I was 18 years old when I moved to Memphis, TN to attend an art college. I was just beginning to realize that art was more than just being creative and drawing pretty pictures. It meant much more to me. My feeling about creating art evolved to an emotional, mental, and sometimes spiritual level. Around the same time I took a music appreciation course that incorporated rock and roll, doo wop, rockabilly, and blues. I loved it. I began listening to B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Muddy Waters, Wanda Jackson, Buddy Guy, and Etta James, while drawing and painting their portraits/caricatures. I felt that I was creating a better likeness that captured an essence of who these musicians really were at that time.
I still occasionally listen to the likes of Memphis Slim, Big Mama Thorton, and John Lee Hooker while I’m working on art. I think after today I will be listening to much much more. Rest in Peace Ms. Etta James.
“Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last,” died Friday morning in Riverside, Calif. She was 73.” – The New York Times/Music