“When I look out at the people and they look at me and they’re smiling, then I know that I’m loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems.” – Etta James
I am drawn towards Etta James because I aspire to defy all odds as she did. She had the power to command her audience through her music, to defy expectations, break stereotypes, and rise above the limitations set for her; all these things being my life goals. Her singing could tell a story and I feel like we share that passion. We are both females and minorities, which motivates me to achieve as much as she did. I use music writing as an outlet for my feelings; when the world around me gets to be too much for my brain to handle, the only way to let it out is through music. I think that we share this quality. The biggest differences between us is that I live in a time of acceptance and freedom and she had to fight her way to achieve things I can get so easily. She was also religious. Although, her faith doesn’t bother me, because even if what we believe is different, we both have our own core values, whether that come from religion our how we were raised. Etta knew that she wanted to bring her style of music to the world, and no one was going to get in her way. I would like to gain the type of independence and drive she had while I am in TALONS. If I can implement her confidence into my work, I will be far more accepting of myself. Although her independence was her strength, it was also her weakness. Her intense personality and drive intimidated people, causing doors of opportunity to close. Etta did not just break the mold, she broke barriers that society built for her. As an abused child of colour in the foster care system, hopes not high for her, but her voice and confidence carried her to the top. She was verbally and physically abused by her vocal coaches but ,singing through the pain, she performed anywhere she could and finally became the star society led her to believe she could never be. It is important for people to research Etta James because she reminds us that you can have bad days but if you find a way to release your stress into something you’re passionate about, you will be truly happy. She will be remembered for pouring her soul into song and letting people see that vulnerability makes groundbreaking music, her emotion affected the music industry in a way that will never be reversed. No longer will music be hollow and meaningless, a good tune will need to have depth and history. I believe she is worth researching because not only she was on fire herself, but she was also the spark that started the flame of many others. Etta James was eminent because she changed the music industry through her passion; she put her heartbreak on the radio for the world to hear, and because of her impactful sound, she influenced successful musicians such as Adele, Beyoncé and Diana Ross. She gave these women hope that even if we come from nothing, we can become something prodigious. She was inspiring, but she was also inspired. She was influenced by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Rosetta Tharpe, who were also all eminent women. She expected herself to follow her idols and fill their monumental shoes. This seemingly unattainable goal was not just achieved by Etta James but surpassed by the one and only “Queen of Soul”.
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“Who Is Etta James? Everything You Need to Know.” Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline, 2018, www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/ettajames-5452.php.