Monday, 26 August 2013

Featured Artist: Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness  
(born January 30, 1957)
Magness was born in Detroit, Michigan, but suffered the tragedy of losing both of her parents to suicide before she reached her mid-teens. Placed in a series of a dozen foster homes, Magness was pregnant at the age of 17, and gave her baby daughter up for adoption.
Having been initially inspired by the music in her father's record collection, an underage Magness attended an Otis Rush concert in Minneapolis that changed her outlook. Magness lated recalled, "Otis played as if his life depended on it. There was a completely desperate, absolute intensity. I knew, whatever it was, I needed more of it." Studying to become an engineer, she worked in a recording studio in Saint Paul, Minnesota, when she was coerced into doing some backing singing. Her work, which included backing Kid Ramos and R. L. Burnside led her to Phoenix, Arizona and in forming her own band, the Mojomatics. They enjoyed local success before Magness relocated in 1986 to Los Angeles.
Her first album It Takes One to Know One, was released in 1997. In 1999, Magness starred in a stage production of “It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues”, at the David Geffen Theater in Westwood, California
Three independent releases followed before Magness was signed to a recording contract by Northern Blues Music. They released “Bury Him at the Crossroads” (2004) and “Do I Move You?” (2006). Both albums were co-produced by Magness and Colin Linden, with the former earning them a Canadian Maple Blues Award for Producers Of The Year. “Do I Move You?” reached number 8 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart.
In 2008, Magness signed with Alligator Records releasing “What Love Will Do”. The Chicago Sun-Times stated, "Her songs run the gamut of emotions from sorrow to joy. A master of the lowdown blues who is equally at ease surrounded by funk or soul sounds, Magness invigorates every song with a brutal honesty." She toured widely incorporating Canada, Europe as well as across the United States.
The equally critically acclaimed effort, “The Devil Is an Angel Too”, appeared in 2010, and “Stronger for It” in 2012. The latter included some of her own songs, the first album to do so since her debut effort in 1997.
In 2013, Magness was nominated in five categories for more Blues Music awards.

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