With a career spanning six decades, classic soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples has witnessed firsthand what our country has been through, as an artist and a civil rights activist alike.
Today (Feb. 19) the singer released her 14th studio album, Livin’ on a High Note, at the age of 76, using her incredibly stunning voice to continue to brighten a ‘dark’ world that is reminding her of the 1960s more and more these days.
"We've been living in some pretty dark places lately," the singer told Billboard. "I've seen a lot of riots — makes you think you're still living in the '60s sometimes."
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be so disappointed in what's going on right now," Staples continues in the interview. "Everything he died for has not been carried through."
The singer went on to share that she believes there is a disconnect between the music today's artists are making in relation to what is going on in the world.
"I’ve been singing the freedom songs all my life, and I always wonder if some of these young kids will sing songs to make the world better," Mavis says. "But their minds aren't on what I grew up singing about. I don't think the world is tuned in and ready."
Staples is readying her new documentary, aptly titled Mavis!, which airs February 29 on HBO. The documentary details her family’s history and her career accomplishments, which include performing at civil rights rallies alongside her family band, The Staples Singers.
“I didn’t want to do a documentary, but my manager Dave [Bartlett] said, ‘It’s important; your family is history.’ It’s true: We’ve come a long way and done a lot. It’s a good family history to leave — and for everybody to see. I’m proud of it.”
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(Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)