The 5-minute Interview: Joan Armatrading, Singer, songwriter, guitarist

'I'd never been on a rollercoaster before'
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Birmingham's Joan Armatrading, 56, has written and recorded 22 albums. She has served as president of the Women of the Year Lunch since 2005.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

At home editing the video that I'm doing. I recorded one of the shows in San Francisco and I'm editing it myself.

A common misperception of me is....

Lots of people think I'm from America but I'm British.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Rubbish. It's so unnecessary. I wish people wouldn't chuck rubbish out of their cars.

A phrase I hear far too often is...

"At the end of the day." I suppose it means at the end of everything, at the final analysis. I find it very irritating.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

I'm 56 now and up until about three years ago, I had never been on a rollercoaster. Then when I was last in America I went on the most rickety one. I'd never really had any interest and then I enjoyed it. That was surprising.

I am not a politician but if I were, I would...

Do I have to?

I'm good at...

I'm particularly good at people watching.

I'm very bad at...

Navigation. I get lost very easily. All the time.

The ideal night out is ...

A night in.

In moments of weakness, I...

Give in. It'll be silly stuff like eating the wrong thing. But then I think: who cares?

You know me as a singer but in truer life I'd have been...

Because music is so natural to me and very all-consuming, I can't really imagine doing anything else. Music is so important.

The best age to be is...

The age you are now. Whichever age you are, that's the best age. I'm a very 'now' person.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Be true to yourself, go for it, and respect others.

Alice-Azania Jarvis

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