“I’ve got to be the oldest person in show business with a new record contract,” Bettye LaVette tells Soul Sisters on the eve of releasing her latest album, Things Have Changed, a collection of Bob Dylan covers, on Verve.
“I think I was born an adult so I was going to do something, if not illegal, nefarious,” she says of her early start when, at just 16, she landed a record deal with Atlantic as one of Motown’s biggest rising stars alongside peers like Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. Listen to the full episode below as LaVette tells us what it felt like to watch those artists leapfrog ahead while she struggled to put out a second record — but how the “fifth career” she’s enjoying now feels no less sweet because of the time taken to get here.
“Every time the sugar turns to shit, I quit,” she laughs. “Then if the phone rings 30 minutes later, I’m back in it.”