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Genre: Classic R&B, Gospel Music
Price: Under $50,000
Availability: Generally Availability
Demographics: 50 +
The soul singer Irma Thomas was born in 1941 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Long before Thomas won her first Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2007, she had spent nearly fifty years performing as one of the era’s most talented, if unappreciated, performers. Irma began singing as a teenager in her local church choir, eventually landing a deal with a local New Orleans label. Her debut single, “(You Can Have My Husband But) Don’t Mess with My Man” experienced significant success, rising into the top twenty on the R&B charts.
But between 1960 and 1991, Irma Thomas’ work went largely unrecognized to mainstream audiences. Despite the release of dozens of albums and singles, Thomas’ achievements were limited to the soul and R&B audiences, until in 1991 she earned her first Grammy nomination for the album Live! Simply the Best. The success of the album was the start of a career which finally rose into the mainstream in the 1990’s, culminating with Thomas’s first Grammy win in 2007 for the album After the Rain.
Irma Thomas has continued to perform well into the new millennium, frequently appearing as a guest artist on a number of albums by other performers and appearing every year at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Her song “It’s Raining” can be heard in the 1986 film Down By Law. Irma Thomas also made an appearance on the HBO series Treme in 2010.
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