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Alligator Sings Janiva Magness

 Janiva MagnessAlligator Records has announced the signing of Blues, Soul and R&B vocalist Janiva Magness. A 30-year veteran of the music scene, Magness has a soulful, husky voice and absolute command over her material. Winner of the 2006 and 2007 Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Artist Of The Year, Magness’ steady ascension to the top of the Blues world will undoubtedly continue its upward trajectory.

According to Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, signing Magness was a natural move for the label. “I've been watching Janiva over the last few years and seeing her mature into a major artist. Her deep, subtle understanding of Blues and R&B music is obvious in every note she sings. Plus, her live performances simply captivate the audience. She's going to be a wonderful addition to the Alligator roster, and prove to be one of today’s and tomorrow’s crucial Blues voices.”

And Magness is equally thrilled. “I am so very grateful for all the gifts in my life. One of those gifts is joining the Alligator family. I’m very excited about this new chapter in my life. This is a huge step up for my career.”

Born in Detroit, Magness was inspired by the Blues and Country she heard on her father’s record collection and by the vibrant music of the city’s classic Motown sound. By her teenage years, though, her life was in chaos. She lost both parents to suicide by the time she was 16. She lived on the streets, was in 12 foster homes in two years, became a teenage mother who gave her baby up for adoption, bounced from city to city, and felt hopeless and desperate.

One winter’s night, Magness hitchhiked across Minneapolis to attend an Otis Rush concert, and for the first time saw her future. “It opened up some other place in me, like letting oxygen into a sealed crypt for the first time.” She began going to as many Blues shows as possible, soaking up the sounds of her favorite artists, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. She listened to James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and all the other R&B greats. The rest, as they say, is history.

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