Janiva Magness - Bio

 

 

  Music critics worldwide from publications such as Billboard, Downbeat, Blues Revue, Living Blues, Blues Access, Southland Blues, etc. have been touting her recording and performing virtues for nearly two decades, and with the release of her new disc, along with a near non-stop international touring schedule, Janiva Magness is proving to be a major player on the modern blues music scene.

She tours Europe on a continuing basis and has played every kind of venue overseas from acclaimed smaller blues-rock clubs like the Borderline and the Crossroads Cafe in Belgium, to major events such as the prestigious Belgium Rhythm and Blues Festival in Peer, Belgium and the Lucerne International Blues Festival in Switzerland. Her Canadian club dates are always "sold out" and her appearances at the major festivals there (The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, The North Country Fair, Labatt's Blues Festival, The Edmonton Folk & Blues Festival, etc.) have made her a Canadian favorite. In the U.S., if she's not on the road playing clubs or festivals, she can usually be found somewhere in the southern California area working her magic on stage, always fronting a stellar line-up of musicians.

Early in her career, Living Blues Magazine predicted big things for Janiva when they told their readers to "
watch out", describing her as "an up and coming blues shouter." Blues Access called her a "no nonsense blues powerhouse", and went on to say; "Magness with her deep, husky voice in full-flight is consistently excellent ... this lady doesn't fool around ... Janiva Magness had the good sense to refrain from making a 'polite' blues record. In all honesty, it's probably not her nature to be overly polite. Thank heaven for lusty bad girls like her."

In addition to a string of critically acclaimed albums and live appearances in blues venues around the world, Magness also appeared as a lead character in the west coast edition of the Tony-nominated Broadway production "
It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues", which ran at the David Geffen Theater in Westwood, CA. In fact, on New Year's Eve 1999, she watched the arrival of the new Millennium on stage at an L.A. bistro with her band, after completing her part in an early evening performance of the much talked about play. Janiva has appeared with artists such as Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Lowell Fulson, Floyd Dixon, Johnny Copeland, John Hammond, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Jr. Watson, Taj Mahal, Rory Block, Pinetop Perkins, Billy Branch, Johnny Dyer, and many others. The Tucson Blues Society selected her to be a calender girl for their Commemorative Millennium Collectors Edition 2000 Calender, Soundboard Magazine gave her it's B.B. King Award for Musical Excellence, Arizona's New Times Magazine handed her their Critic's Choice - Blues Band of the Year award, and the Jim Croce Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rhythm and Blues, is also listed among a myriad of honors. She can found guesting on albums by the likes of Kid Ramos (She performs on three of his discs) R.L. Burnside, Doug MacLeod, John "Juke" Logan, and many others.

She was barely a teenager when she was turned on to rhythm and blues by the local Detroit, Michigan radio stations and the influences of Etta James, Billie Holiday, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Aretha Franklin, Memphis Minnie & Koko Taylor are apparent, but with her vast performance and studio experience, Janiva Magness has developed a unique style rightfully her own. Her soul, stage presence and formidable vocal power never fail to please blues music fans wherever she appears. To quote blues harp master Charlie Musslewhite, "
Janiva Magness always knocks me out because she has such style and poise on stage and she hits every note she sings just right - perfect every time." Do yourself a favor, when you get a moment, check her out yourself.