With a voice as powerful as Etta James and a story as compelling as Tina Turner, LaVette is finally embracing the superstar status that has eluded her since the sixties. Justice has been served. Her time has come.
Two major creative endeavors - a brilliantly reflective album, Thankful N' Thoughtful, and a riveting autobiography, A Woman Like Me - will be released this fall. Together, they present Bettye at the top of her form, an artist with the unflinching courage to confront her past while reshaping her future.
At the heart of the Bettye LaVette story, whether sung as a song or narrated in a book, is the notion of creative survival. It is her voice that both announces and ensures that survival; it is her voice that, no matter how dire the circumstances, lets you know that she will not be denied. It is her voice that compels you to listen to every word she says, sings or writes. That voice - rough, tender, sensuous and soaring - is an instrument of inspiration.
"Like all voices," says Bettye, "mine has changed over the years. I'd like to think that the change has to do with wisdom. I'm far more selective about what songs I'll sing. If I can't re-sculpt them and, in many instances actually reinvent them to be part of my story, I can't make them come to life."
Bettye LaVette's life story is nothing short of miraculous.