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Janiva Magness finds the blues in her own words

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Since starting her music career during the mid-80s, Janiva Magness has won critical raves as a song interpreter. She also nabbed four Blues Music AWards in 2011 for her album "The Devil is An Angel."

But that's change a bit on its successor, "Stronger For It."

The set features Magness' first three recorded originals, a move the blues singer says was "terribly frightening and completely exhilarating." But after "a pretty bumpy year" in 2011, which saw the death of eight people -- including her brother, her foster mother and her cat -- and a divorce, Magness says it felt like the right time to sing her own words.

"What I was going through came out in the record," says Magness, who was born in Detroit and moved to Minnesota after both her parents committed suicide when she was 16. "I wanted to try and write some original material and find some songs I connected to.

"There was a level of vulnerability on this record that maybe hasn't been touched consistently through an entire record for me. But I had a hell of a year, and that felt like the best way to deal with it."

But even though she's opened a new creative door, Magness wont' guarantee that she'll keep writing her own material in the future.

"That would be great, wouldn't it? I'd love to write some more -- and the truth is I'm already writing for the next record," she says. "But I don't know whether or not those songs are going to rise to the top or not.

"I still have a lot of demons. They're not nearly as loud or as large as they used to be; they absolutely don't dominate my days or nights anymore. But every now and then they get me, and hopefully that will fuel my desire to (write) more."

Janiva Magness performs Thursday, April 12, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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