guns. And (the crowd) wasn't allowed to stand up.

"The show was different, definitely different.

"It was very interesting and kind of strange, because you're not used to playing in a theatre with all the lights on."

While this will be Armatrading's her last major world tour, she said that doesn't mean she's retiring.

"I'm not retiring - It's not the last time I'll do a concert, but it's the last time I'll do a tour this long," she said.

"The way I tour is I start and then I finish, there's not gaps in between," she said, meaning her usual tours take her on the road for between a year to 18 months at a time.

By the time she finishes this tour she'll be 65. "I want to get to that stage, where the next tour is only a month long," she said.

"I want to enjoy it - I don't want to get to the point where I don't want to be on the road.

"I'm not at that stage, I don't want to get that stage. I want to stop before I get to that stage.

And that's fair enough - she's been in the music industry since she was 14.

Over her many decades in the industry what has she learnt?

"Nothing," she laughs.

"No, you learn just as a person growing up, don't you?

"I know myself, I know what I like doing, I know what I want to do, I'm quite content with that.

"In terms of learning the music business (however) I've learnt a massive amount."

Especially when it comes to the technology involved with music and music production these days, she said - something she's grateful she's been able to learn and keep up with.


Joan Armatrading plays Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, December 13. Tickets

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