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Having been referred to as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace” by NPR, Mavis Staples is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. Since beginning her career in 1950 with her family group The Staples Singers, she’s become both a Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a civil rights icon, 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 for Barack Obama at The White House. Staples has collaborated with artists ranging from Prince to Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire, blown away festivalgoers from Newport Folk Festival and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, and performed with The Band at The Last Waltz.
“I sing because I want to leave people feeling better than I found them,” says Mavis Staples. “I want them to walk away with a positive message in their hearts, feeling stronger than they felt before. I’m singing to myself for those reasons, too.”