Music as an art helps educate the community in several aspects. Etta James is regarded as one of the greatest artists who used music to pass important messages to the community. Etta James is often referred to one among the “most dynamic singers,” as her music ranges from blues, rock, and roll, gospel to R&B and soul etc (Bio 1). Her music has always remained relevant and entertaining, thus paving way for her receiving several Grammy nominations as well as awards. The Blues Foundation, an organisation established to preserve the heritage of Blues genre as well as pay tribute to influential artists of this genre, in recognition of James’ talent and works has made her a “nine-time award winner” of the ‘Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year’ award (Gould 1).
Etta James’ music ranged not only in genres but also tone and moods, thus taking the audience on a journey filled with various emotions and feelings. For instance, in the song ‘I’d rather go blind,’ the singer showcases her “dramatic qualities,” as she becomes a powerhouse when hitting high notes and is equally soft when hitting the lower notes (Wallenfeldt 274). James does not specifically play any instruments, however, her dynamic voice alone is enough to light up the whole stage. Her live performance at Montreux in 1975, where she sings ‘I’d rather go blind,’ shows her exceptional strength to just captivate the audience, for example, her powerful growls, such as at 1:06, 1:31, 2:06, 4:58 etc as well as her soft notes at 2:46-2:48 are perfect Her emotions and expressions are in tune with the lyrics of the song, furthermore, her strength is also seen when she holds the microphone really far away from her mouth, and yet her voice is really loud and sharp. This classic song is performed by Beyonce Knowles in the movie Cadillac Records where she portrays the character of James, however, James’ version is still considered best.
Bio. "Etta James Biography." A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. <http://www.biography.com/people/etta-james-9542558#recent-years>.
"Etta James - I'd Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975)." YouTube, 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZt1xKtPbUQ>.
Gould, Mark R. "At Last--Etta James and Chess Records | At Your Library." The Campaign for America's Libraries | At Your Library. N.p., 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Wallenfeldt, Jeffrey H. Black American Biographies: The Journey of Achievement. New York: Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services, 2011. Print.
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