LOS ANGELES— The singer and song writer Jamesetta Hawkins better known to everyone as Etta James, died on Friday January 20 in Riverside, California victim of Leukemia. James was 73 years old. She was born on January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. James received her first training in vocalization at the age of 5 in the choir of a Baptist church and at 14 she was invited to join a group called the Peaches.
Her big debut took place in the1960, with the release of her album called at last!, from which her single also “At Last,” occupied number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the year 1961 and became one of her best known hits. Following such success, James became one of the most successful recording female artists in a variety of music genres. These genres include rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues, and jazz. James made her music unique by combining several of these genres into one mixture. In 1993, James recorded Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday and that same year she was welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Billie Holiday tribute album won James her first Grammy Award for best jazz vocal performance. In her life time she received a total of six Grammy Awards. James received various awards and recognitions throughout her career but two noticeable awards are the Billboard R & B Founders award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2003.
The doctors diagnosed James with Leukemia last year but it wasn’t until late December 2011 that her illness was announced as terminal. According to James’ manager, Lupe De Leon, she died at a hospital in Riverside, California in the company of her husband and sons. Donto and Sametto, her two sons and her husband Artis Mills now survive her. Etta James will be greatly missed and remember by her family but also by her devoted fans for many years to come.