Bettye LaVette waited until 2005, when she was nearly 60, to achieve real notoriety in the music world.
Now the Muskegon-born, Detroit-raised singer is being honored for it.
LaVette, now 73, is one of seven performers who will be inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame. The ceremony takes place May 6 in Memphis and will also honor Eddie Boyd, Billy Branch, Syl Johnson, Victoria Spivey, Ralph Peer and George "Harmonica" Smith, as well as recordings by B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Ruth Brown and others.
LaVette had her first hit in 1962 -- "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man" -- and another, "Let Me Down Easy," two years later. And while she stayed busy as a performer and musical theater actress, including a six-year Broadway run in "Bubbling Brown Sugar," success was intermittent until the 2005 release of the critically lauded "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise." In its wake LaVette received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2006 and has been recording steadily since, winning Blues Music Awards from the Blues Foundation and receiving a Grammy Award nominations for 2007's "The Scene of the Crime" and 2015's "Worthy."
LaVette also performed to honor The Who at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors and during the 2009 We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
LaVette's latest album, the Bob Dylan covers set "Things Have Changed," was nominated for two Grammy Awards earlier this year.
LaVette will be performing Dec. 21 at Detroit's Music Hall Center. 313-887-8500 or visit musichall.org.
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