Latin Music Week

LaVette 'Vindicated' By Grammy Nomination

For Bettye LaVette, a Grammy nomination is "very satisfying and very exciting." And more.

For Bettye LaVette, a Grammy nomination is "very satisfying and very exciting." And more.

"I feel vindicated," the R&B veteran tells about the Grammy nod in the best contemporary blues album for her 2007 album, "The Scene of the Crime." "I'm 61 years old and I went through an awful lot to do this. I thought I was going to be successful a long time ago, and it never happened. So I don't feel just excited. I feel vindicated."

LaVette is, of course, making reference to the 40-plus years she spent looking for a break, recording a couple of hits -- most notably the 1962 top 10 R&B single "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man" -- but also jumping from label to label and having her 1972 debut album, "Child of the Seventies," put on the shelf by Atlantic for 28 years.

Her fortunes changed when a French soul fan released that album as "Souvenirs" in 2000 in Europe, helping to lead to a deal with Anti- for 2005's "I Got My Own Hell To Raise" and then "The Scene of the Crime," which was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and co-produced by Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood.

LaVette says she's "very, very happy" that Anti- has already "broached" the idea of her next album, though she's still actively promoting "The Scene of the Crime." "I'm equally thrilled about them talking about what we're gonna do next as I am about the Grammy," she says. "I always think all the sugar's gonna turn to sh*t, so I'm happy to hear there's going to be a next one."

But LaVette says her primary goal now is to parlay her greatly raised stature into better gigs. "I want to make some money," she declares. "That's the only thing I never had an opportunity to do. I've had all the excitement; I just never made any money. I worked for $50 a night for a long time.

"I just want to get a chance to be in the big rooms in (Las) Vegas or any of the big auditoriums. That way I could do my whole show as opposed to just rippin' and running. I'm glad to be able to just rip and run, but it'd be nice to get a little more out of it, y'know?"