The Artists of In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul

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Alabama ShakesAlabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes' RIAA Certified Gold debut album Boys & Girls(2012) has earned multiple GRAMMY Award nominations and was named one of the year's top albums by numerous critics. The band comprises singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, bassist Zac Cockrell, drummer Steve Johnson and guitarist Heath Fogg. The group's live performances are characterized by a relentless, hard-charging attack and Howard's magnetic stage presence. The New York Times praised their "fervent, rip-roaring rock and roll" and the band's first single, "Hold On," was voted the # 1 Best Song of 2012 by Rolling Stone.


William BellWilliam Bell

One of the architects of the Memphis soul sound, singer/composer/producer Bell came to prominence with his 1962 debut single, “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” the first hit on Stax Records. Bell went on to write more hits for himself and others, including co-writing, with Booker T. Jones, the iconic “Born Under A Bad Sign.” Among Bell’s many accolades, he has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, has received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s R&B Pioneer Award, and been honored by the Blues Foundation with the W.C. Handy Heritage Award.


Steve CropperSteve Cropper

A major force behind Stax Records, Cropper was involved in virtually every record issued by Stax from late 1961 through 1970 - as a guitarist, A & R man, engineer and producer, songwriting partner of Otis Redding and dozens others, and founding member of both Booker T. & the MG's and The Mar-Keys. Cropper co-wrote hits including "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and "In the Midnight Hour." Born in Missouri, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee at age nine, discovering gospel, R&B and the nascent rock'n'roll. In the 1960s and '70s, Cropper began his longtime association with the MG's and The Blues Brothers Band, and his continuing success as a solo artist, session musician and producer.

Eddie Floyd

Born in Alabama and raised in Detroit, Floyd’s music is influenced by both worlds, combining Pop sensibilities with a down-home approach and a smooth but soulful delivery.  Floyd crafts gorgeous melodies and writes impeccable lyrics.  Going to Memphis early in his career, he cemented himself as one of the premier Southern “Soul Men” of the Sixties.  All of Stax Records’ stars benefited from Floyd’s pen, including Albert King, Percy Sledge and Sam & Dave.  Floyd’s work with Steve Cropper was one of Stax’s greatest partnerships, writing songs such as “634-5789 (Soulsville U.S A.)” and “Knock On Wood.”  Floyd has also enjoyed several collaborations with Booker T. Jones, and continues to draw record crowds with The Blues Brothers Band. Among many honors, Floyd has received The Blues Heritage Society’s Pioneer Award and the 2002 Memphis Sound Award.


Ben HarperBen Harper

A master of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock, Harper has been thrilling audiences for two decades with his incendiary live performances and timeless songwriting. Hailing from Claremont, California, Harper began performing in his teens and at age 23 was invited to tour with blues great Taj Mahal. A two-time GRAMMY® Award winner, Harper has released three live and ten studio albums and collaborated with a diverse group of artists — most recently with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite on the album Get Up! (2013). Harper is also an activist, bringing awareness to issues including poverty, social justice, voter rights and the environment.


Queen LatifahQueen Latifah

This musician, actress, author and entrepreneur is a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. Latifah has earned a GRAMMY Award, six GRAMMY nominations and, in 2002, an Academy Award nomination, among others, for her role in Chicago. In 2008 she won a Golden Globe and a SAG award for her outstanding performance in the film she produced, Life Support. ~Latifah owns and operates the production company Flavor Unit Entertainment and is the co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc., providing scholarships to financially limited students who excel scholastically. ~In Fall 2013, Latifah will launch The Queen Latifah Show, a new daytime talk show.


Cyndi LauperCyndi Lauper

A GRAMMY and Emmy Award-winning artist, Lauper has proven she has the heart and soul to keep her legion of fans compelled by her every creative move. Overall, she has released eleven studio albums, her most recent the GRAMMY Award-nominated Memphis Blues (2010). Lauper wrote the music and lyrics for Kinky Boots, which is currently taking Broadway by storm. She recently captured her journey through music and life in the New York Times best-selling Cyndi Lauper: A Memior and on her docu-series Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual on WE tv. Cyndi also continues her philanthropic work through her foundation, the True Colors Fund.


Joshua LedetJoshua Ledet

A native of Westlake, Louisiana, Ledet placed third in the eleventh season of American Idol in 2012. He is known for his church-bred brand of old school soul music, and he grew up singing in his family church. At eleven-years old, Ledet was inspired by another Southern soul singer on American Idol, Fantasia Barrino, to pursue singing as his career. His musical influences include Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Beyoncé.


Sam MooreSam Moore — The Legendary Soul Man ™

An American Southern Soul and R&B legend, Moore’s early success was as part of the historic Memphis soul duo Sam & Dave, with Dave Prater Jr. Their rapid-fire style was fashioned and pioneered by Moore, and with hit songs such as “Soul Man,” the duo inspired The Blues Brothers personas and movie. Moore has maintained his appeal as a solo artist, continuing to tour and earn critical acclaim for his work. A GRAMMY Award winner, Moore has also been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and awarded a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, among many other honors.


Charlie MusselwhiteCharlie Musselwhite

An American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader, Musselwhite came to prominence in the early 1960s and has continued a rich blues tradition since that time. A native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, he spent many years of his youth living in Memphis, Tennessee. Musselwhite has worked with artists including Eddie Vedder, Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Gov’t Mule, and personal friend John Lee Hooker. Musselwhite is a 26-time Blues Music Award winner, has received multiple GRAMMY Award nominations, and is a 2010 Blues Hall of Fame Inductee. Most recently, Musselwhite collaborated with Ben Harper on the album Get Up! (2013).


Mavis StaplesMavis Staples

As the lead voice of her family’s groundbreaking group The Staple Singers, and in her solo career, Staples has blazed a rhythm & blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots. Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. VH1 named her one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Her latest album is the GRAMMY Award-winning You Are Not Alone (2010).


Justin TimberlakeJustin Timberlake

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Timberlake is a GRAMMY and Emmy Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer and actor. He has become an accomplished artist who is now widely considered one of pop culture's most influential entertainers. The multi-talented artist has also had starring roles in such films as The Social Network (2010) and the upcoming Runner, Runner (2013) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). His latest album is The 20/20 Experience (2013).


Booker T. JonesBooker T. Jones, Music Director and Band Leader

A musician for over 50 years, Jones has written, arranged, produced and performed music throughout a GRAMMY Award-winning career. Jones’ first influences were drawn from the Mississippi Delta’s Blues that became soul and rock’n’roll. His early success was with the band the MG’s on the Satellite Record label, which became Stax Records. Jones consistently uses his~compositional and~musical~talents to deftly craft amazing new sounds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and was honored with a lifetime~achievement award at the 2007 GRAMMY Awards. This year, Jones will release his latest album, Sound the Alarm from Booker T & Friends.