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Detroit Singer Sista Otis A Winner Thanks To "Idol"

of the Oakland Press

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"American Idol's" Season 9 winner hasn't been determined yet, but a Detroit artist is already reaping benefits from the show courtesy of contestant Crystal Bowersox.

Ever since Bowersox listed Sista Otis as one of her influences -- alongside icons such as Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt -- the onetime Detroit artist's MySpace and Facebook sites have been "really active," while her phone has been "ringing off the hook" with gig offers. Otis will also be in the "Idol" studio audience for tapings Tuesday, May 4, and May 11 in Los Angeles, where Bowersox plans to give her a televised shout-out.

"I'm not a TV watcher," says Otis (real name Marie Tinnes). "I never watched 'Idol.' But I did a show in Tampa, Fla., and this guy told me he drove all the way from Lafayette, La., which is like 13 hours, just because Crystal named me as an influence and...he had to see what this was about.

"That's how I found out about it, and then I went on line and saw that she had given me a shout-out on national television. It's pretty amazing."

Bowersox, who's from Toledo, is a longtime Sista Otis fan, and the two have corresponded and spoken on the telephone for several years. Otis' trip to Los Angeles, however, marks the first time they're meeting face to face.

Otis has most recently been calling New Orleans her home-base "lillypad," although she's been on the road touring non-stop since May of 2009. She's also been working on her next album in Los Angeles with Fishbone's John "Norwood" Fisher producing.

She'll be back in Detroit on May 14 to present the Sista Otis Medicine Show, a wide-ranging night featuring local musicians, poets, dancers and other performers. Proceeds from the even will go to the ecological organization Earth Rise.

Samples of Otis' music are available at www.myspace.com/sistaotis and www.facebook.com/sistaotis.

Web Site: www.facebook.com/sistaotis

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