Legendary vocalist Nancy Wilson has passed away after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, a California desert community near Joshua Tree National Park at the age of 81, as reported by the Associated Press. The self-proclaimed “Song Stylist,” Wilson has recorded over seventy albums and has won three Grammy Awards during her storied career. Wilson, the consummate vocalists, was master of multiple genres such as blues, jazz, R&B, pop, and soul.
Born on February 20, 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio, Nancy Wilson was the oldest of six children. Growing up singing in church choirs, she always knew she wanted to be a singer.
Wilson went on to become one of the most influential singers of all-time. She recorded albums with Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley, and The Nancy Wilson Show! a best-selling concert recording. “How Glad I Am” earned her a Grammy in 1965 for best R&B performance, and she later won Grammys for best jazz vocal album in 2005 for the intimate “R.S.V.P (Rare Songs, Very Personal).” The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a “Jazz Masters Fellowship” in 2004 for lifetime achievement.
As an actress, Wilson appeared on television, film, and radio, Hawaii Five-O, ‘Police Story, Meteor Man and years hosting NPR’s Jazz Profiles series. Active in the civil rights movement, including the Selma march of 1965, she received an NAACP Image Award in 1998. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
The accomplished singer is survived by her son, Kacy Dennis; daughters Samantha Burton and Cheryl Burton; sisters Karen Davis and Brenda Vann and five grandchildren.