Anyone who has ever heard Janiva Magness sing, live or on any of the 13 releases she has put out since coming on the scene 26 years ago, hears a charismatic, powerhouse performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone’s measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation; only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the Blues Music Awards’ coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award in 2009 for Entertainer of the Year (the second woman to ever win this award, Koko Taylor was the first). She also won Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, an honor she received in 2006 and 2007. She has received a total of seventeen Blues Music Award nominations. In 2015 she was nominated for Song of the Year for "Let Me Breathe" - Contemporary Blues Album for her CD, "Original" and she won Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year.
Her 13th and newest CD, "Blue Again," is a succinct artistic statement, Blue Again collects Magness’ interpretations of a half dozen classics from the blues canon and beyond, including numbers made famous by Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Etta James, and Nina Simone. “The whole record is about getting back to my taproot,” says Magness. “The process was just digging through a large pile of some of my favorite material, my favorite classic blues songs, to come up with these, my absolute favorites.”
Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father’s blues and country record collection. Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush, which started her down the music career path, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona. Since then Magness’ life has not been without its downs, but she has persevered.
Blue Again comes hot on the heels of Magness’ 2016 album "Love Wins Again," which became the biggest commercial and critical success of her career, reaching the top of the blues radio charts and remaining in the Top 10 for seven months while crossed over into the Americana chart. That album earned the singer her first Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.
"Hopefully, this recording will bring the rest of the world to Janiva, and then they'll know, like I know, that she's one of the "real deals" out there." - Bettye LaVett
“One of the most fiery and original vocalists in contemporary blues and soul… Thoughtful, inventive and almost unerringly on the money.” - MOJO