Born: Dec 9, 1950 in Basseterre, St. Kitts
Genres: Pop/Rock, Folk, Styles, Folk-Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Instruments: Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Born on the island of St. Kitts, British singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading was her country's first black woman to make commercial inroads into her chosen genre, spicing her take on folk with bits of soul and reggae, and has had a remarkably long, consistent career. Immigrating to England in 1958, Armatrading met lyricist Pam Nestor in a touring production of Hair, and the two began collaborating on material later featured on Armatrading's 1972 debut, Whatever's for Us. The two ended their partnership afterward, and Armatrading resurfaced in 1975 with Back to the Night. Featuring former members of Fairport Convention, Joan Armatrading catapulted the singer into the U.K. Top 20 and produced her only Top Ten single, "Love and Affection." Armatrading's subsequent albums sold well in the U.K. to her newly established fan base but only respectably in the U.S., where it took her until 1980 to have a real hit (the all-electric Me Myself I). The Key also did quite well, but Armatrading remained largely a cult artist with a small but devoted following in America, never quite achieving the stardom she had in Britain. Armatrading has been successful enough to tour and record regularly into the new millennium, releasing Lovers Speak on Denon Records in 2003; a concert set, Live: All the Way from America, on Savoy in 2004; and her first all-blues project, Into the Blues, in 2007 on 429 Records. The rollicking This Charming Life followed early in 2010, also on 429 Records.
- Steve Huey (All Music Guide)