When it comes to contemporary music, Blues Vocalist Thornetta Davis has dominated the scene for many years and is undoubtedly worthy of picking up the torch laid down by such classy ladies as Koko Taylor and Aretha Franklin.
For nearly 25 years this multi-talented native Detroiter has graced and dominated Michigan's most attended concert events, performing over 200 shows a year with grace and stamina. With a strong, commanding, melodic, and smooth vocal acumen, she tells her stories with incredible delivery, and always leaves her audiences wanting more.
You can catch her in a special performance with Saginaw’s own international star, Larry McCray, on Friday, March 20th at Lumber Baron’s Rusty Saw Smokehouse & Brewery at 804 E. Midland St. In Bay City. Doors open at 6:00 PM and tickets are only $20.00 and available at The Rusty Saw (Bay City), B&D Mini Mart in Munger, Mid Michigan Music in Midland, and Records & Tapes Galore in Saginaw.
Her talent and reputation have led her to opening slots with such stellar artists as Bonnie Raitt, Gladys Knight and Etta James, and she also sang backing vocals on Bob Seger’s 1991 album, The Fire Inside. Hailing from Detroit, and given the legacy of Motown, it isn't surprising that Thornetta Davis was drawn to the Blues; but at what point did she know her life would be dedicated to music?
"Growing up with so many different styles of music going on, I've never been one to fall into a category. I love Jazz, Top-40, and R&B, but Blues is the base. I consider the Blues 'God's music'."
As a testament to her eclectic nature, Thornetta's first album was released on the Seattle based Sub Pop label 19 years ago. Sub Pop accumulated a storied reputation as the Independent label that launched the careers of Grunge bands like Nirvana. "I'd been doing work with this band they signed called Big Chief," explains Thornetta. "The label liked my work so much they wanted me as a solo artist."
And the rest is history. In the years since that release, Thornetta has also opened for some heavy hitters such as Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor. Are there any of those performers that stand out as role models, or does she feel each is distinct in their own way?
"I would say the one that truly stands out in my mind is Ray Charles," reflects Thornetta. "I opened for him once in Grand Rapids, and performed with him in Detroit. He specifically asked for me to join him, which was a true honor. That man is special, in so many ways."
When asked what she feels distinguishes her from other contemporary Blues and R&B artists, Thornetta is modest. "As I alluded to earlier, I'm drawn to a lot of different musical styles, and have my influences, but it's all about the interpretation you lend to a song, which is hard to define, for me at least, probably because I'm so close to it."
16th November, 2023