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For contemporary blues singer Janiva Magness music has become an important tool and a ticket to spiritual salvation.

“My job is about making a human connection with the audience,” she explains.

“To do that I have to be able to tell the truth in whatever I’m singing and I must be able to bring myself to it. Otherwise, what’s the point? Where that material comes from I really don’t care, but in how I treat it and approach it, it’s gotta be me. It’s me and all of the influences I’ve had over the years and maybe a little magic if I can summon it up.”

Growing up in Detroit and then Minneapolis, Magness had more than her fair share of hard times. Being orphaned in adolescence after her parents’ deaths led to life on the streets and a series of foster homes before she was able to find real stability. So when she testifies to the healing power of writing and singing blues songs, you believe her.

“It has always been really cathartic for me and the process of songwriting dials it up. It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Now I feel like the luckiest woman on the planet. If you understand the circumstances that I come from, know that my life today doesn’t look at all like that.”Read More



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