Alligator Records has set a March 13 release date for award-winning vocalist Janiva Magness’ powerful new album, Stronger For It. Magness is among the premier blues and R&B singers in the world today. Her voice possesses an earthy, raw honesty born from her life experience. Through her passionate vocals and, for the first time, through her own original songs, Magness, with Stronger For It, delivers the most moving and intimate album of her career.

Janiva Magness is a blues star quickly crossing over to a larger audience. A multiple Blues Music Award-winner (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year in 2009, Female Artist of the Year in 2006 and 2007), Magness delivers her finest album with the soulful intensity of Stronger For It, her first to feature her striking original songs. Previous Alligator releases What Love Will Do (2008) and The Devil Is An Angel Too (2010), have sold over 32,000 units combined.

On Stronger For It, Janiva Magness sings her heart out on some great material, digging deeper than ever on three soul-baring originals and bringing new emotional insight to hand-picked gems by Tom Waits, Shelby Lynne, Buddy and Julie Miller, Matthew Sweet, Grace Potter and more.

Produced by Dave Darling (Brian Setzer, Meredith Brooks, Dan Hicks, John Waite), Stronger For It is Janiva’s declaration of independence. Having recently come through an intensely difficult period in her life, Magness has found new strength in her music. On these performances, she lays her soul bare, singing of loss and recovery, pain and redemption, hurt and healing, looking back and moving forward. Recording Stronger For It was as cathartic for Magness as listening to it will be for her fans. “Every human being goes through times of huge upheaval and personal transition,” Magness says. “I think everyone can relate.”

Known primarily as a musical interpreter, Magness co-wrote three remarkable, autobiographical songs for the album, including the poignant and melodic Whistling In The Dark, the riveting I Won’t Cry and the take-no-guff showstopper There It Is. In addition to her outstanding originals, Janiva tells the rest of her story through her inspired reinventions of songs by Tom Waits, Grace Potter, Shelby Lynne, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Matthew Sweet, Buddy and Julie Miller and others. According to Magness, the ultimate message of the album is clear: “You can get through just about anything and come out better because of it. The title says it all.”

Born in Detroit, Magness was inspired by the blues and country she heard listening to her father’s record collection, and by the vibrant music of the city’s classic Motown sound. By her teenage years, though, her life was in chaos. She lost both parents to suicide by the age of 16 and lived on the streets, bouncing from one foster home to another. At 17, she became a teenage mother who had to give up her baby daughter for adoption. One night in Minneapolis, an underage Magness sneaked into a club to see blues great Otis Rush, and it was there that she found her salvation and discovered that the blues were her calling. She began going to as many blues shows as possible, soaking up the sounds of her favorite artists, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. She immersed herself in records by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and all the other R&B greats.

Watching these artists live and listening to their recordings sparked Janiva and gave her life new direction and purpose. Her first break came several years later, while studying engineering and working as an intern at a recording studio in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was approached by her boss to sing some supporting vocals on a track. Finding her voice, she soon began working regularly as a background singer. By the early 1980s, Magness made her way to Phoenix and befriended Bob Tate, the musical director for the great Sam Cooke. With Tate’s mentoring, she formed her first band, Janiva Magness And The Mojomatics, in 1985 and soon after the influential Phoenix New Times named her group the city’s Best Blues Band. She moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and slowly began finding work.

She recorded a series of successful solo albums prior to joining Alligator in 2008, gaining notoriety through the strength of her music and the power of her live performances. Her Alligator debut, What Love Will Do, was released to massive critical acclaim. The Chicago Sun-Times raved, “A master of the lowdown blues who is equally at ease surrounded by funk or soul, Magness invigorates every song with a brutal honesty.” Fueled by all the positive press, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition profiled Magness, putting her in front of an audience of millions and expanding her ever-growing fan base. Her 2010 follow-up, The Devil Is An Angel Too, brought even more acclaim. The album was the #1 CD of 2010 on the Living Blues radio chart. The Wall Street Journal said she plays “hard-hitting blues and soul.”

Janiva Magness

Throughout her career, Magness has been recognized as one of the great blues and R&B singers today. She received the coveted 2009 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year (she is only the second woman to ever win this award, Koko Taylor being the first). She also won Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, an honor she also received in 2006 and 2007. She has received a total of seventeen Blues Music Award nominations, including one for 2012’s Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year.

In addition to her musical accomplishments, Magness reaches out to help others. She is a Spokesperson for Casey Family Programs National Foster Care Month Campaign (her sixth consecutive year) and an Ambassador for Foster Care Alumni of America, promoting National Foster Care Month. “It is a huge honor and a daunting responsibility. But I am very excited to be a part of this important work, and I look forward to carrying the message of hope for youth in the foster care system, and to alumni,” says Magness. “Casey Family Programs does groundbreaking work, and I am deeply honored to work with them again. Foster Care Alumni Of America is an amazing organization that focuses on adult alumni of the system.” Magness has also reconnected with her daughter, and is now a proud grandmother. “Our fate doesn’t have to be our destiny,” she says. “I’m living proof of that. And I’m so very grateful.”

With Stronger For It and non-stop touring, Magness, along with her world-class road band, will bring her dynamic live show to fans across the country and around the world. Live and on record, Magness’ level of intimacy and depth of emotion infuses her music with a power impossible to deny. Rather than succumb to hard times, with Stronger For It, Magness has created an album loaded with creativity and imagination, turning her own personal pain into timeless, exhilarating, soul-healing music.

Format: CD / Label: Alligator Records / Release: 13 March 2012


There It Is 3:24
(Janiva Magness & Dave Darling, Your Momma’s Pancakes Music, adm. by Winso Music Publishing/Loud and Stupid Music, BMI)

I Won’t Cry 3:50
(Janiva Magness & Dave Darling, Your Momma’s Pancakes Music, adm. by Winso Music Publishing/Loud and Stupid Music, BMI)

Make It Rain 3:45
(Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan, Jalma Music, ASCAP)

Whistlin’ In The Dark 3:05
(Janiva Magness & Dave Darling, Your Momma’s Pancakes Music, adm. by Winso Music Publishing/Loud and Stupid Music, BMI)

I’m Alive 3:48
(Shelby Lynne Moorer, William Boy Sound Music, BMI)

Ragged Company 3:30
(Matthew P. Burr, Bryan Dondero, Grace Potter & Scott Tournet , 5 Cent Checks/Hobbitville Music/Illusion Tournet Music/Shakey Underwood Music, ASCAP)

You Got What You Wanted 3:34
(Ike Turner, Demain Music Company/EMI Blackwood Music, BMI)

I Don’t Want To Do Wrong 4:00
(Johnny Bristol, William Franklin Guest, Gladys Knight Jr., Merald Knight and Katherine Anderson Schaffner, Jobete Music c/o EMI Music Publ., ASCAP)

Thought I Knew You 4:01
(Matthew Sweet, Charm Trap Music/EMI Blackwood Music, BMI)

Dirty Water 4:53
(Buddy & Julie Miller, Bughouse Music, ASCAP)

Things Left Undone 3:30
(William Maddox & Paul Thorn, Yo Man Music, BMI)

Whoop and Holler 2:36
(Ray Wylie Hubbard, Snake Farm Publ., SESAC)

This collection of songs has formed during a most interesting and challenging time in my life…and once again…here I am…a million miles from where I thought I would be, never more grateful for the gift of music in my world.

This CD is dedicated to some of my deepest losses and uglier crossroads…teaching me lessons
I never wanted to learn. Which, as it turns out — begat some of the greatest gifts of my life…
Yeah, go figure.

…to my dear brother Jimmie, my dearest Carrie and sweet Elaine, may God speed. To all my dear friends who have lost their lives — thru the epidemic of breast cancer and other enemies of this insane and beautiful life.

…and to my sister Geri. You are a profound miracle!

This CD is dedicated to those of us still standing. Battered, cut and bruised…and as the smoke clears…we find we are somehow…still holding on…because that is what we do. Holding on for what may be…just around the corner. Holding on for those who are left to still love and hold us near…
holding on…

Guess it’s time to recuperate, rejuvenate, reload…and stand back up, one more time…Stronger For It.

–Love, Janiva


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