Bettye LaVette: ‘I Feel I Am Music’

The singer learned everything from her living room jukebox

Bettye LaVette, 74, is a singer who first recorded at age 16 in 1962. She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in May. Her new album, “Blackbirds” (Verve), is due out Aug. 28. She spoke with Marc Myers.

香蕉视频苹果下载Throughout my early childhood, I wanted to be a professional singer. But I never thought I could actually be one. I didn’t know anyone who sang.

There was no reason for me to sing other than in church. But I did have an advantage growing up in Muskegon, Mich. My family sold corn liquor.

In the late 1940s, if you wanted a drink, you came to our house. All the gospel groups that toured regionally stopped by for shots and my mother’s barbecue and fried-chicken sandwiches.

香蕉视频苹果下载We even had a jukebox in the living room. My father liked blues and gospel, and my mother liked country & western and pop. My teenage sister, Mattie, was 13 years older than me. She listened to everything.

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