JOAN ARMATRADING: I ignored advice to change my name

Joan Armatrading has written some of the most memorable songs of the postwar era, including Love and Affection, Willow, Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot. The musician, who was born on December 9 1950 on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts and grew up in Birmingham, embarked in 2015 on her last major world tour. "After 42 years there’ll be no more continuous long haul travel. Enough with the torturous routing and the leaving home one year not to return till the next," she says. Here she answers questions from Martin Chilton about her four decades in music.

This interview was first published in 2015.

Who was the person whose encouragement meant most to you in your early days?

Well it was my mother who bought the piano into the house because she felt it was a great piece of furniture – and I immediately started to write songs. It was also my mother who swapped the two prams we had at the pawn shop so I could get a guitar that cost £3. So my mother would have to be the person who was most encouraging. Without really knowing, she was very instrumental in my being able to fulfil what I feel I was born to do.

You left school at 15 and had to work. Is there anything at all you miss about working in an engineering factory?

I was a typist and a .....

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