City Slang: Janiva Magness is coming home

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On April 12, blues and soul singer Janiva Magness will perform at the Magic Bag in Ferndale. The singer, dubbed "one of the most fiery and original vocalists in contemporary blues and soul...thoughtful, inventive and almost unerringly on the money" by Mojo Magazine will be celebrating the release of her new Alligator Records CD, Stronger For It.

It’s been a good year for Magness. She was nominated for four 2011 Blues Music Awards: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year; Album of the Year (The Devil Is An Angel Too); Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year (The Devil Is An Angel Too). She won the coveted 2009 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year (she is only the second woman to ever win this award, Koko Taylor being the first) and for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year, an honor she also received in 2006 and 2007.

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According to the press release, Magness was born in Detroit and “inspired by the blues and country she heard listening to her father's record collection, and by the vibrant music of the city's classic Motown sound. By her teenage years, though, her life was in chaos. She lost both parents to suicide by the age of 16 and lived on the streets, bouncing from one foster home to another. At 17, she became a teenage mother who had to give up her baby daughter for adoption. One night in Minneapolis, an underage Magness sneaked into a club to see blues great Otis Rush, and it was there that she found her salvation and discovered that the blues were her calling. She began going to as many blues shows as possible, soaking up the sounds of her favorite artists, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. She immersed herself in records by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and all the other R&B greats.”

She has gone on to international acclaim, and it’ll be great to have her back around here in April.

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