EXPIRED: 03/23/10 – Marva Wright, 62, was a New Orleans soul singer who was never very far from home when she belted out the blues stages of small clubs on Bourbon Street in the Latin Quarter of New Orleans.
She dropped out of college in Baton Rouge after just two years to marry her first husband and never much gave any mind to singing except while in church. She was too busy raising a family and working as a secretary. But later on, when the kids were grown, she tinkered with the idea a bit.
In 1990, while singing at Bourbon Street Gospel and Blues, she met “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley. He became an ardent fan and gave her the publicity she needed to get noticed.
She released her debut album, “Heartbreakin’ Woman,” in 1990 and followed it a few years later with “Born With the Blues.” By 1995 she had a hit with her cover version of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
Not one to keep gospel pure, she included oddities in her records, like when she covered Bob Dylan’s “Serve Somebody” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
“To me, those are gospel,” she said.
In the 90’s she found a fan in Al Gore – and got an invite to perform at the White House. On that trip she made a lot of friends in the DC area, and that was a good thing since she decided to relocate there after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her New Orleans home.
At a benefit for all Katrina victims, she sang another cover – aptly chosen – it was “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.