Chicago music legend Mavis Staples is one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees.
For decades, Staples’ voice has been on hit gospel, funk, folk, rock and pop records.
The singer began her career performing with her family as the Staple Singers, their folksy, funk-infused songs leading the way for what later became known as the Muscle Shoals sound.
The Staples Singers became part of the soundtrack for the civil rights movement, releasing songs like “Freedom Highway”, and performing for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Staples later embarked on a successful solo career, collaborating with artists like the Winans, Bob Dylan, and Prince.
Speaking on WBEZ’s Morning Shift earlier this year, Staples attributed much of her success to her father.
“My father used to always tell me, ‘Mavis make it plain. You don’t have to use gimmicks, you don’t have to sing at the top of your voice. Be sincere, sing from your heart.’ ”
The 76-year old’s 2016 album Livin’ on a High Note was her second release in three years.
Emmanuel Dzotsi works the WBEZ NewsDesk. Follow him @newsmanual.