Blues and jazz icon Etta James died of complications from leukemia on Friday at age 73. Her last album "The Dreamer" was released just three months before her death. I love so many of her songs, but her jazzy torchsong "At Last" was a favorite.
James had a voice with a soul so rich and authentic that it would flatter almost any song of any genre. The four-time Grammy winner's influence on amazing talents including Beyonce, Bonnie Raitt, and many more will keep James' sound alive for generations to come.
My favoirte Etta James quote comes from the LA Times article back in 1992 via a recent NYTimes article:
“A lot of people think the blues is depressing, but that’s not the blues I’m singing. When I’m singing blues, I’m singing life. People that can’t stand to listen to the blues, they’ve got to be phonies.”
More reflections on the Queen of Soul here:
Listen to the NPR interview here:
Etta James illustration by me, Chris Olson