Mavis Staples

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About Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples is an American treasure whose legacy as a Staple Singer and solo artist is deeply intertwined with the civil rights movement. Mavis was born in Chicago in 1939 and was singing in local churches with her family by age 11. Thanks in large part to Mavis’ ability to express religious emotion, political urgency, and sensuousness with equal intensity, the Staple Singers became one of the most revered gospel-soul crossover acts of the mid-20th century. Celebrated anthems like 1965’s “Freedom Highway” brilliantly reflected the vision of Black liberation preached by family friend Martin Luther King Jr. Mavis recorded her first run of solo albums, including her 1969 debut, while the Staples were notching hits like 1972’s “I’ll Take You There” and 1975’s “Let’s Do It Again.” After the group retired in the mid-’90s, Mavis refocused on her solo career, eventually releasing a string of Jeff Tweedy-produced albums, including 2010’s You Are Not Alone, that further refine the Staples’ rootsy mix of gospel, soul, and rock. Moreover, she’s undertaken daring collaborations with alternative artists like Gorillaz, Run The Jewels, and Nick Cave that have exposed new generations of music fans to her sublimely deep and husky voice.

Chicago, IL, United States
July 10, 1939
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