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Ray Charles (1930-2004)

Norah Jones has been listening to the music of Ray Charles since her early childhood, borrowing his albums from her mother’s collection. 

To discover Ray Charles 

American singer and pianist Ray Charles is among the biggest jazz and R&B musicians, as well as one of the founders of soul music. Born in 1930 to a poor family in Georgia, he had a difficult childhood in one of the country’s most racist states. At age seven, he contracted glaucoma, which permanently blinded him. Ray Charles Robinson began singing at a very early age. His unique style, combining blues, gospel, jazz and soul, would become his trademark.

Beginning in the late 1950s, he recorded a series of hits, including “I Gotta Woman” and “What’d I Say”, which made him one of the first black artists to gain fame among a white audience despite the highly segregated context of the day. Over the years, Ray Charles would become a true star, receiving 12 Grammy awards, and a popular live performer: his album Live in Concert  (1965) comprises his best songs.

In 2004, he recorded his final album, Genius Loves Company, singing duets with B.B. King, Willie Nelson and Norah Jones (on the song “Here We Go Again”). The man that Frank Sinatra nicknamed “The Genius” passed away at the age of 74, leaving many heartbroken fans behind him.

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