November 18, 2017


7 Questions with Mavis Staples (Raisa Bruner, November 9, 2017, TIME)

You have this persistent optimism. What's your secret to staying hopeful?

I just believe. It's not just for black people, what I'm singing about. It's to bring us all together. I've seen us have a black government; that's something I never thought I would see. As far as us coming together as one, I'm gonna keep on praying. But I don't think I'm going to see us coming together like that in my lifetime. When I saw that man marching in Charlottesville with torches, my mind was going, The next thing they're going to do is torch a cross. I've seen burning crosses. The only thing that's different is that the Charlottesville marchers didn't have white sheets over them. My heart gets heavy, but when I sing these songs, I get lifted.

What's it like to work with Jeff Tweedy as a producer and writer when you're making this music?

He didn't want to release the song "If All I Was Was Black." And he definitely didn't want it to be the title of the album. So I had to tell him, "Tweedy, you are black. You know me inside out, and I know you. You're black." Jeff Tweedy is a person who has beauty and good in his heart. This is my third album with him. He's a poet.

You're heading on tour with your longtime friend and collaborator Bob Dylan. Why do you like working with him?

We met when I was 17 and Bobby was 16. He's a good friend, and this is what friends do. We come together.

I've heard that you were once more than friends.

We were courting. And we would snuggle every now and then. He proposed, but I felt like I was too young. I'm older now. I just might propose to him! I don't know what might happen. The world would be shocked if Bob and I got married, so I won't do that. I'm just happy we're friends.

Posted by at November 18, 2017 6:14 AM