A soul queen with a commanding voice and a hugely charismatic stage presence, Bettye LaVette comes to Rockport in the midst of a long-deserved career renaissance. The Grammy-nominated singer was just given the Blues Music Award for Soul Blues Female Singer of the Year.
Despite a lengthy recording and performance career that began in the early 60’s, Bettye LaVette had been out of the public spotlight for years before launching back into the public consciousness in 2003 with A Woman Like Me (which won a W.C. Handy Award for Comeback Blues Album of the Year). The renewed interest sparked a resurgence that continues to this day, with LaVette being introduced to a new generation of music lovers. A collaboration with indie rock stalwarts The Drive-By Truckers in 2007 resulted in the critically-acclaimed and Grammy-nominated Scene of the Crime, further cementing her comeback. She has since released several more records, including a tribute to British Invasion bands called Interpretations, and last year’s Grammy-nominated Worthy.
LaVette’s journey in becoming a beloved and acclaimed soul icon began in Detroit where at age 16 she had a surprise hit single with “My Man-He’s a Lovin’ Man” in 1962. Throughout the rest of the 60’s LaVette cut a number of charting singles including classics “Let Me Down Easy” and “He Made a Woman Out of Me” among several others. During that time she bounced around several record labels including stints with Calla Records, Atlantic and Motown. Taking a break from recording, LaVette got her feet wet in the theater, starring in the Tony Award-winning Bubbling Brown Sugar alongside Cab Calloway from 1979 to 1982. LaVette’s recording output and touring slowed in the 80’s and 90’s until reissues of some of her early work introduced the singer to a new generation of soul fans. Of course, now in 2016 her comeback remains in full swing, and the world is all the better for it.
“Is there any soul singer who brings more guts, more conviction and more emotion to her singing?” –NPR