Older, gifted and Black: the British musicians getting better with age

Years of struggle in the music business have motivated the current crop of over-50s Black British talent to make music that’s as exciting as that of the new breed

When asked what was the best song he had ever written, the jazz great Duke Ellington famously quipped that it was one yet to come. He held out the promise of his future compositions being greater than his past and, perhaps more importantly, underlined a belief in lifelong endeavour.

Some artists simply get better with age. This may well be the case for Black British musicians in many genres, but whether they are recognised or not is a different matter. The cult of the “next big thing” often deflects attention from “dated” talent as it hits full maturity. Yet there are triumphs. As the following profiles reveal, many in the 50-plus age bracket experience struggle, sacrifice and achievement in equal measure.

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