Soul Sister Bettye LaVette Sings for Detroit

Oct 17, 2012

What can you expect from a musician after 50 years in the music industry and home ties to Detroit? The answer is: amazing things. Bettye LaVette is a Michigan native, a music industry veteran, and- recently added to her repertoire- a writer. Her first book, A Woman Like Me, was released late last month and tells the story of Bettye, her career and her young life in Detroit.

Bettye LaVette sings
Bettye LaVette has a way with conveying her passion with every song.

Born in Michigan in in 1946, LaVette’s family relocated to the Motor City when she was only six years old. In 1962, her musical talent was discovered by singer, Timmy Shaw, who introduced her to record producer, Johnnie Mae Matthews. Soon after, LaVette record her first studio single, “My Man–He’s a Loving Man.”

She’s been featured in The New Yorker, The Late Late Show, and The Tonight Show. Her latest album, Thankful N’ Thoughtful, features two tracks that pay homage to the soul singer’s stomping grounds of Detroit. The tracks are each their own unique interpretation of The Pogues’ song, “Dirty Old Town”.  The first version features an upbeat tempo as the backdrop to LaVette’s signature growling vocals. The second is the ‘slow version’ in which LaVette passionately conveys her emotion and passion for the city. Why two tracks? Lavette explains in an interview with Phoenix New Times, “. . . the record company liked one, and I liked the other. Neither of us was willing to give. Have you seen the commercial with the peanut butter and the chocolate? [I said,] ‘Let’s do both.'” (hear the song here)

Bettye LaVette's newest book
A Woman Like Me: Bettye LaVette’s newest book.
 

LaVette feels positive about the future of Detroit. “Less than 30 years ago, I was doing a play in Atlanta, and you could have shot off a cannon and not hit anybody in the whole downtown. You know? So that gives me hope”

Read more about Bettye LaVette here:
http://www.bettyelavette.com/biography.html

Purchase her new book here:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/039915938X

After listening to her song, do you think it is represents Detroit?  Tell us what you think! 

— Wendy

More articles like this one…

What’s New

South Dakota and Iowa Flooding: U-Haul Offers Disaster Relief

South Dakota and Iowa Flooding: U-Haul Offers Disaster Relief

UPDATED June 25: U-Haul Company of Western Iowa president Nikki Newton announced that U-Haul Moving & Storage of Sioux City has been added to the disaster relief offer, with U-Box portable storage containers being made available on-site for customers in need...

U-Haul Serves Up Smiles and Meals at André House

U-Haul Serves Up Smiles and Meals at André House

A group of U-Haul volunteers gathered after work on June 6 to serve 410 meals to those in need at André House in Phoenix. U-Haul, headquartered in Phoenix since 1967, has volunteered at André House for several years thanks to the generosity of Team Members who visit...

U-Haul Offers Help to Tenants of Charlottetown Apartment Fire

U-Haul Offers Help to Tenants of Charlottetown Apartment Fire

U-Haul® is offering 30 days of free self-storage to tenants who were forced to evacuate their Charlottetown apartments due to a devastating fire. A 20-unit apartment building at 6 Elena Court was engulfed in flames on Monday night, triggering fire alarms and forcing...

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes at the 2024 Memorial Day Parade

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes at the 2024 Memorial Day Parade

U-Haul, founded by a WWII Navy veteran and his wife, has participated in the national Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., for the last 15-plus years. Representatives from U-Haul joined the American Veterans Center on May 27 to once again honor the lives of fallen...

Honoring Veterans: U-Haul Sponsors Memorial Day Tribute Journey

Honoring Veterans: U-Haul Sponsors Memorial Day Tribute Journey

U-Haul joined Gold Star Mother and founder Kathryn Cross on a journey to print, pack and distribute greeting cards to celebrate veterans, with stops in Connecticut and New York to meet our nation’s heroes in the week leading up to Memorial Day. The Tribute Journey,...

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

U-Haul is making 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage available to victims of the powerful tornadoes that left a path of destruction Saturday in Rogers and Bentonville, Ark., Claremore and Pryor, Okla., Valley View, Texas, and surrounding areas....