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Joan Armatrading at Symphony Hall, Birmingham - Interview

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Final world tour for Love and Affection star
Joan Armatrading MBE is performing at Birmingham Symphony Hall on March 25, 2015, as part of her final major world tour.

The 64-year-old singer, who grew up in Birmingham, is best known for hits Love and Affection, Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot.

I spoke to Joan during the German leg of her massive 15 month tour.

Joan Armatrading, Birmingham Symphony Hall

What led to your decision to do one last big tour?

It felt like the right time. I'm 64 now and by the time the tour finishes I'll be 65. The tour is incredibly long, from September 2014 to the end of 2015. It just felt like the right time to be thinking about not doing such extensive touring. I still enjoy it, I still like it, I'm not tired from touring, I'm not exhausted from being on the road all the time, and I think that's a great time to stop.

But you're be still doing some shows after the tour?

That's right. I'm not retiring. I'll be writing till the day I die. I need people to understand that, it's just a case of not touring as extensively as I did.

Joan Armatrading, Birmingham Symphony Hall

Are you ready to do the next album yet?

I will be. There's no new album to go with this tour, that's just because I wasn't in the writing phase but it's not a problem for me. I just write when I feel like it and I know that when the tour finishes I'll be raring to go.

You gained an Open University degree in history in 2001 and you say that was your most satisfying achievement.

Definitely. Because I had to work very hard for it. My musical talent is kind of God-given, I had nothing to do with it, it was just something I was born with, I didn't have to work for it. But my degree, I had to work very hard for. I had to put in the hours and take all the tests, and I was on the road as well. So it was pretty hard. At the time you weren't allowed to email the work in so I had to finish my essays before everybody else so I could get them posted from whichever country I was in. So it was quite hard. I wouldn't recommend anyone take a degree while they are on the road.

Joan Armatrading, Birmingham Symphony Hall

Do you have any more ambitions?

Loads - but like all my other ambitions I tend not to talk about them until I do something about it. When I did my degree I didn't tell anyone I was doing it, I didn't tell my family and friends, I just did it and once I'd got it I talked. I just do it and then talk about it. I don't want people saying 'Have you done that yet?'

Any regrets?

Looking back over my 42 years in music I have no regrets. I've been incredibly lucky. After 42 years people are still buying my records and coming to my shows, that's an amazing thing. And I can still sell out a lot of concerts, it's fantastic.

Joan Armatrading, Birmingham Symphony Hall

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Why? Birmingham favourite on her final major world tour
When: March 25, 2015
Phone: 0121 345 0600
Where: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Cost: 29 plus fees
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