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The Prominent Etta James

The Prominent Etta James 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 Ramp.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 (Etta James – I’d Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975)). 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. Connection to Los AngelesThe soul queen’s biggest connection to Los Angeles is that she was born there and raised there till she moved to San Francisco at the age of 12 (Bio 1). Although the artist had a career, which spanned over five decades, the fact is remains that she had been facing several drug addiction as well as health problems. However, as she returned to her home in Los Angeles, she gained the strength to stand back up, as the home was indeed her safe haven (Komara 502). Thus, Los Angeles was her home base and she continued to perform there. Her audience included people of all ages, and since she was an African American artist, only a few of which gained fame during that period, she was greatly influential to her community as well as America at large.Furthermore, during the 1980s especially, she was a great source of inspiration for the people of los Angeles, as the 1984 Olympics held in the city was opened by her singing ‘When the Saints go Marching In’ (Komara 502). Etta James since the beginning has been an adventurist and she used to practice such independence and individualism since the time she was a child, that is, by altering the rhythm of church choruses taught in school. Therefore, she always indpired her audiences to not be afraid and go forth and achieve whatever they wanted in life. Thus, she has contributed greatly towards the historical, cultural and social aspects of Los Angeles. In a nutshell, Etta James was a highly successful artist, operating in a wide range of music genres. However, the messages she delivered through her songs and music were not only entertaining but also influential. Works citedBio. Etta James Biography. Aamp.E Television Networks, LLC,2014. Web. 21Nov.2014. .Etta James – I’d Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975).YouTube,2012. Web. 21Nov.2014. . Gould, MarkR. At Last–Etta James and Chess Records | At Your Library. The Campaign for America’s Libraries | At Your Library. N.p.,2012. Web. 20Nov.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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