Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy Birthday: Maya Angelou, Muddy Waters & Jill Scott

Many, many respects to Maya Angelou who made age 85 today. Widely known for her poetry and speeches, she has also had acting parts in movies and television shows, and authored several books. Maya Angelou has won an extensive list of awards and honors, to include a Lifetime Achievement Award, Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Tony Award, NAACP Image Award, Mother Teresa Award and the National Medal of Arts.

Muddy Waters (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi, was given the name "Muddy" by his grandmother, because he liked to play in the muddy water in a nearby creek, but later changed it to "Muddy Waters". Waters is known as the "father modern of Chicago blues" from providing tunes that took him from being a local favorite to boosting him to national recognition. His reign over the Chicago scene also provided a proving ground to other local musicians who went on to have successful solo careers.

By having a good-natured rivalry with former band member Howlin' Wolf, Waters scored hits with the songs "Mannish Boy" and "Sugar Sweet" in 1955, followed by "Trouble No More," "Forty Days & Forty Nights" and "Don't Go No Farther" in 1956.

Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, actress and poet Jill Scott makes 41 today. Scott started reciting poetry in Philadelphia and was eventually discovered by Amir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots. He asked her to join them in the studio where she helped pen the single "You Got Me", that featured Erykah Badu and won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group in 2000. The Roots debuted her as an artist during one of their live shows as the original artist and composer of the tune.

Scott was first signed to Hidden Beach Recordings and released Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 (2000), Experience: Jill Scott 826+ (2001) and Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 (2004). The latter winning a Grammy in 2005 for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance for "Cross My Mind". The Collaborations (2007) served as pre-cursor for her next studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (2007). She would eventually leave the label and released The Light of the Sun (2011) on her own imprint, Blues Babe Records, which is distributed by Warner Records.

If you pay close attention to the background in this video, you will see that Jill pays tribute to fellow artists Muddy Waters and Marvin Gaye, born under the ARIES zodiac sign.

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