GRAMMY-nominated R&B/gospel singer Mavis Staples turned the Clive Davis Theater at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles into an effervescent church revival when she visited on Aug. 30 to talk about her life, music and sing a few songs for an intimate audience of 200.
Staples has had a career resurgence of sorts in the last decade. Three of her four GRAMMY nominations have come since 2003, and she has worked with an impressive variety of artists and labels over that time as she continues to explore the connection between her religious faith and social justice. She has recorded for the blues label Alligator Records and for the post-punk imprints Anti- and Epitaph Records, and she has both produced her own work and had the likes of GRAMMY-winning guitarist Ry Cooder helm a project. Her new album, You Are Not Alone, released Sept. 14, was produced by Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy, a fellow Chicagoan, and features songs by John Fogerty, Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, Tweedy, and Mavis' late father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples.
Born in Chicago in 1939, Mavis has been recording music since the late '50s but it wasn't until her family group, the Staple Singers, signed with Stax Records in the early '70s that they hit on a soulful expression of both righteousness and righteous indignation, with Mavis singing lead on songs such as "I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself" and "Touch A Hand (Make A Friend)" — all of which preached reconciliation and tolerance in glorious sounding R&B/soul. With You Are Not Alone, Staples continues as one of the definitive soul voices of the last 40 years.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include The Drop: Rare Genius — The Undiscovered Masters Of Ray Charles (Sept. 21), The Drop: Seal And David Foster (Sept. 26), An Evening with Alan Parsons (Sept. 29), and An Evening With Rosanne Cash (Oct. 5).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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