Etta James

Etta James
Etta James
  • Born: January 25, 1938
  • Died: January 20, 2012
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Singer

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Etta James was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind". She faced a number of personal problems, including heroin addiction, severe physical abuse, and incarceration, before making a musical comeback in the late 1980s with the album Seven Year Itch.

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A few years ago, I thought, I'll never make it. I started to go to the doctor to help me lose weight.
All the things I used to like - cookies, ice cream, gumbo - I don't like anymore.
And as I started reaching deeper I realized that most of the blues of that day was done by men. Women just didn't have the nerve. Women
Bobby Womack is always very real, both with his music and as a person. Music, Chants & Rapps
But even so, I still get nervous before I go onstage.
Country music has the great stories. Music, Chants & Rapps
Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude.
I am so happy that I am alive and can walk.
I don't care who's playing. Even if it's my favorite artist, I'm probably not gonna go and see him.
I figured I could do 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World', because I believe it's the truth. Truth
I like to shop, but I don't like to go out to dances.
I really turned into, you know, the real street kid. I was kind of like a runaway, but I had a mother, you know what I mean, and I had a place to stay.
I sing the songs that people need to hear.
I talked to the record company about what I had in mind. They said they wanted something lush. I figured the best thing to do was let them hear what I had in mind.
I took back my life. Life
I wanna show that gospel, country, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll are all just really one thing. Those are the American music and that is the American culture. Music, Chants & Rapps
I was a sloppy kid, wanted to be just wild.
I was originally like a punker, know what I mean, like the punks are today, I'd spit in a minute.
I'm not a bourgeois person, never will be.
I'm not a braggart, but when I was a little girl people used to come from all over Hollywood to hear me sing.
I'm not starry eyed, and I'm not money crazy. Money, Coins & Minting
It feels so good to be happy.
It's not about battling the original artists when I record these songs, it's about paying tribute to them.
It's the same thing now. When I go onstage the young people scream and holler as much as the older generation.
Jazz took too much discipline. You have to come in at the right place, which is different than me singing the blues, where I can sing, 'Oh, baby,' if there's a pause in the melody. With jazz, you better leave that space open, or put in something real cool.
Johnny Guitar... just one of my favorite singers of all time. I met him when we were both on the road with Johnny Otis in the '50s when I was a teenager. We traveled the country in a car together. I would hear him sing every night. Time
Long as I was riding in a big Cadillac and dressed nice and had plenty of food, that's all I cared about. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Most of the songs I sing have that blues feeling in it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don't know what I'm sorry about. I don't.
Most of the songs I sing, they have that blue feeling to it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don't know what I'm sorry about.
My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it. I'd like to think I did that.
My mother always wanted me to be glamorous. When I thought about that, it really fired me up, and once I lost all those pounds, I started to feel really good about myself.
My mother used to play nothing but Billie Holiday.
My mother was a jazz fanatic and she wanted me to play the piano so I could play jazz tunes. I wish I had learned but I was too busy getting into trouble!
Now I can stand up on the stage again like I used to after five years of sitting down while I sang.
Once you lose the weight, you're really anxious to eat healthy.
People always say 'Etta, you know what your problem is? You're neither fish nor fowl. There is no place to rack you.' When I would go in a record shop, you might find one or two records by me in different stacks.
See, I don't like places where people can't dance - don't like clubs or theatres where a bunch of bourgeois people sit around tip, tip, tipping their fingers.
That's where it begins and ends for me and these songs were the ones that touched me the deepest. It was like I was laying hold of some part of me that I didn't even know was there until I let it out.
The only time that I am really truly happy - when I feel at my best - is when I'm on the stage. Time
They said that Etta James is still vulgar. I said, Oh, how dare them say I'm still vulgar. I'm vulgar because I dance in the chair. What would they want me to do? Want me to just be still or something like that? I've got to do something.
This is an album of songs that I've always loved, tunes that I heard. For the first time in 53 years of recording, I really had control over an entire album, start to finish. Time
To me, country music is like the blues, but it's something very hip and - I don't want to say commercial - but it's very worldly and good listening. Music, Chants & Rapps
What happens is, when I perform, I'm somewhere else. I go back in time and get in touch with who I really am. I forget my troubles, my worries. Time
When I look out at the people and they look at me and they're smiling, then I know that I'm loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems. Time
When I sing for myself, I probably sing for anyone who has any kind of hurt, any kind of bad feelings, good feelings, ups and downs, highs and lows, that kind of thing.
When I'm performing for the people, I am me, then. I am that little girl who, when she was five years old, used to sing at church. Or I'm that 15-year-old young lady who wanted to be grown and wanted to sing and couldn't wait to be smokin' a cigarette, you know?
You can't fake this music. You might be a great singer or a great musician but, in the need, that's got nothing to do with it. It's how you connect to the songs and to the history behind them. Music, Chants & Rapps ;History

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