Etta James is January’s woman of the month. She was born in January, passed away in January and deserves the first month of the year to be our inspiration because she was simply one of a kind.
Etta James is an artist that dabbled in different genres. She left her mark on gospel, R&B, blues, rock n roll, and jazz. James was born in Los Angeles to a mother of only 14 years old, and as she developed her singing voice she faced unimaginable trauma as a child that affected her for the rest of her life.
When she moved to San Fransisco in 1950, Etta was incredibly inspired by doo-wop and girl bands and went on to form her own. She then met musician Johnny Otis in a nightclub who eventually took the group under his wing and in no time the group was opening for Little Richard.
She released her debut album At Last! in late 1960 and it went on to have many hit singles. She spent her career experimenting with different music and broke down the barriers between how music was separated and enjoyed. When she first came on to the scene people considered her doo-wop, but she spent the next years of her career trying everything.
It was not until the 1990s where the music industry started giving her the credit she deserves. The Grammys and the Blues Foundation began to give her recognition for her creativity and contribution to music throughout her long career.
She lived a long, inspiring and tumultuous life. Etta passed away in January of 2012, five days before her 74th birthday. She passed away from Leukemia, three days after Johnny Otis, the man who discovered her in the 1950s.