The Grammy-winning jazz singer, famous for her lush vocals and live performances for decades as a top concert chanteuse, has passed away.
After battling a long illness, Wilson died in her home near Joshua Tree National Park. She was 81.
Although primarily known as a jazz singer, Wilson was influenced by fellow soul singers Nat ‘King’ Cole and Dinah Washington, covering not only the classics of the day, but many genres of music in her long career. Always elegant and known for her witty rapport on stage, her most famous hits include “Guess Who I Saw Today” and the 1964 hit “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am,”.
In an era where the music industry sought to categorize singers, Wilson refused to be pigeonholed into one genre, referring to herself in interviews as a ‘song stylist’. Wilson stated:
“The music that I sing today was the pop music of the 1960s. I just never considered myself a jazz singer. I do not do runs and — you know. I take a lyric and make it mine. I consider myself an interpreter of the lyric.”
RIP, Ms. Wilson.
The music will live on.