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On this date in 1959, Valerie Wellington was born. She was a Black blues singer.
Born in Chicago, Valerie Eileen Hall trained as an opera singer at Chicago's American Conservatory of Music for three years. She learned piano as a youngster and played with local bluesman Lee "Shot" Williams at age 15. In 1982, she came to the notice of the blues audience as a singer by portraying Ma Rainey in a local musical stage play, and two years later, she recorded her debut album for the Rooster label, which received "rave" reviews from the critics, all of whom commented on the power of Wellington's voice.
In 1987, she contributed one track to Alligator Record’s The New Bluebloods, an anthology of younger blues artists, and provided music to several television commercials. As a blues woman, she fit right in, becoming a regular in the blues clubs and compiling an impressive theatrical resume for her portrayals of women who, like opera singers, learned to project their voices without microphones.
The influence of Koko Taylor has also been evident in Wellington's musical approach, which combined classic vaudeville-era blues with hard-driving Chicago sounds. Sadly, Valerie Wellington died from a brain aneurysm at 33 on January 2, 1993, in Maywood, Illinois.