This week we continue honoring female musicians for Women’s History Month with Michigan’s own Janiva Magness. The Detroit native credits the time she snuck into an Otis Rush show in Minneapolis as one of the most transformative moments in her life; this is when she began to envision herself as a musician and a singer. While she has been primarily a blues singer and more recently crossed over into Americana, growing up in Detroit certainly had an influence on her interpretations as a songstress, with hues of Motown pop-soul infused in all of her performances. In 2009, she received the Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, presented by B.B. King himself, and became only the second woman to ever win the award.
“Make it Rain” is originally a Tom Waits song from his 2004 album Real Gone, and appears on Janiva Magness’s own 2012 album Stronger For It, her first to also feature songs written by her . While Magness maintains the original disgruntled tone of the song, she stays true to her own and delivers her cries of dissatisfaction with crisp and unhindered notes. As they say, “Lady sings the blues!”
Here is Magness at the 2013 Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival, which she headlined that year with Elvin Bishop. Like always, she sings this tune like her life depends on it, and her energy on stage is as commanding as ever. Accompanied by tight, yet rip-roaring band, Magness dominates the crowd with her dulcet yet arresting voice. Enjoy!