Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” MAVIS STAPLES is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s both a Blues and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; a civil rights icon; a GRAMMY Award-winner; a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer; a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient; and a Kennedy Center honoree. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and sang in Barack Obama’s White House. She’s collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier, blown away countless festivalgoers from Newport Folk and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, performed with The Band at The Last Waltz, and graced the airwaves on Fallon, Colbert, Ellen, Austin City Limits, Jools Holland, the GRAMMYs, and more.
“I’m the messenger,” Mavis Staples says on the eve of her 80th birthday. “That’s my job — it has been for my whole life — and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.”