Though born in Newham, East London, Jo-Anne Blackwood grew up in Derby from an early age with musical interests ranging from hip-hop to funk music and rapping to dancing. Jo’s love of music continued whilst remaining in her clerical career. Even now she still surprises people with her ability to touch-type at 80 words per minute! Jo maintained an interest in the music industry and in the mid 90s she went on to become a local club and radio DJ (known as Blak Spice). This later led to an opportunity as a street team member for Sony Music (covering marketing and promotions throughout the UK).
Her DJ-ing and promotional skills opened doors whilst taking part in hip-hop theatre workshops - leading to Jo leaving behind the DJ world to focus on writing and performance.
Jo went on to work with local and regional artists including Derby’s Trinity Company (Hip-Hop Theatre); the Freedom Showcase project (a spoken word showcase marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade) and numerous performance and education-based projects.
She is now considered one of Derby's lyrical talents raising the bar on the music scene whilst delivering creative writing and performance workshops to empower predominantly young people. Her zest for life shines through directly reflecting her method of showcasing poetry through physical theatre. Jo's free-spirit naturally impacts on audience interaction - transforming words from the page to the stage and beyond. Confidently using every breath and silence to take you on a special musical ride from light-hearted subjects to thought-provoking pieces - Jo executes this with a touch of timely humour.