January 30, 1957 |
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Genres||Electric blues, soul|
|Labels||Various including NorthernBlues and Alligator|
The Blues Foundation named Magness the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year in 2009, becoming only the second woman, after Koko Taylor, to be so honored. In the same year, she was named the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year, which she had already won in 2006 and 2007, and was nominated for again in 2012. Since 2006, she has had 22 similar nominations. USA Today stated, "Magness is a blues star."
Life and career
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 later 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, Los Angeles, California.
Three independent releases followed before Magness was signed to a recording contract by NorthernBlues 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 in Canada, Europe and 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 2014, Magness released an album called Original, saying, "I've had an entire career up to this point of being an interpreter of other people’s songs. And I’ve been fine with that. But it became necessary to change that thinking. This record is titled Original because its eleven original tracks. I’m co-writer on seven of the eleven tracks."
|1997||It Takes One to Know One||Fathead Records|
|1999||My Bad Luck Soul||Blues Leaf Records|
|2001||Blues Ain't Pretty||Loose Leaf Records|
|2003||Use What You Got||Blues Leaf Records|
|2004||Bury Him at the Crossroads||NorthernBlues Music|
|2006||Do I Move You?||NorthernBlues Music|
|2008||What Love Will Do||Alligator Records|
|2010||The Devil is an Angel Too||Alligator Records|
|2012||Stronger for It||Alligator Records|
- "Janiva Magness". Musicians.allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- Steve Leggett. "Janiva Magness". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "Janiva Magness Interview". Chicagobluesguide.com. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "Profile & Discography for Blues Singer Janiva Magness". Blues.about.com. 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "Foster Care « Janiva Magness". Janivamagness.com. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "Blues Music Awards Nominees - 2013 - 34th Blues Music Awards". Blues.org. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- "Janiva Magness’s Biography". Last.fm. 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- Mark Guarino. "Janiva Magness: She's earned the right to sing the blues". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "NorthernBlues Music - Janiva Magness Biography". Northernblues.com. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- Steve Leggett. "Original - Janiva Magness - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Calvin Powers. "Ep#217 Janiva Magness finds her safety net". Americana Music Show Podcast. Retrieved 27 October 2014.