The Early Life of Etta James
Etta James also known as Jamesetta Hawkins was born on January 25, 1938 in South Central LA, and was more of a gospel prodigy. Her mother Dorothy Hawkins gave birth to Etta when she was only 14 years old.
Etta was seen as being a gospel prodigy, only at the age of 5 began receiving acknowledgements by singing in her church choir and on the radio.
Why Etta James was set apart from the rest
At age 12, she moved north to San Francisco, where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleader Johnny Otis. Four years later, in 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record “The Wallflower” (a tamer title for the then-risqué “Roll with Me Henry”) with the Otis band.
It was that year that the singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed “the Peaches” (also Etta’s nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as “Good Rockin’ Daddy” in 1955.
The Journey of Fame
After signing with Chicago’s Chess Records in 1960, James’s career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad “All I Could Do Was Cry,” “At Last” and “Trust in Me.” .She was a power house with a gospel-charged tunes as “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” in 1962, “In The Basement” in 1966 and “I’d Rather Go Blind” in 1968.
James’s work gained positive attention from critics as well as fans, and her 1973 album Etta James earned a Grammy nomination, in part for its creative combination of rock and funk sounds. After completing her contract with Chess in 1977, James signed on with Warner Brothers Records.
The Life After Fame
A. James continued to perform and record into the 1990s. Always soulful, her extraordinary voice was showcased to great effect on her recent private releases, including Blue Gardenia, which rose to the top of the Billboard jazz chart.
B. That same year, Etta James released Let’s Roll, which won the Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album. Her sons, Donto and Sametto James, served as producers on the recording, along with Josh Sklair. This team regrouped for her next effort, Blues to the Bone (2004), which brought James her third Grammy Award—this time for best traditional blues album.