It is rare that an artist reaches the greatest heights of their career in their third decade, but such is the case with Bettye Lavette. Born and raised in Michigan, she started recording in 1972, achieving success with her first single and later becoming a disco diva. She left the recording industry for Broadway in the’80s, starring in the hit Bubbling Brown Sugar alongside Cab Calloway. Despite her Top 10 hits and the Broadway accolades, Lavette was generally couched in the “critically adored but seldom heard” station of artistic life.
All that changed with the release of her 2005 album I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise. Paying tribute to other women songwriters, the album demonstrated the depth that Lavette can bring to songs familiar but perhaps not engaging. Reinterpreting artists from Sinead O’Connor to Dolly Parton, Lavette received critical accolades and placed on a wide swath of top ten lists with her album of interpretations of women-written songs. One listen to her moving cover of the terminally bland “Nights in White Satin” from her Interpretations record – an album of her own versions of British Invasion songs – you know you’re dealing with something far beyond your average soul singer. Lavette is an artist that will leave your spirit full but your ears – and heart – hungry for more.