Music Q&A: Joanne Shaw Taylor

The blues and rock songstress chats during a rare quiet period before festival season. She's headlining this year’s Summertime Festival at Parr Music Hall, Warrington, 15 July

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Musically it depends what I’m listening to and drawing inspiration from. Songwriting, I tend to draw on what’s going on in my life, relationships, etc.

How have you evolved as an artist evolved over the years?
I like to think I’ve matured. I think my sound is more developed now but that I’ve kept a little of the raw edge I had earlier in my career. I think both my playing and singing are tidier. I think I’ve learnt not to over play and sing as much as I was inclined to do when I was younger.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’ve just finished a lengthly European run to support the Wild album and we’re heading into festival season so I’m using a little time off around that to work on new songs for the next album.

What’s on your rider?
Nothing too rock ‘n’ roll. Sandwiches. There’s a lot of vegetarians/pescatarians in our group/crew including myself, so there’s a lot of avocados, hummus, fruit, etc, and a few essentials like a couple bottles of rum and malbec.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Playing at Buckingham Palace for the diamond jubilee with Annie Lennox was probably about as surreal as it gets and I passed out at a show in France recently due to bronchitis and exhaustion – that was pretty embarrassing. Anytime I go to flick my hair out of my face while playing and manage to smack my head on my mic never ceases to make me feel like an idiot either.

What song do you wish you’d written?
There’s more than a few songs I wish I’d written – Purple Rain and Bird on a Wire for a start.

What’s your worst lyric?
All of them? Ha, I don’t know. I’m pretty proud of everything I’ve done so far. I like to think I don’t realise anything I’m not 100 per cent happy with or feel I couldn’t improve. There’s songs I think are better than others. I have my favourites but in general there’s nothing looking back that I would change.

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