Born in Detroit, Magness has lived through intense heartbreak and loss. Both of her parents committed suicide when she was young, and she later struggled in foster care —- an institution she advocates for today.
It wasn't until the teenaged Magness slipped through the back door of an Otis Rush concert did she discover the blues, the perfect way to display raw emotion through music. Throughout the decades that followed, the smoky-voiced singer has captivated fans with a soulful catalogue and has earned recognition including a 2009 Blues Music Award, "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year."
With recent losses of close friends and the end of a relationship, Janiva Magness has once again transformed her pain into powerful music with 2012's "Stronger For It," on the Alligator label, a recording that demonstrates her powerful chops and bona fide blues wisdom.
All photos by Corey Woodruff.