Joan Armatrading is credited with being the first black female singer/songwriter to gain prominence on the British music scene. She offered a unique take on folk and reggae that was highly influential to artists like Tasmin Archer and Tracy Chapman.
Born in St Kitts in 1950, she moved to Birmingham with her family when she was eight, where she taught herself to play piano and guitar. She began her career playing small sets of her own music at local clubs as a teenager.
While touring with a production of Hair, she met Pam Nestor, who became her writing partner and the two collaborated on material that later featured on her first album. After this, Joan went solo and released Back to the Night. Her first commercial success was with her self titled release in 1976, and she followed that with 1977's Show Some Emotion and 1978's To The Limit.
Armatrading's loyal cult following has kept her touring and recording for more than 25 years. Her classic songs - Love and Affection, Drop the Pilot, Me Myself and I
have earned her Grammy nominations. She has also accumulated 18 gold records, and 10 platinum records in her career, as well as critical acclaim. She is also in the enviable position of choosing her own touring and recording timetable.